Category Archives: Technology

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“How Clean Is Your PC?”

Dear Blast Readers,

 

When it comes to your PC’s Cyber security do you do everything possible to prevent Cyber-attacks and data breaches? Do you use strong passwords? Do you know what constitutes a strong password? Do you avoid any suspicious emails that could lead you into a phishing attack? Do you use two-factor authentication on the accounts that allows you to do so? Have you ever wondered if that is enough? If that is really all it takes to secure your digital information?

 

When you hear the phrase “spring cleaning” you automatically think of cleaning your home. Doing the dishes, sorting cloths, and scrubbing every inch of your home. But, “Spring cleaning” can also refer to cleaning up and separating your digital junk from your valued digital information.

 

If you think that you do not have digital junk, you do. Whether it is old and forgotten email accounts, forgotten thumb-drives, or years’ worth of information in the download folder, everyone has digital junk

 

All unwanted and forgotten files are considered liabilities, a danger to you and your valuable digital information. In the event your digital devices are hacked, stolen, and/or lost, holding onto accounts and files you do not want and/or need opens you up to all kinds of risks. So, cleaning your digital devices is important when securing them.

 

So, where do you start your digital “spring cleaning”?

  1. Address your physical devices. Devices should be cleaned, destroyed, and disposed of properly. Only after you go through all the data and back-up what you want to keep.
  2. Go through your desktop and all your documents. It is important to go through and get rid of any old documents containing personal information, such as: medical and banking information.
  3. Delete any emails you don’t need or want. With your email being the data center of your online life, secure the emails you want to keep and delete the ones that you do not want.
  4. Cancel any account you no longer use. Before deleting any software, clean out and close the account. By doing so, this makes sure the company retains the smallest amount of information as possible about you. It also prevents any more information about you from being collected.
  5. Cancel any email account you no longer use.

 

If you have any questions about Data Security, Cyber Attacks, 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.


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“The United States of Chatbots: How Chatbots Are Crawling Into Your Everyday Life”

Dear Blast Readers,

 

Have you ever communicated with a Chatbot? Do you know what Chatbots are?  Did you know that Siri, Cortana, and Alexa are considered Chatbots? Did you know that Chatbots are running rampant through social media, such as Twitter? Did you know that Chatbots are therapists and lawyers?

 

Chatbots are computer programs that mimic human conversation through Artificial Intelligence, also known as AI. These computer programs can respond to text messages and/or digital chats, such as Facebook messages, carrying out conversations with the people on the other end of the chat. Those receiving the messages would not know that the account they were communicating with was controlled by a robot rather than a person.

 

So, how many types of Chatbots are there?

There are 2 categories of Chatbots today:

  1. Rule-Based Chatbots. Which are Chatbots that can respond to a specific command.
  2. Artificial Intelligence Chatbots. Which can respond to natural language.

 

A Chatbot is a form of software that has a few layers that make it work:

  • Database: To store product information, customer data, and customer transactions.
  • Application Layer: A set of instructions that gives the app its functionality.
  • Application Programming Interface: Also, known as a API, connects the app to other services to get things like shipping quotes or process payments.
  • User Interface: How the users tell your app what he/she wants or what he/she is interested in.

 

Chatbots use these layers to work in the same way as a human manning a help desk. If a someone asks Chatbot a question, The Chatbot will use the information to respond in the same manner as a human would. The more a Chatbot communicates with people, the better understanding of human interaction the Chatbot acquires. This is because the Chatbot has more information archived in its database to refer to when conversing with a human.

 

So, what is the big deal about Chatbots?

Chatbots are extending their spider like reaches into many aspects of life. In New York City and in London a Chatbot is acting as a Lawyer. This program has helped thousands of people with traffic citations. More accurately it has successfully contested 160,000 citations.

 

The cost of this help?

 

FREE!

 

Attorneys working in this field of law should be concerned about being replaced, by a significantly cheaper solution.

 

It is not just attorneys that should be worried. A Chatbot who goes by “Woebot” is now acting as a therapist. This Chatbot was created by Psychologists from Stanford. This Chatbot uses common therapeutic techniques daily to assist individuals in managing mental health.

 

The concerns regarding Chatbots extends farther than replacing humans in the work force. Chatbots have a much more sinister use. This use is disseminating false information in mass. On Twitter, there are thousands of fake accounts controlled by Chatbots. These Chatbots were created for the sole purpose of spreading partisan directed fake news. This dissemination of false information is a problem because it creates distrust for those reading the information. What is worse is that the way in which these Chatbots are disseminating Fake News on Twitter.

 

This dissemination has intensified because the thousands of Chatbots are posting the same fake information, and using the same “Trigger Words”. By using the same “Trigger Words” this fake news trends on Twitter. This manipulation of the “Trending Algorithm” for Twitter forces unsuspecting individuals to view the Fake News on the trending section of Twitter.

 

In the Future, these negatives associated with Chatbots may outweigh the helpfulness these algorithms offer.

 

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

 




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“In A Day Where Everything Is Getting Smarter, It Might Be Smarter To Play Dumb”

Dear Blast Readers,

 

Did you know that 6.6 million people in the US are stalked every year*? Only 1 in 5 victims are stalked by strangers*. 85% of stalking victims know who their stalkers are*. Did you know that there are 78% of stalkers use more than 1 approach when it comes to stalking their victims*?

 

We live in a day and age where technology is continuing to get smarter. With technology getting smarter so are the cyber criminals. Today Cyber criminals are always looking for vulnerabilities and back doors to provide access to his or her next victim.

 

Recently, vulnerabilities in cyber security have been found hiding and lurking in the shadows of smart appliances. Some examples of smart appliances include:

  • Smart Refrigerators
  • Smart Slow Cookers
  • Smart Dish Plates

 

Smart Refrigerators can have 3 built in cameras, that allow you to see inside of the Refrigerators from where ever you are. They also can have the capability of streaming music, streaming videos, as well as sharing calendars, notes, memos and pictures. The Smart Refrigerators can also have voice activated features. If these refrigerators fell victim to a hack attack, then hackers would have total control over all the features.

 

By hacking the Smart Refrigerators, hackers can then peer into your life. Watching you, your spouse, and even your children with the help of the video feed that comes from the Smart Refrigerators cameras.

 

Also, they can listen to every conversation going on inside your home because of the voice activation speakers (the speakers that help to refrigerator listen and respond to your commands).

 

The Smart Refrigerators can also share calendars, notes, memos and pictures. If a hacker was to gain access to this information, it could be sold on the dark net to someone with malicious intent. But, you could also be stalked. With this information, a stalker would know your schedule, know what your family and friends look like, where your favorite places are, among other things.

 

A Smart Slow Cooker is another smart device that cyber criminals and/or hackers could use to their malicious advantages. Being a Bluetooth connected device allows the Smart Slow Cooker to connect to smartphones (both Android and iOS devices), and tablets that have the Smart Slow Cookers application. From this application, you can control all the features, including:

  • Adjusting the temperature
  • Turning the Smart Slow Cooker on/off

 

With access to the Smart Slow Cookers, hackers would be able to get into the application and mess with the settings. They would be able to turn it on and off as they pleased, they would also be able to control the heat settings, possibly being able to blow the power source creating a fire. Hackers would be able to do all of this without the consent or knowledge of the device’s owners.

 

Do you wear a fitness tracker on your wrist consistently? Do you monitor your caloric intake with said device? Did you know there is a Smart Dish Plate that can help you track your eating habits and calorie intake? The Smart Dish Plate is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connected. It connects to your smartphone, via application, and your fitness tracker. It also has 3-mini built in cameras.

 

If hackers and/or cyber criminals were to gain control over this device, then it is likely that your phone and its data will be targeted as well. This leads to the possibly that this data could be sold on the dark net.

 

With the 3-mini built in cameras, hackers would also be able to spy on you through the camera feed.

 

By gaining access to the smart kitchen appliances, hackers can do many things without your knowledge or consent. They can control the device and all its features and they can also gain access to any other internet connected device connected the same network, including:

  • Smartphones
  • Tablets
  • Computers
  • Alarm systems

 

If you have any questions about hacking 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.

 

 

 

*(The statistics represented in this blast were identified from: Stalking Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Apr. 2017.)*