Cybersecurity: Navigating the Maze

Do you think you can find your way through a maze?

Take a look at the maze below. See if you can find the way through it.

 

picture of maze to solve with pencil

Perhaps you think it’s easy. It’s really not too difficult. But there’s only one way through it.

“Hold on there!” you say. You probably think there’s more than one way.

Really? You missed something the first time you looked. Continue reading “Cybersecurity: Navigating the Maze”

WannaCry – a New Strain of Ransomware

Wildfires are threatening nearby communities in Florida. One of these grew from 3 acres to over 3000 acres in a matter of hours, threatening homes in the vicinity and shutting down parts of the interstate highway that connects this side of the state. Firefighters are working hard to attempt to gain control of this (and other) wildfires in the area.

As these fires were spreading, another outbreak was spreading just as rapidly. A new strain of ransomware spread globally, to more than ten thousand companies in over 150 countries. Instead of closing highways and threatening homes, this ransomware outbreak closed down companies and government sites and threatened lives. Numberous hospitals were among the victims and they had to suspend important services to existing patients and turn ambulances away. Continue reading “WannaCry – a New Strain of Ransomware”

Look What I Found! A Flash Drive!

You are probably familiar with flash drives (a.k.a. USB drives, thumb drives, memory sticks, etc.). They are small things that you can plug into a slot in your computer that you can use to store data or to transfer data to another computer or device.

They have become quite inexpensive and you can buy one with a respectable amount of storage for $10 to $20, especially when they are on sale.

Before I say anything more Continue reading “Look What I Found! A Flash Drive!”

Has Your Gift Card Been Hacked Yet?

Criminals have discovered and used different methods to “steal” the “money” on your gift cards for some time now, but a new threat has surfaced this year which is distinctly different than previous methods.

In the past, it was typically necessary for the thief to be present in the store and handle the gift cards to get the numbers, or to steal the information. That could be done by hacking or by someone present in the store. Or, they could trick the customer into revealing the card number.

This year, a new method has surfaced and it poses a much greater threat. The hacker doesn’t have to be present and they don’t have to hack into the store. Instead, they take advantage of the methods the card provider uses for customer service.

Here’s how it works.  Continue reading “Has Your Gift Card Been Hacked Yet?”

Shady Marketing Practices – Part 2

Suppose you are considering a purchase and want to find out about a product or a company. Maybe you have a particular product in mind, or perhaps you want to find out what the best options are. It is natural to turn to the Internet to do a search.

When I was preparing to create this web site, I was looking for a new web host. Web hosting is something you need when you have a web site. The web host provides a location for the web site. They provide the services and equipment that allow your web site to exist and to operate.

I already had a host that I used for some of my previous work but I wanted something better for this site. My previous host (which I still kept) had limitations that were likely to be problematic as my site became more popular.

I did a search for reviews on web hosts and found sites that listed the “top 10” web hosts or promised similar results. Many of the same companies kept coming up on the lists. But, from my previous experience and research, I knew some of these companies were poor choices for what I needed. I investigated further and discovered that a great number of those companies were all owned by a single, larger company. That larger company has a history of providing poor quality and service. But, unless you get behind the scenes and find out what people in the industry really think, you will never discover that. Continue reading “Shady Marketing Practices – Part 2”

Shady Marketing Practices – Part 1

A number of years ago, I was out of work and looking for a position. Nobody was hiring in my field. Some of the other top professionals in my field were also looking, but couldn’t find positions either. I eventually decided to take a part-time, temporary position at a sales call center. It was commission-only, but I thought I’d give it a try. I ended up working there about two or three days a week at about 10-20 hours per week.

This company was marketing a discount medical service program. It wasn’t insurance but, if you became a member of the program, you could get the same type of discounts you would get if you had regular medical insurance. You paid a monthly premium and then had a copay when you needed medical services. It sounded like a good program to me.

But I soon discovered some problems. Continue reading “Shady Marketing Practices – Part 1”

Cybercriminals… Where to Find Them & How to Avoid Them

In my last post, I described the cybercrime “marketplace” where criminals can:

*   Find the resources they need

*   Find other criminals who will provide the specialized services they need

*   Find other criminals to work with as they engage in their criminal activities

In this post, I want to talk about cybercrime from a different angle.

But first, let’s talk about what YOU do.

If you are looking for something, what do you do? Continue reading “Cybercriminals… Where to Find Them & How to Avoid Them”

Cybercrime Today

In my last post, I painted a picture of a hacker that discovered his victim would be on vacation. He then shared that information with someone who breaks into houses. I also suggested that he might have an ongoing arrangement with that burglar, for their mutual benefit.

Perhaps some of you thought, “There he goes again… getting carried away and making up stories. Sure, it COULD happen, but how likely is that?”

So, today, I want to talk about how cybercrime REALLY works. Continue reading “Cybercrime Today”

I sent an invitation to the guy that robbed me!

Computers and technology have provided some wonderful improvements to many areas of our lives. But, as we become comfortable with them, we sometimes “lose” common sense. Other times, we simply don’t think about the consequences of our actions.

E-mail makes it easy to communicate. Before e-mail, we could make a phone call. But, if it were the middle of the night, we might need to wait until morning. Or, if the person didn’t answer, we had to leave a message (if they had an answering machine) or call back later. Now, we can just prepare an e-mail and hit “send.”

Some time after e-mail was developed, e-mail programs began to add the possibility of sending an automatic reply. That is convenient if you are out of the office for a couple of days. Just set up an automatic response that says, “I will be out of the office until Monday.” Then the person sending the e-mail won’t be upset if we don’t reply quickly enough. Perhaps we see someone else do that and we think, “I should do that, too.” In this way, we can enhance our responsiveness. However, we may not think about the implications if we do. Continue reading “I sent an invitation to the guy that robbed me!”