Monday, July 31, 2017

Comcast Business gives another reason not to pay ransomware

Comcast Business is advising customers never to pay ransom for "ransomware" attacks, because often files are merely "deleted" but not encrypted, and can be recovered.  Here's the article from today.

Here is US Cert's latest on Petya, link.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Home users and small businesses may want to consider protecting their digital data storage from EMP attacks (which can be local)

I’ve mentioned this before, but I thought this is an opportune time to reinforce the idea that small business and home users need to rethink more their strategy in protecting their own data.
We’ve certainly heard a lot about novel ransomware attacks this spring, but for the most part home users and small businesses were not affected, because large businesses are more easily impersonated bt attackers (especially overseas).  But another danger is physical attack which could include knocking out the power grids and electronics.

The recoverability of power is a controversial topic, but the US certainly is vulnerable in its inability to replace transformers quickly (or even transport them).  But another issue is that EMP electromagnetic pulses (which don’t require nuclear blasts – there are microwave flux weapons, not well known, that can do this in smaller areas) can destroy electronics, including modern auto ignition systems and data on hard drives and thumb drives.  Furthermore, cloud backup services could be compromised.  No one has written much on how well major data storage services (or publishing platforms or hosting companies) can secure their facilities from electronic damage from pulse-type weapons. 

Users could consider making optical CD backups of critical data as well as building or acquiring special “Faraday” cage devices. CD backups were more popular a decade ago than they are now. 
The military has these today, and I suspect major financial institutions have them.  But little has been written yet my mainstream media sources.  It needs attention.  

The 2009 novel "One Second After" depicts the pileups on an Interstate in North Carolina when most car ignitions fail suddenly.  Frankly, there is suddenly more attention to this idea because of North Korea's threat, which James Woolsey says can be launched from a satellite today.

As far as I know, coronal mass ejections from solar storms do not cause this threat to devices, even though they can short out power grid transformers. .

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Cell phone "smishing"

Here's a warning from Fortune (also on NBC Nightly News tonight) about smart phone smishing scams.

I have yet to get one that I recall.  But you should not respond to unexpected SMS financial messages;  you should go into the financial institution's website yourself (just as with email phishing).

And a few of these scams can infect phones with malware. 

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Verizon contractor leaves 14 million cellular customer records open to compromise, but no evidence of actual misuse so far

Media reports indicate a breach in the data records of up to 14 million international Verizon customers, including pin data, because a company that facilitates customer service calls left certain intermediate data not properly secured.
The Verge has a news story here.

But there is no evidence that any data has actually been taken, but it is impossible to prove that it wasn’t.  That’s why strict audit trails and access control and elevation integrity are important to data centers.
These kinds of lapses were quite common in the mainframe world until the early 1990s.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Facebook phishing scam based on former Friend who is deceased

 Be careful of a new Facebook scam. I just got an email Friend request from a former Facebook friend who has deceased. The FB email was spoofed but there was no request on my account. This seems like another kind of phishing scam, possibly on deceased persons.
Be aware also that misspellings of "Facebook" can take you to phony imitation sites that ask for surveys and then connect you to FB (or go into an endless loop, requiring restart).

I have found that I attract a number of people from poor countries as Friends.  This may be related to my blogging about immigration and asylum issues.  Sometimes there are requests for money, help with employment, medical expenses, or charities (or even coming to the U,S., which will not be legal right now -- immediate ICE detention).  Obviously it is normally very difficult to determine which if any of these requests are genuine.


Thursday, July 06, 2017

Milo's first printing sells out, already tempting "Dangerous" phishing scams. Always check your account on Amazon yourself.

Here's a word to the wise.  Milo Yiannopolous's next book "Dangerous" sold out in its first printing (100,000) and my Amazon order wasn't soon enough to be in the first stock.  OK, I ordered Kindle as a stop-gap for $2.99.  But then I get a fake message saying it has shipped, and to click for directions.

So I go to the Amazon site, and see it still hasn't shipped.

So "Dangerous" may have invited some phishing scams already.