Mar 4, 2013

60 Days of Hacker Assaults

Within the first 60 days of 2013, an alarming number of International corporations and government agencies faced serious security violations from Internet hacking.  Beyond the Twitter, Apple and Facebook invasions, a more ominous threat attacked the State Department, Federal Reserve, Department of Energy and some of the largest U.S.-based news organizations.  The evolution of Internet hacking from small-time criminal initiatives focused on individual businesses and consumers to global cyber-offenders targeting national infrastructures is well documented and represents a growing concern for governments and citizens alike.

The computer security firm, Mandiant, recently released a study focused on the activities of a Chinese hacker collective referred to as the “Comment Crew” or “Shanghai Group,” which sheds light on security risks to agencies with access to essential U.S. infrastructures such as electrical, gas and water distribution.  The study also highlights the expansive nature of cybercrime and reinforces the need to protect public systems from unlawful invasions.  The most critical U.S. agencies and structures are increasingly vulnerable to cyber-attacks, and experts emphasize growing concerns for the nation’s power systems and other vital infrastructures.

Although the average computer user has little involvement with such significant security threats, the increasing prevalence of cybercrime places greater responsibility on consumers to protect their individual identities and personal information from hackers.  Cybercrime represents a daily reality for all Americans, as hackers pursue financial data, location details, social media content and business material at staggering rates.  Fortunately, basic computer security efforts help protect most consumers from cybercrime and hacking risks.  By following the few tips below, consumers may strengthen their defenses against such crimes:

 

  • Utilize up-to-date anti-virus and anti-phishing software, as well as operating systems and application software
  • Carefully investigate the information received from any unknown user (hackers easily manipulate email addresses and contacts to appear legitimate)
  • Avoid downloading content from unknown users, especially when content was not directly requested (attachments and PDFs may contain viruses that enable hackers to access personal information or even take control of computers)
  • Operate on a secured wireless network with active firewall settings
  • Do not keep password information on computers and maintain stringent and unique passwords for all system logins

 

 

For more information on digital warfare and the evolution of the Internet hacker, see also www.huffingtonpost.com/hemanshu-nigam/digital-troops-front-line_b_2242406.html.

 

Feb 21, 2013

What Do Miranda Kerr, Burger King, and President Obama All Have in Common?

Twitter amounts to serious business for many celebrities and large corporations. Product endorsements, promotional details and event advertising represent a growing market in both celebrity and corporate publicity machines. Like many of its recognized users, the value of Twitter’s instantaneous mass communication abilities has not been lost on Internet hackers. Twitter fan favorites, including Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Britney Spears and Khloe Kardashian, have fallen prey to the recent trend in celebrity cyber-attacks, whereby hackers tweet fabricated content using victims’ personal profiles. Burger King became the latest victim of a Twitter attack. Hackers defaced the fast food chain’s account by making it appear as McDonald’s, and tweeting vulgar comments and false claims.

Read more on Huffington Post

 

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is an online safety, security, and privacy expert and CEO of SSP Blue, an online security consultancy. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CBS, HLNTV.com, and abcnews.com.  To sign up for SSP Blue’s Weekly News & Info, please click here, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  See also Hemu’s personal site.

Feb 18, 2013

Elmo Teaching Online Safety? That’s Cool!

With its lighthearted blend of lovable cheek, quality literacy and numeracy instruction and just the right amount of shrewd and lovable monsters, Sesame Streetentices millions of devoted parents and enamored children to their televisions each day. Beyond letters and numbers, the series teaches viewers about sharing, friendship, problem solving and how to show kindness to others. Sesame Street even tackles some of life’s most challenging lessons. In a recent video from the “Little Children, Big Challenges” series, Sesame Street aims to teach children about divorce and sharing a life between split homes. Given the way Sesame Street is able to provide entertaining instruction aimed at promoting the wellbeing and heath of young viewers, it has an opportunity to protect children from the growing list of online dangers. The time to address Internet safety is now and we ask Sesame Street to do what it is capable of doing by providing an educational video on this topic. And as parents, we would love it if they did.

Read more on Huffington Post

 

Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam is an online safety, security, and privacy expert and CEO of SSP Blue, an online security consultancy. He is also a frequent contributor to CNN, HLN, Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, CBS, HLNTV.com, and abcnews.com.  To sign up for SSP Blue’s Weekly News & Info, please click here, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.  See also Hemu’s personal site.