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NCSAM: Schools are no longer safe, now PII on students are out on the surface and dark Web

I was looking at twitter and found an article talking about Las Vegas schools now being targeted with ransomware. The problem with this particular attack however, is that while the school system didn’t pay the ransomware demand, the data is reported to be on the surface and dark web. The surface web is the web we browse every day. The dark web is the web that is accessed through the TOR browser which we talked a little bit in our last post.

How do we hold these schools accountable?

Let us find a way to hold the school systems responsible in the first place. While patching and keeping data safe is key, the fact is that this database of student information including names, dates of birth, grades, and school attended are publically available in a database that is not protected by a password. Today, you just can’t do that, none of my customer information is available to the public internet, it never has been. This is where the school failed.

Its OK to make that kind of mistake if you are made aware of it and close it. But then you get hit with ransomware, usually delivered by Spam Email, and the entire network is owned.

What about the criminals?

Cybercriminals behind the Clop, DoppelPaymer and Sodinokibi are really doing their jobs here, and this can’t be good.

Other articles that might be of interest in this series

In that 2019 article I relink the 2017 Valley College articles as that effected me when I was at Valley College taking some non-credit courses as part of where I was at that time. What about this 2020 article in July called This is interesting, a study of k-12 and college breaches by the numbers where school systems were surveyed? What can we do?

Lets Get to work

First, if it is at all possible, lets get articles like these out to the administrators of these schools. If they can see what is going on in the landscape, they might be wondering what they can do. Then we can ask them about what they plan to do about their own student data whether it is elementary, middle, high or college student personally identifying information. This search page from the blog has postings about schools where podcasts mentioning them, plenty of articles, and I’m sure this NCSAM article will end up going too.

The main article here which I will link to in a moment talks about the various attacks through the last little while and some background. This is definitely something we need to be concerned about, especially if this article indicates that parents may sue the district or even the school. If that is the case, the system is going to be in a lot of trouble because of their neglegance of basic security issues.

The article that braught this post about is a September 29, 2020 article from threat post entitled Las Vegas Students’ Personal Data Leaked, Post-Ransomware Attack. Let us keep the pressure on by continuing to talk about stories like this because if we don’t, we’ll have bigger problems later. Your thoughts are welcome.

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Online training and schools

Something has been coming to mind in regards to school and online training. I’m hoping in an upcoming podcast, we can hear from people who have done online training like I have through Universal Class. I’m wondering what you’ve found to be accessible or not through the years.

Please send your files through dropbox or We Transfer or any other file sharing service like Sendspace or You Send it. The email address is tech at menvi.org and I look forward in what you have to say!

There is no deadline, so if many files come in, I’ll play them in turn. This is where participation matters, and we’ll play any submissions.

If you want assistance taping your segment, email me and we’ll work some time out on doing things.

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Are schools protected from threats? Article syas not so much

Are schools prone to cyberattack? According to the article Cybersecurity: One in five schools says students have broken into computer systems indicate not so much. Lots of statistical data in this article. I’m not sure in which country this article is based under, but I do remember the email and phone call from Valley College talking about their ransomware attack.

If this is any indication, we’re going to be in for more problems later on. I am sure that there has been coverage through the years on smaller schools being attacked by ransomware and other cybersecurity threats, and a search on ransomware or school cybersecurity threats can provide tons of coverage.

Of course, if only 430 schools were surveyed in this article outside the states, what about in the states itself? Should we be concerned about this? Thoughts?

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Are schools next in the cyber race?

Hi folks,

Happy new year, and thanks for checking out the blog. My goal during Christmas break was to release a podcast, but I’ve been ill. Hopefully, the podcasts will return soon.

The reason why I’m writing today, is to talk about something I’ve thought about for awhile, but sadly, the 4th day of January, we’re already seeing.

I’m going to be careful, and indicate that I got an E-mail from a school I’ve attended talking about how they are investigating reports of a possible attack.

According to the E-mail, it looks like one campus of the network of various schools around the LosAngeles county was targeted.

Computers and voice mail systems, according to the E-mail and attached PDF, are effected, and no voice mail can be left at the school at this time.

School is going on as normal, and recently started its winter session which started on January 3rd.

As a precaution, the E-mail notifies us that computer experts have gotten involved and will be checking out the entire network to determine what is happening.

They are advising that many computers are possibly infected with ransomware. If you are not aware and you’re coming to the blog for the first time, ransomware is a big time problem, and it locks up your files until you pay money.

Many experts are telling people not to pay unless you have no other choice. I agree with the assessments, I know i wouldn’t pay money to someone who may or may not give me my files back.

According to the attached PDF linked, this detection and investigation started on the 31st of December, and only time will tell on what exactly happened.

I had thought about this as part of my predictions for 2017, which I never wrote because I’ve been sick. It saddens me that we’re starting out the new year on such a note like this. It does not surprise me anymore in regards to things like this.

Do I think other schools are going to be impacted? As large of a network as the school has that I got notified from, it would be possible for other large networks to be impacted at some point.

Hospitals, and other businesses have already felt the brunt of ransomware. Trend Micro has already predicted that ransomware will be a bigger threat as it becomes more prevelant as a weapon for people to be making money.

Do you think your school, or a school you’ve attended will be a target? Why or why not? Please sound off in the comments, and lets discuss this big threat of ransomware.

Hope to have a podcast real soon, thanks for reading!

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Brazen Brazilian hackers opening cybercrime schools

As I catch up, I find this.

Brazen Brazilian hackers opening cybercrime schools.

I find it very interesting, the fact you can go to school to learn this stuff. If i did such a thing, I’d just want to learn how it works, not necessarily wanting to do these things. I find this stuff interesting, that these hackers are going around doing things, but we really don’t know how it is done in some cases. Learning how these things are done could protect us in the first place, because we’d be able to know what is happening, and therefore, we wouldn’t be scared should something happen. Check out the article, and give me your thoughts.

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What has been read, blogged, and talked about for the last week, security news ending October 4, 2020

In this week’s news, some of which may have been blogged about on the tech blog itself, find out what I’ve been reading including the highlights of the Security News from Trend Micro. It has been a doozie of a week with the news of UHS and I’ve got several blog posts on that and even finding one from Dark Reading through twitter which I didn’t blog about. Read on to find out what caught my attention of things within the past week.

UHS is known as United Health Care services. Many different articles on a search of this company name will yield results talking about the group which deals with hospital care in various locations being part of potential ransomware. Their reports are the typical ransomware type, but they stop short of this.

Article list:

This can’t be good in the Public Relations department, can it? I’m an outsider looking in, and trying to disperse info and pointing people to the articles so that they can be informed. Read these blog posts, accompanying articles, and come back and tell me what you think.

911 services were down in 14 different states on September 28, 2020. The particular digest of the day with that blog post ca,me back to me asking if we can cover this on the Security Box. While I’m not sure on time as of yet, it is unknown if this is caused by security problems. I bring it up here because Krebs on Security did a good job talking about this, and I feel that this is something that if it is a security problem should be talked about. I’m unsure how 911 services work, routed, and the like, so I can’t comment on this except for the article I read.

Article list:

This blog post has my thoughts with the accompanying article from Mr. Krebs. I really have nothing more to say, please refer to the article for your information on this one.

Ransomware is still hitting the news, and more than ever. One particular article that I blogged about talked about an insurance company that was hit, but it isn’t just insurance we’ve got to worry about. More recently, I read an article and just blogged on October 4th about a potential ransomware in Las Vegas. That particular article goes so far as to talk about other school systems and their problems too. Some of this may have been talked about through the Security Box program that is broadcasted through the Independent Channel of the Mix.

Article listing:

The second blog post made me wonder, and it leads really to a questionable study that I have questions on. The third is the 2nd in the NCSAM article set, and I’m sure that I’ll have more in this set as I try to get caught up.

This week in Security News from Trend Micro covers a few items in which I have read. Some of it I have not read. It talks about a cross-platform Modular Glupteba Malware how it got its name and the like. Netflicks and Amazon accounts are susceptible by a Phishing attack according to an article and it is started by a phishing attack which targets Microsoft 365 accounts. One article that we are covering this next week on the Security box covers Identity Fraud and how to protect your identity data. I blogged specifically about this one in my first NCSAM article which was sent and digested out.

The first NCSAM article linked within this section is the one that talks about the identity theft article that was linked within the news notes article linked first. Both are worth the read, there may be items that I am unable to read or doesn’t interest me.

Find something that you found of interest as part of the Security Landscape that I do not have, or I haven’t read as of yet? Please send those links! Contact info is on the blog on the “about the blog” page. Thanks so much for reading, and make it a great day!

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The Security Box, podcast 11 for September 23, 2020

This podcast was a little shorter than usual. That’s OK, we did cover everything I wanted to cover. Its the way it goes. Here are the show notes. A link to the RSS and a link to download follow the notes.

Welcome to podcast 11 of the Security Box.


  • Ransomware is everywhere. Last week, Michael in Tennessee sent this article during the show, and I finally got a chance to read it. This time, Newhall schools are effected, and while the advice given in the article is sound, we can officially say that nothing is predictable in this strange year. ABC7 in Los Angeles gives us: Ransomware attack shuts down remote classes in Newhall which has some good points. The article talks about what is being done which includes getting ferenzic folks in there, law enforcement, and other people who may be needed to restore data. The article didn’t talk about training. Question, where is the training so people in the district know what to look for when something like this happens again? Ransomware starts with an email in most cases.
  • TikTok is back in the news, and this can’t be good news anyhow. The article Lame-duck versions of TikTok and WeChat are definitely a problem, security experts say is what we’re going to talk about, and we’ll play this CNET video: TikTok, WeChat ban explained. I didn’t know WEChat was a problem, but then again, I’ve not used that app at all. From what I’ve heard, its similar to apps for communication like Whats app, and other messaging apps. To top this all off, Michael in Tennessee recently sent me an article in regards to the TikTok Sale to Oracle. The TikTok deal solves quite literally nothing is the article, and it is quite interesting. This whole story aught to get interesting now, but suffice it to say, TikTok is saved, for now.
  • Open forum: what do you want to talk about? This is your time to shine.

News Notes and things

  • The biggest topic right now is TikTok and their very interesting developing story as it continues to unfold. Besides that, we’ve got some recent arrest news and other items in this blog post which has been cut short because of the fact I haden’t felt well. The news also covers a Chinese firm who is supposed to do antivirus work being part of apt41. This is going to be interesting.
  • For the first time to our knowledge, ransomware may have lead to a death for a critically ill patient. The attack was an apparent accident, as the actors gave the hospital the key after it was determined they made a mistake on their target. Hospitals have never really fixed their security problems, mainly because of the lack of funding. This could hurt them now that they know that someone died. Ransomware may have led to the death of a German hospital patientRansomware may have led to the death of a German hospital patient is the article that talks more about this very interesting story.

Want a copy but don’t want to go to the RSS feed? No problem! Use this link to download the file (136.2mb) It’;ll be available for week. Enjoy!

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This week in the security landscape: news ending September 12, 2020

Welcome to the news and things i’ve been reading in the landscape within the past week. I may not have read everything I’m jhighlighting, especially with Trend Micro’s stuff as of late, but it is all in passing. If there is something you want me to talk about on a podcast, please let me know. Email, imessage, text and whatsapp are all available to each and every one of you.

Purple Fox EK Relies on Cloudflare for Stability
This article really intrigued me. Relying on a cloud provider for stability is smart for a piece of softwre that is already mared as trouble. The delivery methods of this particular malware is interesting to say the least, and the read I found quite interesting.

Hartford Public Schools delay reopening amid ransomware attack
If this year hasn’t been bad enough, one school can’t even get started because they were hit with a ransomware attack.

Hartford was responsible for a lot of the research in regards to the covid-19 pandemic we continue to fight through, cup that with a glass of ransomware, and they’re having a hard time. 18,000 students in the district from pre-kindergarden through the 12th grade are needing to be notified of the delay, which I hope isn’t long.

Staffing firm hit by Ransomware, bad news for employees
If this not bad enough with the story above, my blog post talks about another ransomware I believe I’ve read about once. This ransomware is called REvil. The R is capitalized, and the first letter of Evil is capitalized and it is really bad. It did some serious damage and worth the read.

>Patch Tuesday is here, its time to update
September patch Tuesday has come and gone. Have you updated? We’ve got another month where there are over 100 patches. We approach 130 patches to be certain. This can’t be good, i fear it is only going to get worse. I link to several articles where you can read more.

Did you know there are tricky forms of phishing?
This blog post is in the form of a question for a reason. I blogged about a very interesting article talking about the different types of phishing going around now-a-days. This blog post talks about form creation tools such as Google Documents. I believe its well worth the read. The article talks about this in a light where it highlights 13 different sites which include Google. They aren’t alone for this and the article talks about the problem we now face with simple tools like this,.

The Security box, podcast 9: Typosquatting and more
Typosquatting has been known about for awhile, and as I did the podcast on a Tuesday this past week, maybe you didn’t catch the program. We link to various typosquatting articles that came out, and it looks like it will be part of the Phishing arsenal for some time now.

Chinese cyber power is neck-and-neck with US, Harvard research finds
This probably shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone. With the development of the great firewall, well before all of this hacking, China can do practically anything. China can’t be left out though, other nations like North Korea and Russia are also being noticed in this space. Thoughts on this one?

This Week in Security News: Microsoft Fixes 129 Vulnerabilities for September’s Patch Tuesday and Trend Micro’s XDR Offerings Simplify and Optimize Detection and Response
There are other things besides some of what I put here, that I may have not read from Trend Micro’s blogs. The news here talks about docker servers potentially targeting people with cryptominors, an attack called Raccoon attack that could break SSL and allow people to see what you’re doing, Linux resources having a battle for resources for Cryptominors, Zeppelin Ransomware having a new trojan on board to add to what it already offers and more.

There is more there than what I’ve highlighted and read, so feel free to bring out anything that fancies you for a podcast or two. Thanks for reading! Contact info is on the blog and podcast itself. I have Email, imessage, text messaging, whats app, and even a voice mail number and extension if you can utalize it.

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Let’s cover news on arrests, charges, and the like

Besides the Russian Hacker being found guilty for the most part in a bazarre case, we've got other pieces of news I didn't talk about but have here. I could've put that in the blog post about that, but these are other cases.  

Feds indict ‘fxmsp’ in connection with million-dollar hacking operation is a very interesting story I just almost decided not to cover it. A man was charged after hacking related crimes when an investigation in to scammers targeting more than 300 different companies. The companies are throughout the world according to the article.

Prosecutors in the Western District of Washington charged Andrey Turchin, who resides in Kazakhstan, with five felony counts in connection with a year-long
fraud effort. Last known to be in Kazakhstan, Turchin allegedly sold remote access hacking tools on cybercriminal forums, typically charging tens of thousands
of dollars for access to data that would cost victims tens of millions of dollars.

Turchin went by a series of aliases, including “fxmsp,” according to the Justice Department.

To see the full story, including links to other content, feel free to click on through.

The Satori Botnet has been around for quite awhile, and recently, an article came across my desk from Cyberscoop which is entitled New Charges, Sentencing in Satori IoT Botnet Conspiracy.

The U.S. Justice Department today charged a Canadian and a Northern Ireland man for allegedly conspiring to build botnets that enslaved hundreds of thousands
of routers and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices for use in large-scale distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks. In addition, a defendant in
the United States was sentenced today to drug treatment and 18 months community confinement for his admitted role in the botnet conspiracy.

Indictments unsealed by a federal court in Alaska today allege 20-year-old Aaron Sterritt from Larne, Northern Ireland, and 31-year-old Logan Shwydiuk
of Saskatoon, Canada conspired to build, operate and improve their IoT crime machines over several years.

Prosecutors say Sterritt, using the hacker aliases “Vamp” and “Viktor,” was the brains behind the computer code that powered several potent and increasingly
complex IoT botnet strains that became known by exotic names such as “Masuta,” “Satori,” “Okiru” and “Fbot.”

Shwydiuk, a.k.a. “Drake,” “Dingle, and “Chickenmelon,” is alleged to have taken the lead in managing sales and customer support for people who leased access
to the IoT botnets to conduct their own DDoS attacks.

Krebs On Security goes on to talk about a third man in this group that links to other things, so for complete details, please feel free to go ahead and check out this story on all of the juicy details.

Finally, a FEMA employee is charged with something as you’ll see in an article also written by Krebs on Security. FEMA IT Specialist Charged in ID Theft, Tax Refund Fraud Conspiracy is the article.

An information technology specialist at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was arrested this week on suspicion of hacking into the human resource
databases of University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) in 2014, stealing personal data on more than 65,000 UPMC employees, and selling the data on
the dark web.

On June 16, authorities in Michigan arrested 29-year-old Justin Sean Johnson in connection with a 43-count indictment on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud
and aggravated identity theft.

Federal prosecutors in Pittsburgh allege that in 2013 and 2014 Johnson hacked into the Oracle PeopleSoft databases for UPMC, a $21 billion nonprofit health
enterprise that includes more than 40 hospitals.

According to the indictment, Johnson stole employee information on all 65,000 then current and former employees, including their names, dates of birth,
Social Security numbers, and salaries.

According to the article, the suspect also made off with W2 form data that held income tax and withholding data which he sold on the dark web.

To learn more about the Federal Emergency Management Company, visit Fema on the web. The web site was searched for the URL on July 14, 2020. There may be something of interest that you can learn from the site itself.

Are you surprised that an information technology specialist is charged with this type of thing? Why or why not?

Krebs on Security also covered a very interesting story while we’re talking about arrests and other types of good news as part of this blog. Ukraine Nabs Suspect in 773M Password ‘Megabreach’ is the article from Mr. Krebs.

I’m thinking that this must the biggest breach to date dating all the way back to 2008 according to a short blog post I posted covering the schools.

In January 2019, dozens of media outlets raised the alarm about a new “megabreach” involving the release of some 773 million stolen usernames and passwords
that was breathlessly labeled “the largest collection of stolen data in history.” A subsequent review by KrebsOnSecurity quickly determined the data was
years old and merely a compilation of credentials pilfered from mostly public data breaches. Earlier today, authorities in Ukraine said they’d apprehended
a suspect in the case.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on Tuesday announced the detention of a hacker known as Sanix (a.k.a. “Sanixer“) from the Ivano-Frankivsk region
of the country. The SBU said they found on Sanix’s computer records showing he sold databases with “logins and passwords to e-mail boxes, PIN codes for
bank cards, e-wallets of cryptocurrencies, PayPal accounts, and information about computers hacked for further use in botnets and for organizing distributed
denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks.”

This is only the beginning of this one to boot.

KrebsOnSecurity is covering Sanix’s detention mainly to close the loop on an incident that received an incredible amount of international attention. But
it’s also another excuse to remind readers about the importance of good password hygiene. A core reason so many accounts get compromised is that far too
many people have the nasty habit(s) of choosing poor passwords, re-using passwords and email addresses across multiple sites, and not taking advantage
of multi-factor authentication options when available.

There are other links that may be of interest, and you may want to check out this story as well.

Found anything about arrests in the cybercrime field? Feel free to pass it along to me by sending an email my way. I look forward in hearing from you!

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This is interesting, a study of k-12 and college breaches by the numbers

In a relatively short piece I found on twitter, the number of breaches effecting school systems whether in college or k-12 schools was a very low 135 breaches totaling only 1.2 percentof all the breaches. Some of the breaches back then were possibly not reported back then. Do you know what the alarming number is this past year? 2019 was the biggest year in school systems, according to the article. 2.49 million records were taken in 2013 in one school breach alone. Want to read the alarming facts of this short read? A link to the report is also available. US K-12 and Colleges Suffered 1,300 Data Breaches in 15 Years is the article. Have fun chewing on this one!

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Netwalker strikes and the gang gets paid big

Time and time again, we see institutions and other places of work get targeted in some sort of attack. This time, one of the Universities gets hit in an attack that they then pay 1.14 million dollars to get back data that was encrypted. Backing up a large network is hard, I completely understand that. I’m wondering if it is time for businesses, schools, hospitals, and the like to invest in off site backup solutions so they can recover? I honestly wonder how much it would cost to backup a large network like a school? University of California San Francisco Pays $1 Million to Ransomware Operators after June 1 Attack is the article, and it won’t be the last.

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Investigating Zoombomber who exposed himself

We’ve covered zoom bombing before, and talked about what it was, and articles point to best practices. The Berklee Unified School District found this out first hand, when a zoombomber (its one word in writing) flashed himself in front of students, and the teacher ended the session.

This is not the first time this has been done I’m sure, and I’m sure that there will be countless articles that will describe other problems.

No solution is going to be 100 percent perfect, or as close to it as possible due to the crisis of the pendemic.

As I reported yesterday, there are now conspiracy theories and when I sent this to a radio host yesterday, he said this could not happen. The conspiracy theory is based on radio frequencies and whether it is possible to get covid 19 from it.

As I have stated, and others have, if you’re on top of the frequencies where the towers are maybe. Same with technology in the story I’m talking about here. If you use the tech, the actors will gravitate toward disrupting as much as they can whether it is the case like this, or whether it is something posted to social media like yesterday’s main story I posted.

‘Zoombomber’ flashes students; Berkeley schools pause online classes is the article I’m talking about here. Its unfortunate that we have this type of thing to deal with. We’ve got enough going on here, that the actors behind these things think its funny. I don’t!

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Alabama got hit with Ransomware, pays ransome

Hello all,

Well, the news this week deals with Alabama getting hit with Ransomware. According to this article entitled Ransomware attacks are insidious. Experts urged healthcare CIOs to invest in proactive security measures to combat the growing threat. Alabama was the target. Unfortunately, Ransomware is not going to be going away, and thats because its a great moneymaker.

I wonder how this type of thing is created to begin with? I’m not saying that I’d send it out and demand money, since my goal of the blog and podcast is to alert you all on whats out there so we can protect myself. We all need money, but we need to do it the right way.

For example, on one of the pages on the blog is a donations button I believe. But if not, thats OK. Money isn’t the object of this podcast, but if you’re interested in donation options, get in touch.

I’m confident when I reminisce about the story one of my buddies told me about one of our own in the blindness field getting targeted with Ransomware. Remember this article entitled ATPC Hit with Ransomware, Does Not Pay where I talked about a textbook case of doing it correctly? We should bring it out and show companies that a company serving the blind community did it correctly, and we should all learn.

Getting back to the article at hand, Security Now covered quite a bit of ransomware this week in their episode for this week. If that show goes in to ransomware mode, whereby they’re covering nothing but ransomware in the news, its going to be the whole entire show. This can’t be a good sign.

Here are the notations from that episode.

  • Ransomware hits schools, hospitals, and hearing aid manufacturers
  • Sodinokibi: the latest advances in Ransomware-as-a-Service
  • Win7 Extended Security Updates are extended
  • A new Nasty 0-Day RCE in vBulletin
  • There’s a new WannaCry in town

As you can see, there are lots of things going on here, and its not going to go away any time soon. The fact that the main topic of this blog is ta;lking about the Alabama case, there is a lot more happening that we should be learning about too, and thats why I find the story of value. This is going to get very interesting.

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Are your kids being safe on social media? A school district is teaching the dos and don’ts of social media

This is a very welcome story that I saw on Twitter thanks to the account EChatter. Parkway schools educate parents on social media engagement talks about how the school hosted a workshop on social media. This is a definite welcome sign. We need to teach about the dos and don’ts of social media. For example, I don’t share much location data. I don’t threaten anyone on social media. The scholl district is proposing anywhere from a 30 day suspension to a year, depending on the nature of the offense. I’m definitely wanting to share this article, in hopes that we can educate. Great job, keep up the great work!

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the interesting net thing

Hi all.
Well, as I sip my morning coffee I began as usual with my daily digest of my news feed.
There was an opinion piece about the net, and how with the introduction of the iphone and other smart devices that others could use it and not just those that knew how.
And that this opening of the net opened it up to the world and all the worlds problems.
I must admit, that I guess with all the net mirroring the real world we will get real world issues on the net.
Big companies springing up all over the show, social networking driving the world, and all that.
We have big companies like google and amazon pulling our data for who knows, data is the new currency.
I guess it could be all doom and gloom, but who knows.
Right now the net mirrors the real world.
There are 2 differences between the real world and the net though.
No need to breathe, sleep, or eat.
You can be anything or anyone, and can do whatever you want almost.
A lot of the laws that would usually bind us to the real world offline either don’t apply or have not been written yet.
A big issue with the net is when you translate a borderless world to the physical one it gets a bit complex.
I must say back in 1995-6, the net for me was an interesting place.
You did email, a few sound downloads, maybe some music but still mucked round with software on cds.
No blogs, no social net, no game adiction as such.
The computer was something you used for whatever but it wasn’t your life.
I used to run programs to get music, in fact I had to download something and was asked to install a program for advertising, I did, and every day for a month I got emails and other popups asking me to listen and rate music.
At the end of that month I got a mail to put my name and address in a form, and would be sent a cd of music.
I did, and I have the cd and well it wasn’t exactly the music I wanted but it was interesting.
Several other adds and give aways graced my system till 2003 or so and things just rocked.
Now days its to dangerous to run x file and view the funny flash video, or run that attachment from your friends, or put your address and name into a servey link from your website or a random site and expect things.
We have spam, malware, unwanted software and ransomware to be concerned about now.
The net back then was simple and well it just was.
I know that a lot of negative opinion exists on the net, but there are good things to.
Colaberation and inclusiveness to some extent still exists.
With the cloud, there is free email anywhere, shopping, and well you can find and get almost everything.
Of course, there are the issues to.
Ie your shops know what you buy and can use it for advertising.
Thing is, suppose you don’t mind and or are happy with it being so.
No one has asked the questions on that.
In my supermarket, my supermarket knows when I swipe my club card what I got and what I may want in the future.
So do my online stores.
Yeah that can encourage impulsive buying, but you don’t need everything and once you know x store sells x thing then you can note it down for later.
There are lots of good things about the net, the same as in the real world, and just like the real world there is a lot of bad things to.
Of course, one thing to note is that what we call the net, isn’t the entire net.
There is the dark net where all the bad people are and other things, but who knows.
Point is with all these so called bad guys and stuff about, there are seedy bits of the world same with the net.
The net we can se isn’t the entire net, and we may not see the entire net just a bit of it the bit we want.
There are of course a few things we will have to come to grips, and its not the big data and companies.
Our devices are our friends, but if anyone has watched the matrix, they are dangerous.
There is almost no need to leave.
We use our devices wrecklessly.
Look at the articles in this blog about kids and adults overusing their devices.
Studdies say looking at and using devices constantly is changing our brains, our eyes, and our minds and not all of them good.
I have been there, working late into the afternoon playing something online only to realise that if I don’t actually get sort of ready for the night time when my care person comes its going to be a bit embarassing to still be in pjs and not excercised, or anything.
But at least I could get out and eventually did.
There are people that are stuck online, died online, etc.
I have noticed people walking on the beach, smoking, and using a device at the same time.
I have to tell my family off for using their devices at social gatherings, at dinner or at functions and not talking to us.
My latest one came just before I was doing the comment on articles 2 weeks back.
I was doing one of my 3 walks I do each week with friends and was sitting down with my japanese pork don bury lunch.
Well there was this family.
The mother was sitting down using her device, the dad was to and the kid.
To shut the kid up they got him to play a game, the game was at full volume and the guy was just using the device and not looking round him.
There are banns of devices in schools and the like now.
To be honest, eventually if we handle ourselves right it will all pan out ok.
However, the net is everywhere and thats good and bad.
That out the way though, we actually need some rules for the net.
As I said, babies and yung children except in certain situations, education maybe, shouldn’t be on the net, certainly not social networks.
Teenagers well who knows.
Right now if you are born online you will never leave.
When I was 20 years old, I struggled to leave.
My family were mostly offline, my grandparents not having even heard of the net and I made myself normalise to an extent.
I had been outside, but I did feel the pull of the net.
Always sunny, and no issues anywhere.
Now days I have found my own niche.
While I do read twitter posts I don’t use facebook or twitter, just wordpress.
I email, but don’t skype much, I use bt sync for some stuff and dropbox for some stuff.
I have a reasonable workstation and the like.
I still use external storage and cds.
I know people that don’t but I still like the feel of hard plastic the same as I like the latest digitals.
And I don’t see myself changing any time soon.
I don’t care for subscriptions and only watch local tv but thats changing so who knows.

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Serial SWATter Tyler “SWAuTistic” Barriss Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter

This was posted on the 15th from Krebs oon Security, and I saw it on the 17th. The article is entitled Serial SWATter Tyler “SWAuTistic” Barriss Charged with Involuntary Manslaughter. I just had a hunch that his comments in Serial Swatter “SWAuTistic” Bragged He Hit 100 Schools, 10 Homes which was posted on Krebs on the 2nd of January would come and bite him. He said that bombing would be better than the full swat. The book has been thrown at this guy with invluntary manslaughter.

“Involuntary manslaughter usually refers to an unintentional killing that results from recklessness or criminal negligence, or from an unlawful act that
is a misdemeanor or low-level felony (such as a DUI).”


I blieve but don’t remember correctly at the moment, but the article mentions an 11 year sentence if convicted. Wonder if this guy had any idea he was going to get caught? Technology companies that provide services to spoof your number are compeled to comply with an order for information, especially when someone gets hurt, or in this case, accidentally killed.

This guy will join the ranks of the people who think they can’t get caught. They think they won’t get caught.

I hope you’ve got some time to think about this one, and may you learn a lesson about human life and what it means to be one.

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Tech podcast 268 is now up

Tech podcast 268 is now up. As promised, all of last year’s program is removed except for the December podcasts, and I hope to get more podcasts out this year. Find below the podcast show notes. Go to our RSS feed for the show notes and download or stay here to read the show notes.

Welcome to podcast number 268 for January 15, 2018. On this edition of the program, I talk about a cautionary tale of giving out personal information which I heard on a telephone line where someone gave out the address in which they live. Question: what might happen if you do this? I’ll leave it right there. Next, the Kansas swatting incident. Krebs posted two articles which I posted to the blog, and I’ll repost them here. Kansas Man Killed In ‘SWATting’ Attack is the first article and Serial Swatter “SWAuTistic” Bragged He Hit 100 Schools, 10 Homes is the second. Can this get any worse? Next, I talk about my thoughts on what we might see in the new year and beyond in the security landscape. Finally, we listen to a video in regards to spector and meltdown. Please feel free to contact me at any time, and contact info is at the end of the program.

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Swatting, is this a big problem?E

Hi all,

I want to go more in depth with the following, but would like to post this for now. There are two articles through Krebs on Security, and even the news has covered this. First article is Kansas Man Killed In ‘SWATting’ Attack and the second is <a href=”Serial Swatter “SWAuTistic” Bragged He Hit 100 Schools, 10 Homes. I’m a little surprised that this type of activity is still going on today, especially with all of what is happening with the big time breaches.

KNX even mentioned this in a news story through a segment during the 1 PM PT hour in a segment called More In Depth. Suspect In Fatal Swatting Hoax Appears In LA Court, Will Not Fight Extradition so this means he’ll go to Kansas to be charged with murder or another crime depending on what they want to do.

Swatting is not normal, and I mixed up my words this evening talking to someone that lives here, and I am not going to mix it up for the article. Here is what Wikipedia says about Swatting. In the KNX report I heard this afternoon during the news segment I told you about above, the gentleman involved had a way to have his number look like he was in the state. Then he called someone and reported the incident. This whole thing started in an online forum, and another gentleman was giving the one who did it the wrong adress. The gentleman who did this feels bad a guy died, and said he’d rather do bomb threats instead of direct swatting.

Krebs on Security did a great job covering this in both stories I’ve linked above.

The KNX segment was also interesting, the news anchor asked what can be done. The guy interviewed did say that this was tricky, because you don’t nbecessarily call 911, they just call the emergency number and use a service to make it look like you’re in the state. Here are my thoughts.

First, get the telephone number of the caller. I’m not sure what number this guy gave, but when getting the number, call the number back if possible. The reason for the number being called back is simple. If someone other than the original caller answers, you know there is nothing up. In a real emergency, you’d be able to hear something going on. With the callback method in a non-emergency situation, you have time to figure out if this is real or fake. Seeing that the caller gave a number in the area, and not his own, you’d either get a disconnected number or you’d get someone else.

If the gentleman called 911 from a state bound number, than you can’t call back, you’d have your tools handy to tell where the call was coming from. You could use that data, and background noise, to determine if something was going on. If there was a hostage situation, you definitely in my opinion not be calm like the reports indicate.

Always make sure that the information you are given is correct. I’m sure emergency services already does this, but it isn’t a bad idea to say so here.

Do you, the reader, have any thoughts on this? Do report your thoughts.

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ATPC hit with Ransomware, does not pay demand

On February 15, 2017: a company called ATPC (the Alternate Text Production Center) was hit with a ransomware strain. The E-mail that was sent to me indicated multiple things that I would like to highlight in this ever important effort on continuing education on the epidemic.

  • First, they had backups of everything that was currently set to be produced. While clients uploaded files through a protocol called FTP, the company did have a policy in place about this access they needed to change after this epidemic.
  • Next, the notice was very straight forward in what happened, steps they took to mitigate the attack, and what they were doing to make sure that it didn’t impact them like this again.

Here is a baseline of what they said.

  • The FTP server had files up there, and the policy indicated that it was for short term storage. These files are small, even though they were books to be sent in braille or electronically to customers.
  • They made sure all files were backed up in multiple locations so if a file they needed to send either in braille or electronically was infected, they had clean copies. This was the most important step in this process. If you have read Most Companies Still Willing To Pay Ransom To Recover Data, Survey Shows you will know that most companies have no choice. Just look at this LAVC update that I posted after my first post on that which asks Are schools next in the cyber race? I really think this step was important.
  • They sent out a notice to their customers. This is very important as you want them to know that you know about the issue, and what you’re doing about it. They don’t want to find out after the fact. LAVC called and E-mailed us, and even braught in experts which advised they should pay. LAVC is a lot larger than ATPC, but ATPC notified their customers and prevented that whole mess.

The points I’ve made and links to the articles should highlight that ATPC has done the right thing, and they are a small business. I don’t think there is any other way of doing this without having to pay like LAVC did, and that took out their Internet and phone systems. While a few files were lost, they were easily retrieved elsewhere. This is a perfect case of something that went wrong, and the perfect solution to a very complex systematic problem of keeping us safe.

Each ransomware case is different, but hopefully, we can learn from this textbook case. Thoughts? Get in touch.

More information: Alternate Text Production Center

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Extortionists Wipe Thousands of Databases, Victims Who Pay Up Get Stiffed

Hello folks,

I just read today an interesting article entitled: Extortionists Wipe Thousands of Databases, Victims Who Pay Up Get Stiffed and this caught my attention because of the fact that these databases may have been used for something. I’m not too familiar with Mongo DB, but It think it may be similar to what SQL databases do for software like WordPress which is used for blogs like mine. I did get E-mailed that the blog was auto updated, and I do like that feature when its available. I wish it would just upgrade like that all the time, but major releases we must do. I do my best to keep my softare on my site up to date, and I think it is a good idea we do this. Even the plug ins we use must be updated to fix holes.

This goes back to what I have said in my last post about Windows and Shaun’s opinions that indicate that it is the same old shit and it is. Sadly, the reason why the podcast had not been updated much in 2015 was because this is all we saw. Sadly, realizing that this is a never ending battle, we must push on and talk about our experiences where applicable when a breach occurs.

This is why I started blogging when I’ve gotten notified abvout a breach like the Yahoo! breach and of course the first potential situation of Ransomware where I attended a shchool with these two posts. I even gave my thoughts on tech and politics to top it off.

I think that sharing information and talking about our experiences are good and in no way am I bashing this post dealing with the ongoing patch tuesday.

I feel like sharing articles and opinions like the main title of the post will highlight and put out good things, and may help people find things they may be interested in. If you’ve used Mongo DB, I’d love to learn more about it, as I am not too familiar with it, so seeing this was facinating. Thoughts?

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