Ruminations on tech, the digital media, and some golf thrown in for good measure.

Posts Tagged ‘cybersecurity

A Kilowatt for A Bitcoin!

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Happy Friday.

If you’re looking for cheap energy to do your Bitcoin mining, don’t head for Plattsburgh, New York. 

Its city council last evening unanimously voted to impose an 18-month moratorium on Bitcoin mining in the city.

Motherboard reports that the moratorium was proposed by Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read earlier this month after residents began reporting wildly inflated electricity bills in January (some up to $100 or $200 more than average).

And this in a place that advertises itself as having the “cheapest electricity in the world” because of its proximity to a hydroelectric dam on the St. Lawrence river.

Meanwhile, following up on my post yesterday about the cyber escapades in Saudi Arabia, the plot thickens.

According to a report from Reuters, the Trump Administration yesterday blamed the Russian government for a campaign of cyber attacks stretching back at least two years that targeted the U.S. power grid. That’s the first time the U.S. has publicly accused Moscow of hacking into American energy infrastructure.

The attempts started in/around March 2016, with the Russian government hackers seeking to penetrate multiple U.S. critical infrastructure sectors, including energy, nuclear, commercial facilities, water, aviation and manufacturing.  

You know, pretty much everything to keep a modern industrialized society’s wheels turning!

And if you’re looking for some lighter fare, Facebook Lite will soon be coming to Canada, Australia, the U.K. and U.S. 

Facebook Lite is Facebook’s pared down version of its app that had originally been designed for people in developing countries with limited data plans, but hey, we’re rapidly becoming a third world country here in the U.S., so bring on the Lite Facebook…err, the Facebook Lite. 

How about some new old ad slogans for the newest Lite?

You can call me Ray, and you can call me Jay!

Great taste, less filling!

If you’ve got the time…we’ve got the social network?!  No?

The app will only be available for Android for today’s release, I guess suggesting that we iOS users aren’t in need of such bandwidth relief??!

Written by turbotodd

March 16, 2018 at 9:40 am

Saudi Cyber

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Don’t miss this doozy of a story from The New York Times’ Nicole Perlroth and Clifford Krauss about last year’s cyberattack in Saudi Arabia.

The executive summary: Last August, a petrochemical plant in Saudi Arabia was struck by a cyberassault that intended to sabotage the firm’s operations and trigger an explosion.

The only thing that prevented the explosion was a mistake in the attackers’ computer code. 

For cyber warriors on the front line, it’s a must read.

On the flip side, Google recently released its “Android Security 2017 Year in Review” report earlier today, and it cited that 60.3 percent of Potentially Harmful Apps were detected via machine learning.

As reported by VentureBeat, its detection is done by a service called Google Play Protect, which is enabled on over 2 billion devices (running Android 4.3 and up) to constantly scan Android apps for malicious activity.

In other words, artificial intelligence and machine learning are the future of cyber monitoring, and the future has already arrived.

Speaking of the future and cybersecurity, at next week’s IBM Think 2018 conference in Las Vegas, you’ll be able to tune in to over 100 sessions LIVE via the IBM UStream. 

Be sure to check out the schedule here, and to case the cyber keynote from 12:30-1:10 PST on Tuesday, March 20th, entitled “Ready for Anything: Build a Cyber Resilient Organization.”

Written by turbotodd

March 15, 2018 at 10:16 am

Worried About Equifax Breach? Put a Security Freeze on Your Credit Files!

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After blowing my top when learning about this latest data breach at Equifax, where roughly 44 percent of Americans’ personal information — including Social Security, driver’s license, and credit card numbers were put at risk — well, I decided I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!

Rather than spend a monthly fee paying one of these credit companies a fee to protect the very information they traffic in, I went one better: I put a security freeze on my credit file with each of the four major credit vendors in the U.S.: Experian, Equifax, TransUnion, and Innovis.

So what did this involve?

It was much easier than people might have you think, and for the full details, we have Krebs on Security to thank for the full instructions.

Here’s the bottom line:

A security credit freeze basically blocks any potential creditors from able to view or "pull" your credit file, unless you affirmatively unfreeze or thaw your file first. So, if you need to have a credit line inquiry anytime soon, this option’s not for you.

On the other hand, if you’re sick and tired of being sick and tired worrying about these data breaches, this is the option for you.

Depending on your state, it’s a modest fee to put a security freeze on your credit file for each of the previously mentioned vendors. (In Texas, each freeze costs $10, although for some reason Innovis was free.)

What does this freeze do?

First, ID thieves can still apply for credit in your name, but they won’t succeed in getting new lines of credit because few if any creditors will extend that credit without first being able to gauge your risk worthiness.

Also, the freeze can help protect your credit score, because as you’ve probably heard, every credit inquiry made by a creditor can negatively impact your credit score.

How do you do all this? It’s easier than it looks.

Go to each of the websites (www.experian.com, etc.) and search for "security freeze." You then should be able to find each vendor’s direct link with directions on how to impose the freeze.

If you or someone you know has been the victim of identity theft, you well know that $30-50 is a small price to pay to gain some piece of mind and to frustrate the hackers looking to benefit from your prior naivete.

Take your personal info and credit back into your own hands.

Do it, and do it now!

Written by turbotodd

September 8, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Taking Cyber Command

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Happy Friday.

Well, as happy as you can get about this week.

I’m still sending warm, fuzzy sangria and tapas thoughts out to all mi amigos in Barcelona. One of the world’s great cities, and if I could transport myself Star Trek style I’d be trekking down Las Ramblas in solidarity with my Spanish friends this very evening.

Instead, I’ll knock back an Estrella later and dream of Gaudi buildings.

In the meantime, the cyber world moves on, and Politico reported some interesting news earlier today out of the Trump Administration.

President Trump announced today that U.S. Cyber Command has now been elevated to a "Unified Combatant Command," putting it on equal footing with other organizations that oversee military ops in the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific.

In a statement, the president said the following:

"This new Unified Combatant Command will strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our Nation’s defense. The elevation of United States Cyber Command demonstrates our increased resolve against cyberspace threats and will help reassure our allies and partners and deter our adversaries."

TechCrunch elaborated in its own coverage that "whatever happens" with this change, it will be "welcomed by many" and that "there is a sense that we are being outplayed by cyber operatives in countries and organizations all over the world, from Russia to IS."

Ya think??!

Written by turbotodd

August 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Game of Hacks

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I’ve been following this HBO hack with great fascination.

One, because I’ve always had an interest in cybersecurity matters (although I’m not a hacker, nor do I play one on the Internets).

Two, because it’s HBO, whom I’m also a big fan of, and I still remember the reverberations of the Sony hack in late 2014, one which led to the downfall of its dear leader, Amy Pascal.

The Guardian has a new story out this morning on the HBO hack, alleging that the HBO hackers have "released personal phone numbers of Game of Thrones actors, emails and scripts in the latest dump of data stolen from the company," and, that they "are demanding a multimillion-dollar ransom to prevent the release of whole TV shows and further emails."

Where’s Daenerys Targaryen and those flying, fire-breathing dragons when you need them?

And is it just me, or do I find it completely serendipitous that this hack comes about around the time of probably one of the peak episodes of the entire GOT franchise…SPOILER ALERT…you know, the one where Daenerys finally unleashes the wrath of those damned dragons and Dothraki scythes on Jaime Lannister and his woefully unprepared army.

While GOT players will settle for bags of gold, the HBO hacker, now someone calling themselves "Mr. Smith." (You can’t make this $%#$ up!), has apparently told HBO chief executive Richard Plepler in a 5-minute video letter to pay the ransom within three days or they would put the HBO shows and confidential corporate data online.

Continues the Guardian report: "The hackers claim to have taken 1.5TB of data — the equivalent to several TV series box sets or millions of documents — but HBO said that it doesn’t believe its email system as a whole has been compromised."

Along with the video letter, the hackers have gone ahead and released 3.4GB of files, including technical data about the HBO internal network and admin passwords, draft scripts from five Game of Thrones episodes, and a month’s worth of email’s from HBO’s VP for film programming, Leslie Cohen.

The whole episode sounds as though it could have been derived from a script from Mr. Robot, but so far as I know, USA Network has, thus far, been immune from hacktivists.

HBO’s response, according to The Hacker News, is that the company’s "forensic review is ongoing."

But one has to wonder whether, somewhere on some back lot in Hollywood, that HBO’s brass is filling the gas tanks on a few dragons of its own.

For the audience, it may all just be pure entertainment.

But HBO is running a business, and they, nor any other going concern, should ever have to be held hostage by somebody calling themselves something as unimaginative as "Mr. Smith."

Especially not in Hollywood.

Written by turbotodd

August 8, 2017 at 10:28 am

IBM QRadar Named as a Leader in Security Analytics Platforms

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IBM Security has announced IBM QRadar, the company’s security intelligence platform, has been named a “Leader” and received the highest scores in the three categories – current offering, strategy, and market presence – of all evaluated solutions in the March 2017 report, “The Forrester Wave™: Security Analytics Platforms, Q1 2017,” by Forrester Research, Inc.

For this report, Forrester evaluates companies based on a number of criteria, including deployment options, detection capabilities, risk prioritization, log management, threat intelligence, dashboards and reporting, security automation, end user experience, and customer satisfaction.

Forrester surveys indicate that 74% of global enterprise security technology decision makers rate improving security monitoring as a high or critical priority.

According to the report, IBM Security “has an ambitious strategy for security analytics that includes cognitive security capabilities from its Watson initiative and security automation from its Resilient Systems acquisition.”

Forrester also notes IBM’s investments in security with its QRadar Security Intelligence Platform emerging as “one of the key pieces of its portfolio.” The analyst firm also notes that “those looking for advanced capabilities and a flexible deployment model should consider IBM.”

Written by turbotodd

March 10, 2017 at 8:49 am

The Yahoo Repo

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And you thought bad security didn’t cost your business anything to the downside?

A few months ago Verizon was posing the question “Should we Yahoo!?” and the answer was a resounding “Yes We Should!”

But after yesterday’s report of another Yahoo! hacking incident, this time dating back to 2013 and involving as many as 1 billion user accounts, the answer is quite different.

Bloomberg is reporting that Verizon is looking for either a price cut (“Hacker’s Discount!”) or even a “possible exit” from the $4.83 billion pending acquisition.

Yahoo shares have fallen as much as 6.5 percent since the news broke of the latest hack.

Me, I stopped Yahooing the first time around, going so far as to completely delete my Yahoo! account (one, by the way, I’d probably had for going on 17 years!)

(See IBM’s cognitive security to learn how you can prime your company’s digital immune system.)

In other breaking tech news and also from Bloomberg, VC-backed unicorn and developer-can’t-live-without coding platform, GitHub, lost $66M in nine months over 2016.

GitHub received a $250M funding round by Sequoia Capital in 2015, but has apparently been burning through cash as fast as developers can create new repos.

And seemingly straight outta the HBO show, “Silicon Valley,” GitHub’s San Fran HQ apparently has a lobby modeled after the White House’s Oval Office, which in turn leads to a replica of the Situation Room.

Let’s hope they won’t be needing to go to DefCon 4 anytime soon — the software development world would likely come to a screeching halt if GitHub were to head south.

If only they could just commit!

{{IF you think that was a bad joke, THEN I’ve got plenty more where that one came from.}}

Written by turbotodd

December 15, 2016 at 4:16 pm

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