Tag Archives: cybersecurity

Phishing Alert – FBI Offering Millions

Just a quick reminder to keep yourself safe in your email. Some of the phishing scams are incredibly good – they imitate the actual emails that a bank or company will send with the same icons and layout. It’s usually the email address and URL they’re trying to redirect you to that gives it away.

Remember, don’t just check URL’s in your email before clicking them. Don’t click them at all, instead if you’re concerned go to the site by typing in it’s name, like mybank.com rather than clicking a link. That way you’ll be safe even from the really good fakes.

Also watch out for scams that are just too ridiculous. They come in email, text messages, and voice mails. I constantly get warnings from the “IRS” that marshals are one the way. How do people think that’s accurate? I mean you can hate the IRS but that’s still not how they operate. And why do you think they’d come after you? I guess if you haven’t actually paid your taxes maybe it’s easier to get fooled by this. I had fun the other day when I was bored and answered one of these calls. Then I told the person I was onto their scam, and calling the police, and marshals were indeed on the way, but to them, not me. They hung up quickly. A waste of my time, I know, but I enjoyed it anyway.

Finally, watch out for the get rich quick scams – there is no simple thing for you to invest in that industry is trying to hide but you’re going to make a fortune. Add to this the foreign money laundering schemes, Nigerian prince emails, rich dead uncles, and the like. Let me make it simple – there is no one out there who’s just waiting to hand you millions of dollars, or even thousands, or even hundreds. Delete the email/text/voicemail and just move on.

For your entertainment, here’s an email I got today, purportedly from the director of the FBI, who somehow knows my email address but not my name. He’s reminding me that I have $10 million due to me and he’s thoroughly checked it out and for sure it’s legit! Note the ridiculous email address they refer to, and it came from andrewmcjr.fbioffice2017@nac.net because somehow the director didn’t get an official work email address. Poor guy – guess they’re really struggling these days.

phishing-fbi-citibank-2017-10

As an exercise, here’s a few of the things that are wrong with this email:

  • The “From:” email address clearly is not the FBI
  • addressed to “dear beneficiary” – they don’t know my name
  • The director of the FBI isn’t sending me any email – not happening
  • Citibank supposed email address – again not a Citibank email domain
  • FBI supposed address at the bottom – still not official FBI.gov domain, and different from the sender email, even though the email warns me explicitly to not trust such things
  • Why do I think this is my money?

Stay safe out there – phishing schemes and identity theft are rampant. By the way, if you need to report a scam to the FBI here’s the FBI E-scams and safety page.

== RESOURCES ==

Hardening Your Software Webinar

I’ve long been an advocate for turning software development into software engineering. By this I mean that we need to start following known best practices and using the tools and processes that have been proven to help produce better code. It’s amazing how software developers often ignore standard things that everyone knows makes for better code.

As an effort to promote understanding I’m doing a two-part webinar series with Parasoft on this topic this Thursday the 22nd and next Thursday the 29th. Come join us and learn how getting back to the basics is a great way to harden your software and improve security, safety, and reliability.

Overview

The best way to fundamentally improve software is simply to get back to software engineering fundamentals. But reaping benefits from these fundamentals (such as static code analysis, runtime analysis, and unit testing) requires using these practices effectively, and ineffective practices persist at organizations around the world: unit test suites that are noisy are often ignored and hide real issues that will happen after deployment; static analysis that focuses on simple bug-finding instead of real defect-prevention represents a real missed opportunity and forces us to react to software issues rather than take a proactive stance.

In this two-part webinar series, we’ll go into detail on how to reap maximum benefits from fundamental software development practices, showing you how to use them effectively by leveraging Parasoft’s automated testing tools.

In the first session, we’ll concentrate on process, setup, and configuration, to provide you with actionable takeaways around:

  • How to harden your code with static code analysis to increase safety and prevent cyber attacks, including which coding standards are the best place to start
  • How to add runtime error detection to your testing process to find bugs early and avoid reliability issues in the field
  • How unit test automation reduces your effort of creating and maintaining test suites

In the second session, we’ll show you how to integrate automated testing tools into your existing software development process. You will learn how these tools can run as part of continuous integration, inside your favorite development environment. We’ll focus on:

  • How to create tests more quickly for C, C++, Java, and .NET by building on ready-made frameworks
  • How to win at continuous testing by leveraging automation and analysis
  • How to streamline compliance efforts that are normally tedious, with efficiency provided by static code analysis and unit testing

Join us June 22nd and June 29th to see for yourself how easy the fundamentals can be, and how they can help you perfect your software.

Top 10 Ways to Spot a Cybersecurity Expert

When you’re looking for a cybersecurity expert it’s important to be able to spot who knows what they’re doing and who doesn’t. Well in this case the title of the post is a bit of click-bait. Got you, didn’t I? This is really how to spot someone who is NOT a cybersecurity expert. Probably I should have titled it Ten Ways to Spot a Cybersecurity Fake. Let’s take a serious topic and have a bit of fun at the same time. Here’s the list.

#10 – Mobile phone is more than a year old
You just can’t push updates to old phones. Unfortunately this is as true for security patches as it is for bug fixes. If you want to be secure you’ve got to keep it patched, and to keep it patched you’ve got to have current hardware. In the smartphone world, this means your phone is less than 12 months old. An “expert” who carries a crappy phone isn’t paranoid secure enough for me.
#9 – Still carrying a Blackberry
The internet age moves fast and you have to keep up. Blackberry is a bit of a dinosaur and you’re just not getting all the latest that you get from more agile vendors. Avoid dinosaurs when looking for technical help, they simply won’t be aware of the latest threats and rely on outdated models of security.
#8 – Wears a suit
In the IT industry nothing says sales rep like a suit does. Now this person might understand the need and value of enhanced cybersecurity, but they don’t know what you really need to do. If they’re not a sales rep, then they’re probably just a dinosaur, because tech people don’t wear suits anymore. See above.
#7 – Wears a tie
Do I really have to explain? Have you ever met someone who really got cybersecurity who was wearing a tie? See above. (Sorry Kevin – you’re the exception. You rock the cravat.)
#6 – Uses open wifi
Any security professional worth their salt is deathly afraid of open wifi. It doesn’t matter if it’s a hotel, a coffee shop, or an airport. Cyberpeople carry their own internet in their pocket.
#5 – Never uses cash
Between the Target hack and ATM skimmers at the gas pump, a healthy dose of paranoia when it comes to credit cards is a good idea. I’ve gone back to using cash a lot more than I used to and you should too.
#4 – Thinks eight characters is enough for a password
Seriously, rainbow tables people. If your password is leaked in a data breach it can take as little as a couple of milliseconds to crack an 8 character password. If they don’t know this, then their knowledge is years out-of-date.
#3 – Thinks funny characters you wont’t remember are good for passwords
I’m sorry but *#*%^)-} isn’t a great password. You will never be able to remember it, you’ll write it down and anyway it’s in a rainbow table so it’s not much better than 12345. You’re better off which an unbelievably long password you can remember that has a few funny tweaks than 8 pieces of gibberish.
#2 – Doesn’t wear glasses
Anyone spending their life on a computer has killed their eyes. If they’re not spending their life on the computer, they’re not passionate enough. You want someone who prefers the internet to real life. To paraphrase OrwellFour eyes good, two eyes bad
#1 – Doesn’t use the command line
Everyone with a hacker mentality uses the command line, regardless of operating system. Anyone without a hacker mentality isn’t qualified to be working in cybersecurity.

I warned you up front we were going to have some fun with this, and hopefully you did. But in reality some of these tips will help you vet your cybersecurity expert. Even just tossing some of the terms above at them to see how they respond may tell you something. If they use a term you don’t know make them explain it – if they can’t explain it they probably don’t understand it very well.

If you don’t know enough to tell a real expert from a fake, get help from someone you can trust, and stay safe out there!

IoT Hall-of-Shame Facebook Page

Greetings and Happy New Year. It’s early in the month and we’ve already had our first reported IoT Hall-of-Shame entry, as you know if you follow that page or my twitter @codecurmudgeon. For those who live inside Facebook I’ve decided to make your life easier by adding a Facebook page for the Internet-of-Things IoT Hall-of-Shame as well. That way you can just follow it and it will show up in your Facebook feed.

“Things” are being hacked at a furious pace – some even call it the “Internet of Evil Things”. It’s amazing how often I find out about a new hack every single day. Is your TV going to spy on you? Is it easy to hack your phone? Is the stoplight on your corner vulnerable? Keep up to date on what’s happening.

Go check it out, like the page, follow it for the latest IoT Hall-of-Shame updates, and tell your friends. And when you hear about any IoT devices getting hacked please let me know!