Category Archives: Digital Security

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“A Travelers Guide To Protecting Your Data”

Dear Blast Readers,

 

When you hear the word “summer”, what is the first thing you think of? Vacation? Travel? Did you know that most people wont leave home without their smartphones, tablets, and/or computers? Have you ever wondered how traveling can compromise your digital security?

 

People tend to think of vacations as a time to get away and un-plug from the world, both the digital world and physical world. But, it is not realistic to believe that you will NEVER go online while traveling. Yes, it is fun to post pictures and status updates on your social media accounts in real time. But, did you know that by doing so, there is a possibility you are opening yourself, and your digital devices, to cyber criminals?

 

When traveling, public Wi-Fi might seem like a great thing. It allows you to check your email, work, and post updates to your social media accounts. But, as convent as it is, connecting to public Wi-Fi can also be dangerous. Cyber Criminals can take over public networks, and logging onto a corrupted network allows cyber criminals access to your:

  • Personal details
  • Credit card numbers
  • Passwords

 

The data that you, as a traveler, bring wherever you go is valuable and desired. It is important that while traveling you do everything in your power to keep your digital information safely out of the reach of cyber criminals.

 

How? Here are a few tips.

  • Only Use Secure Wi-Fi Networks. When connecting to a public network, consider using a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. This will ensure that your confidential information stays private. A VPN will also ensure that your data goes directly from your device to the network that you are connecting to.
  • Update Your Devices. Updating the software on your devices, as well as the applications updates, is important. Even though the constant update reminder can be annoying, it is your devices way of protecting you and your data.
  • Do Not Use Public Computers. Never use public computers when logging into to banking, email and social media accounts. This means computers in hotel business centers, as well as in-room iPads. Crooks can install keylogging software to track your keystrokes.
  • Secure Your Mobile Devices. Set a PIN for your devices. Setting a PIN can protect your device from unauthorized users.
  • Use Cash Whenever Possible. Using cash whenever possible while traveling keeps your credit/debit card safe from fraudsters. But, if you are to use your credit/debit cards, be cautious.
  • Backup all your devices. Before going on your trip, whether it is for business or vacation, it is a good idea to back up your mobile devices. This allows you to be able to retrieve your information if lost, in case of emergency, or stolen.
  • Critical information should be stored in a different location. When traveling, it is a good idea to store any critical and private information temporarily in a different location. Examples of different locations are: Flash Drives, Mobile Devices, or Cloud Storage.
  • Make sure your computer’s firewall is enabled. Enabling your computer’s firewall helps stop hackers from getting into your system, as well as keeping viruses from spreading and safeguards outgoing computer traffic.

 

If you have any questions about Digital Security, Hacking, Cyber Security, Computer Forensics, or Mobile Forensics contact FDS Global. You can reach us at our office at (954) 727-1957 or by email at RMoody@FDS.Global. Please feel free to visit our website at www.FDS.Global.


  • 0

“Beware of the Facebook Notification Virus”

Dear Blast Readers,

 

You are on your Facebook account, answering messages, liking posts, watching videos, and commenting on your friend’s photos. Suddenly, you receive a message from your friend Sam. The message contains a link to a funny cat video in which a cat in a hat is dancing with a maraca in its mouth. The message below the video says “Hilarious video. You NEED to check it out!”. Without giving it a second thought you click on the link to view the video. But, instead of viewing the video you get redirected to a site that you don’t recognize or trust. Naturally, you exit out of the browser thinking that maybe Sam has attached the wrong URL. But, it is too late. Your device has already been infected.

 

Security experts have identified a form of adware that targets social media users tricking them into infecting their own devices. It is known as the “Facebook Notification Virus”. This virus displays messages saying that they are from Facebook. The “Facebook Notification Virus” creates many different forms of messages, including:

  • Friend Requests
  • Chat Messages

 

Some of the notifications that the user received are real copies of notifications that users would see on the real social media site (making the fake notifications seem legit). While other notifications are presenting new features. The purpose of this adware is to redirect users to specific websites, most likely malicious websites, so that the user’s device becomes infected with malicious software. This virus does not just lead users to malicious websites, it also:

  • Monitors User Activity
  • Collects User Information
  • Records Browsing History
  • Tracks Cookies
  • Tracks Keystrokes
  • Tracks IP Addresses
  • Tracks Geographic Location
  • Tracks Zip Codes
  • Tracks Demographic Profiles
  • Tracks Emails
  • Tracks Telephone Numbers
  • Tracks Usernames
  • Tracks Passwords

 

After all this information is collected, the collector, hacker, will then attempt to sell your confidential information on Darknet Markets, then falling into the hands of much more malicious cyber criminals.

 

So, how does this virus spread?

 

The “Facebook Notification Virus” can be spread a few different ways, including:

  • Freeware
  • Shareware
  • Pirated copies of paid utilities.

 

Another way that it can spread is through spam emails. The sender of the spam emails wants you to open the so that his or her tool can get inside your system and infect it.

 

To protect your data and system from the “Facebook Notification Virus”, if you receive any suspicious messages from “Facebook”, you should:

  • Check your system, because you may have been infected.
  • Be careful of the software that you allow in your machine.
  • Verify the email addresses of the “companies” that have messaged you (visit the contact page on the official website of the “company” to verify the email address).

 

If you have any questions relating to the “Facebook Notification Virus”, cyber security, or computer forensics contact FDS Global. You can reach us at our office at (954)727-1957 or by email at RMoody@FDS.Global. Please feel free to visit our website at www.FDS.Global.


  • 2

“How Your Anti-Virus Can Turn On You”

Dear Blast Readers,

 

Imagine, you are sitting at your computer knowing that you did everything that you could to protect the files that are on it. You bought the best anti-virus software on the market, thinking that this would be your last line of defense. Now imagine the day you find out that your anti-virus software has been flipped and now works for the hackers. No one wants to believe that something that protects them could also be used against them. It is a nightmare when you find out that your anti-virus software is a double agent working for the hackers.

 

An Anti-Virus software is a computer program that is used for scanning, identifying, and removing viruses from your computer. Primarily, they are used to protect your computer. Now, image that this program that has access to all your files has gone to “the dark side” and has provided unfettered access to hackers. This type of attack used by hackers is called a “Double Agent” attack.

 

A “Double Agent” attack is an attack that takes over the anti-virus software of PC computers running Windows. This type of attack is performed by hackers. Once in control of the anti-virus software the hacker converts the anti-virus software into malware. The malware then acts on the hacker’s behalf to encrypt the files on the computer holding them for ransom.

 

A “Double Agent” attack can compromise the 14 major anti-virus software available. This type of attack can easily be executed by someone working out of their parent’s basement or a 13-year-old script kid. The way in which these individuals would infect a computer with a double agent attack can include having the user:

·        Access Malicious URLS

·        Download Malicious Attachments

 

To prevent the “Double Agent” attack from occurring, organizations and businesses should:

·        Monitor for spoofed emails.

·        Set up administration controls to prevent downloads from unknown sources.

·        Regularly update anti-virus software in all systems.

 

If you have any questions relating to “Double Agent” Attacks or Computer Forensics and Cyber Security contact FDS Global. You can reach us at your office at (954) 727-1957 or by email at RMoody@FDS.Global. Please feel free to visit our website at www.FDS.Global.


  • 29

“Data Protection Survey”

Dear Blast Readers,

Something most of us believe is important is Data Protection. With consistent news attention on “Hackings”, this idea of protecting your data has been dredged to the forefront of our minds. Data protection has different meanings for different people. It is often driven by your own education, experience, and industry.

I have put together a survey to better understand how an individual’s education, experience, and industry effect his or her perception of Data Protection. This survey will be used for educational and informational purposes at Oxford University in England.

The survey consists of thirteen questions. The questions are multiple choice and short answer. I appreciate all responses that I can include in presenting to an international community at Oxford. Please take the survey!  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/NPDHR2V

If you have any questions relating to computer forensics or cyber security contact FDS Global. You can reach us at our office at (954) 727-1957 or by email at RMoody@FDS.Global. Please feel free to visit our website at www.FDS.Global.

 

 

 

 

 


  • 2

“The Chatting Dead: The Rise of the Zombiebot”

Dear Blast Readers,

Have you ever lost a loved one (a family member or a beloved friend)? Everyone has lost someone they love or someone they are close to. Time is the only puzzle people cannot solve, or is it…

When someone loses a loved one, in some cases the loss is expected, and in others the loss is not expected. But when it happens the psychological response is to go through the 5 stages of grief. The 5 stages of grief are:

1.      Denial

2.      Anger

3.      Bargaining

4.      Depression

5.      Acceptance

 

Somewhere in these 5 stages there is a moment where all you want is to hear from that person one more time. You just miss them so much that all you want is to talk to them again. It could be because you miss them, or because you are having a bad day and you know that if they were there they would understand and listen to you.

 

The most common advice given to someone when they lose someone is “Move on”, that is a phrase that is easier said than done. What if I told you that “moving on” is not the only option when you lose someone?

 

Have you ever heard of a chat bot. This type of coding is the direction that Artificial Intelligence has begun heading, everyone knows Siri, Alexa, and even Cortona. Chat bots are at the point where they can begin synthesizing digital information such as text messages, social media posts, and blogs to recreate the writing nuances specific individuals have. Simply this means a chat bot can sound just like a person via digital messaging even with their quirky greetings.  

 

As Uncle Ben said in Spiderman “with great power comes great responsibility”, there is an increasing ethical dilemma of whether chat bots should be allowed to bring a person back from the grave digitally. Within a decade researchers are predicting mainstream viability of this technology.

 

Ryerson University and MIT Media Lab is working on creating Chatbots crafted from someone’s personal data. Per Ryerson University and MIT Media Lab it takes about one zettabyte (which equals 1 trillion gigabytes) of personal data to create a digital version of yourself. 

 

A zettabyte sounds like some made up value that is unattainable, but the reality of the situation is that with children beginning a digital presence at a much younger age, the amount of personal data stored through the various of sources on the internet will easily add up to a zettabyte in their lifetimes. The scariest part of it all is that once something is on the internet the information outlives us all and may bring us back from the grave.

 

If you have any questions relating to Computer Forensics or Cyber Security contact FDS Global. You can reach us at our office at (954) 727-1957 or by email at: rmoody@FDS.Global. Please feel free to visit our website at www.FDS.Global