Riverbank Ruminations

Observations From the Banks of the Technology River

Senior systems engineer emeritus, and security guru. Still guest blogging for Ashton, because he just can't stay away!

SMS, GPS, and Your Favorite Movie.

SMS, GPS and your favorite movie.

I have several sites that I get RSS feeds from, and as you might expect, many of them relate to security. Consequently, I see headlines that run the gamut from discussing sophisticated attacks on the computer CPU (Spectre, Meltdown, etc), to phishing attacks, to poor security in IoT devices. All of this becomes fodder for blogs and the security awareness training classes that I conduct for Ashton.

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Let's Go Shopping; How 'bout The Dark Web?

Let's Go Shopping; How 'bout The Dark Web?

Lets go shopping

If you were to go shopping online but elected to bypass Amazon for the seedier parts of the Internet you might find ads that look like the following;

For Rent : ATTACK YOUR ENEMIES or anyone. Do you have someone you want to knock off the ‘net? Our service will do it for you. Reasonable rates that get better for long term commitments. 5 minutes at 125 Gbs for €5. 3 hours for as low as $20/hour. Contact us for more details.

For Sale: Need a new identity? We can offer a U.S. green card, passport visa, driver’s license, and insurance card for $2,000. Prefer Canada? We can offer an Ontario driver's license and Canadian passport for $1,000. Want to be a diplomat? Diplomatic passports from multiple countries for $2,000. 

Need Money? We can help. ATM cards as low as $100 to $1,000 for accounts with balances ranging from $2,000 to $50,000.

For Sale: Full identities. Due to the latest breaches we have bargain prices on US identities. Australia, Denmark have gone up. Sorry.

Need credit? Did the takedown of Alphabay and Hansa curb your cash? We have credit cards available at reasonable prices.

Want to start own your business? Need a zero day? Need some malware? We can provide what you need AND tech support.

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Hurricanes and Cybersecurity

Hurricanes and Cybersecurity

Hurricane Preparedness; It's Almost Like Cybersecurity

So I have been ‘retired’ for about 3 ½ years now but I keep my hand in security by doing security awareness training for Ashton. Since this encompasses some clients who understand the value of training and others who don't, I am always on the lookout for new training material and situations that can be used as examples to illustrate security issues. Our recent trip to Hawaii and the brush with hurricanes is a perfect example.

This trip was interesting from a security/disaster standpoint because during the three plus weeks we were on the way/there/leaving we had to deal with three hurricanes.

Hector was heading for the islands about two days before our trip west. We had no idea what impact it would have on our trip- would we even make it to our destination? Fortunately, it had none. In fact, it turned north before getting to Hawai’i and did no damage. Even better, it cleared the air around the island of Hawaii which had been very voggy (fog and gases from the recent volcanic eruption).

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Plant Your Flag Online

Plant Your Flag Online

NMK, PYF, IoT (again)

Sometimes as I read various news feeds and articles on the state of security, or lack thereof, I start to listen to that not so faint Luddite voice saying “GET OFF THE ‘NET. It’s not safe out there. Bad people are out to get you”. Data breaches, ransomware, cryptojacking, and other products of the dark side of the web make that an appealing thought. And then I read something like the column written by Brian Krebs on the need to have an online presence.

While the desire to drop off the grid may be appealing, the world is not headed that way. The IRS and the Social Security Administration are two very important entities that are online and conducting most of their business on the web. Scammers know that, as is evidenced by the numerous cases of criminals filing tax returns fraudulently. As Brian points out, if you don’t have an online account, someone will be glad to create one for you. With all the data breaches happening these days, enough information about you is available to allow the bad guys to set up an account even with the SSA or IRS in your name. Obviously they are not doing this to be helpful.

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Are You Wise When it Comes to Digital Security?

Are You Wise When it Comes to Digital Security?

Are you wise?

Knowledge: (noun) - acquaintance with facts, truths, or principles, as from study or investigation; general erudition:

Understanding: (noun) - mental process of a person who comprehends; comprehension; personal interpretation; superior power of discernment; 

Wisdom: (noun) - knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgment as to action; 

Source: Dictionary.com

The above words are sometimes used interchangeably but we can see some differences. Knowledge is acquired. Understanding is a process and wisdom leads to action. A practical example might be as follows:

Knowledge – I am standing on railroad tracks and I see a train coming

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