Thursday, February 15, 2018

EFF offers tips on shielding personal data from telecoms and maybe hosting providers



I wanted to share Electronic Frontier Foundation’s page on protecting your privacy from your telecom provider, by Amul Kalia, here. There is a lot of discussion of VPN’s and (especially overseas) TOR.  There is also a list of smaller telecom’s, not available everywhere, that seem less interested in monetizing your personal information.

Likewise, one could ask questions about hosting companies, who from my experience generally keep hands off.
  
Nevertheless, there are automated tools in use that might be able to detect (by digital watermark) illegal content when it is backed up in a cloud (I know of at least one arrest in Maryland (of a school employee) over this possibility).  Likewise Google searches attachments to emails, which has resulted in at least one arrest in Houston, TX.  There are cases where there could be legal issues with intentionally viewing some social media images or video portions out of context, and this might be detectable.

Monday, February 05, 2018

EFF warns users: keep your software up to date, even when vendors rudely interrupt you


Electronic Frontier Foundation has a valuable advisory paper today reminding visitors that they should always install software updates promptly. The advisory appears as a Security Education Companion from Surveillance Self-Defense.

The article maintains that updated systems are much less likely to be targeted by malware or known enemies because they are much more “expensive” to attack.

It also advises that notification normally does not come by email but within the product itself, so subverted updates should be extremely rare.

It also admits that there is a small risk with an update of failure, but an older system is already “broken”.

I have to admit that secondary backup computers (for travel) don’t get updated as option, and that may be one reason a Lenovo ultra table that I bought in early 2015 with Windows 8 became unusable this year.

I’ve also been unwilling to rock the boat with a 2011 Macbook and Sibelius, because there is so much music that is working there that way now. But that could be one reason why I’ve had trouble with iCloud recently.

I might also take exception to this idea when Microsoft pushes operating system replacements on users with older hardware.  I burned up a Toshiba laptop in 2014 going from 8.0 to 8.1; the motherboard just got too hot. 
  
It may be advisable to look into the issue of whether you “use” all the services you have with an account you have, or someone else could hack them without your knowledge.  Then I don’t know who would be legally liable. You don’t hear this idea discussed very often. 

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Apple and iCloud phishing attacks continue; AOL seems unable to identify certain phishing scams;security companies not up to speed on this


I continue to receive strange emails claiming signon to my iCloud account and purchases overseas, especially in Indonesia and former Soviet republics.  I have marked them all as spam and forwarded them to Apple’s reportphishing@apple.com.  AOL does not seem to catch these as spam (nor does it catch emails that say your own AOL mailbox has been closed). 

I am also getting emails claiming my iCloud account has been canceled, with the sender addressed spoofed well enough even when tested by mouse-over to appear to have come from Apple. But the iCloud id and pw still work so that appears to be phishing. These also have been forwarded to Apple.
  
Yet security company Webroot is not aware of a specific problem with phishing involving iCloud.  
  
 However employees at an Apple store told me there has been a problem.

So far there is no evidence of invalid charges or of fake accounts overseas in my name.  But it is conceivable that someone could get arrested overseas if a fake identity had been created and the person went to that (third world) country. It is conceivable that fake accounts could result in judgment attempts.
 
Another possible risk could be that a hacker could place illegal content in an iCloud account. Users should always periodically spot check all online accounts that they have for possible abuse. 
   
This does seem to be a very large and bot-automated phishing attack probably from parts of the former Soviet Union.