Posted on

Cyber Security of Weaponized Media in a Socially Engineered World

cropped-cropped-cropped-cybertalkbanner-e1508906208519.jpg

I.     Introduction

The world is seeing an ongoing multi-faceted cyber attack(s) (social engineering) that uses weaponized fake media, digital false flags and other digitally obfuscated materials. These attacks stem from nation states, paid hacker cartels and mercenary hackers globally. These cyber security attacks utilize social engineering, weaponized media and fake media. We have been studying these socially engineered attacks since 2009, and have created unique responses to them.

II.    Main body

The Green Revolution of 2009 in Iran marked the first known use of weaponized social media. The Government of Iran utilized Twitter to get western citizens to spread their propaganda.

Fast forward to 2016, where USA itself was attacked through long term, dedicated weaponized media cyber assault on our democracy; and government alike by Russia and its agents. This attack continues with multi-faceted usage of fake media, bots, fake social media and malware laden content on these sites.

The final outcome is still under investigation, but it is seen as a major win for Russia intelligence groups, and a major loss for the USA.

In the 2016 attack on the USA, innocent citizens were co-opted to spread weaponized media that had either been previously illegally exfiltrated or was fake to begin with.

Some might say this is a soft attack, not vitally important as a hard cyber attack on a network, grid or infrastructure, that is simply not true.

In fact, these attacks are proving to be just as lethal as more traditional cyber attacks. Socially engineered attacks often mask other types of attacks as well – like DDoS, MiTM and malware/wipeware.

However, socially engineered attacks now account for more than 50% of the beginnings of all cyber security intrusions and breaches.

                                                                              III.   Conclusions/future steps

How does USA protect itself from such asymmetrical attacks in future?

With explosion of IoT Devices has come a parallel explosion of attack surface areas, many of which are simply not protected.

With the explosion of social media platforms and content being shared has come a parallel explosion of attack surface areas, most of which are not secured or protected. But many social media users operate under a belief that they are fine because “the big companies are protecting us.”

This is a false belief, and users, both government and individual need to take drastic steps to protect these accounts and platforms.

Should the USA Government sponsor Human/digital trainings to help protect and defend against socially engineered attacks?

How do regular people tell difference between real media/faked media? How do leaders weed out bots, automated accounts from real?

What steps can USA take today; tomorrow to prevent ongoing and future socially engineered cyber attacks?

 

 

Based on proprietary research at www.digijaks.com and through extensive work with clients who are dealing with and or have dealt with such attacks.

Posted on

Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg Interviewed by Associated Press about HBO Hack

 

2 Cyber security expert says HBO hack is huge (2)

See the video below.

Posted on

Digijaks CEO Speech at US Army CyberTalks NYC

 

Posted on

Global Cyber Security On Earth + in Space

Networx

**Excerpt from a talk by Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg at the 2016 GEOINT Symposium.**

When you think of Cyber Security you probably think about your iphone getting hacked, or your email, or your companies servers, or your credit card, or bank card or health care, or banking, or government information plus so many others…

But did you ever stop to think about how a huge chunk of all the data populating all those things actually gets there? Not in the sense of how Google asks prospective employees to describe how the internet works. But close. Think Space.

Satellites are massive growth industry, for both government and business alike. We have scaled globally from a situation 20 years ago where only a handful of countries could afford to mount in orbit operations on even one satellite.

Now there are literally thousands of satellites in space with more and more getting launched into either permanent or semi permanent orbits — along with resulting real space junk and debris following closely along.

There is a correlation of increased launches with smaller launch packages, increasingly smaller and lighter satellite platforms and lower cost; with massive increased consumption and transport of data in both up and down link; and other bands.

All of this has led to a reset of the cyber security needs surrounding ground stations, launch facilities, terrestrial platforms, satellites, rockets, and of course the data. There are multiple types of data flowing into the typical modern communications satellite. Up-link, down-link controls and management software, then data payloads of voice, video, data, etc + then often reversed in direction again. Add to this the security levels, the control levels and maintenance levels — and there is a digital river of information coming in and out of every satellite, ground station and in between.

This is one of the major targets for global cyber war efforts by governments as well as cartel hacker groups and other groups seeking only power and information to then bring money.

One of the key weakpoints is the people on the ground and their BYOD (Bring your own device) methods + practices – whether sanctioned or not.

Along the same lines is the social engineering side of hacking and cyber war and how people’s pictures, social media posts, location tags, and other digital exhausts can be combined in a detailed matrix for an attacker to figure out organizational patterns, phrases, colloquialisms and other ways to use psychology against us.

Another key weakpoint is that many of the cyber security protocols designed for this global data transfer every milli-second is that they are simply outdated and not up to the task of modern efforts to hack and crack this technology and its safeguards and firewalls.

Follow my remarks in a few more weeks to hear more on the very real risks being posed by the explosion in satellites and data flowing between Earth and Space. Indeed, Global Cyber Security is on Earth + Space.

 

Posted on

#panamapapers + Reputation Control + Cyber Security

Reputation Control and Reputation Management
Cyber Security, Social Media, You.

The Panama Papers as released this past week are a really huge data dump, in fact one much larger in scale than that of Wikileaks, and the largest to date in history.

The project that resulted in this massive public disclosure, was essentially a cyber security lapse leading to a breach.  Following the breach, data exfiltration was executed through leveraging a long known critical failure in the operating system and email servers that were used by the law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

Not only are the Panama Papers a stunning example of a hack that resulted in massive  data exfiltration; thus consequently leading to a global reputation breach. But they are also representative of a slow to change cyber security environment in law firms, corporations and organizations globally.

Drupal, a widely used language for databases and other programs has been constantly been providing critical updates since it’s inception. Users of Drupal have to make the choice to keep their systems up to date, or as in this case, not.

The utter lack of cyber security protocols like updating a server, or dealing with over 25 issued critical updates to the operating system/servers bring to mind other major hacks like the Target Corporation hack where 60,000 alerts were ignored by corporate IT staff. This is the opposite of what cyber security protocols would dictate.

Law firm IT staff need to be amongst the first to adopt these basics; but often times are not, and many international law firms have mediocre to poor network security. In that area, the Panama Papers could be any law firm, anywhere. The reputation loss suffered by the cyber security lapse and breach could be any law firm’s clients, anywhere.

Digijaks has been working with clients for years to address the undeniable link between cyber security and reputation control. The Panama Papers simply serve as one more reason why these issues are so connected and so important to both people and organizations.

 

Posted on

Cybersecurity Dilemna -A Conundrum-

Reputation Control and Reputation Management

 

co·nun·drum
kəˈnəndrəm/
noun
noun: conundrum; plural noun: conundrums

a confusing and difficult problem or question.
“one of the most difficult conundrums for the experts”

This is the conundrum of the digital age.

One one hand executives of a company will be the first to state they think their systems are secure, and if there are any problems they are small.

or

Maybe they think their information, data and business relationships are not important to hackers because, “too small”, “not on radar screen”, or “we have nothing worth taking.”

But both of these are clearly conundrums:

  • The first is pretty basic, if you think you are secure but have not brought in outsiders to test your systems and people and facilities, then how do you know?
  • The second is also pretty basic, if you think you have nothing to lose, then you might not take stringent security steps necessary, thus making your organization ever more vulnerable.

But- and this is actually more like a because — Organizations have to think and act pro-actively when it comes to cyber security and privacy. True for people too. If you think you have no cyber weaknesses than you do. If you think you have nothing to lose, than you do. If you think no one is interested in your organization because it is too small or not on the radar screen, than you are wrong, and they are.

Now is actually the time to assess your organization’s situation, and that of your people too. Do it now before you get hacked or breached. Because you will get hacked or breached. Be prepared. Don’t be caught behind a truck that just ran over your business and people.

My company Digijaks sees a lot of these types of issues with clients. Preventive medicine works, in healthcare and cyber security. Both need daily hygiene and maintenance and both also need updates, checkins and repair work too.

Posted on

Reputation Cyber Security of IoT.

Ah, the Internet of Things.

Just the sound of it sends thrills, chills and huge question marks through both technologists and regular people alike.

Just think, you can already do the following:

  • Track your health.
  • Track your kids.
  • Track your home.
  • Talk to your fridge.
  • Talk to your car.
  • Have your fridge, oven, and tv connected to your smartphone, not to mention the video doorbell.

I could go on with this list. But why bother?

The Internet of Things, or IOT as it is called in the media, by analysts and techies alike is an amorphous concept and does not easily translate into everyday speak for the average person.

There are cybersecurity concerns with the overlapping inter-connectedness that are growing exponentially by the month; as more and more devices come on line, get connected to the Internet. Many if not most have little to zero security protocols built in.

There is no current “IOT cybersecurity standard” or anything close. As a result, the apps and tools that seemingly make your life so easy, are in most probability leaking, if not pouring personal information about you or your family onto the internet in ways you may or may not be aware of.

There are reputation control and reputation management issues arising from both the above mentioned inter-connectedness as well as from some basic common sense things that come from having devices connected to the Internet and talking to “home” or each other in ways that also reveal identity, location and other personal information. Some of these IOT apps and tools even tweet or post other social updates for you as reminders, alerts and other pushed out information into public or semi public arenas.

So ask yourself 5 Major IOT for Reputation Questions:

  1. Does everything have to be connected to everything and what happens with a point of failure or with multiple points?
  2. Even if you want to track your whole life, does it need tracking?
  3. Does the good of the device in your life outweigh the bad of the cybersecurity or reputation risks?
  4. Do your kids’ need this tracking on them and beyond knowing where they are, do you want your kids’ information in companies with weak or zero cybersecurity protections?
  5. Do you want your kids’ information broadcast out to the Internet because of auto update or bot tweeting something?
Posted on

Global Cybersecurity + Venture Capital

We live in a hyper-connected world that brings the globe to you; and you and your family to the globe at equally fast speeds. While on one hand, any one of us can access the internet, through any number of tools, platforms, technology and software and almost any combination too. But on the other hand the internet can and does access us, and all of our information, every minute of every day. Probably more than you and your family access the internet.

One thing that is growing in need and in reality is the international and cross cultural aspects of Cybersecurity. For example, businesses and governments alike in the US and in Israel face similar challenges within similar robust telecom and economic environments. 15 years ago the idea of US and Israeli Cybersecurity companies working together seemed remote or exotic. Speak to anyone in Cybersecurity, and it won’t take long for the Israeli Cybersecurity community to come up. True for Venture Capital in Israel too.

Dr. Orit Mossinson, a Venture Capitalist + founder of Dalai VC – A VC firm that specializes in Cybersecurity – had this to say: “Bringing Israeli Cybersecurity companies through capitalization to becoming the leading edge of how to combat cyberwar efforts, is just beginning. Over the next few years there is going to be massive growth in this unique space.”

My company Digijaks is constantly working with businesses and governments on Cybersecurity. What applies to big business or governments applies to people and families mostly too. That is true in the USA, Israel, UK, Canada, Japan, Singapore, etc,  or any nation considered 1st world with full internet access.

Within as long as it takes to blink an eye, you or your family can get caught up in a Cybersecurity breach leading to a Reputation and search breach. It does not take much, and is not the sole domain of big companies being targeted. Ask yourself, do you have wifi? Is it secure? Do you have devices? Run a business? Pay taxes? Do Online Banking? Any of the above could be the entry into your life by a hacker.

This might sound hard to believe in the era of downloadable feature films in a few seconds and the huge amounts of data coming “down” the “pipes” to our devices. But for every bit of data coming in; we are pouring it right back through apps, games, web browsing, file uploading, liking, tweeting, sharing, and videos and not to mention the IoT — as in your tweeting fridge and internet sharing toaster. Don’t even get started on the lack of cybersecurity for IoT globally. Because there is none. Or very little of note.

There just is not any in most of those devices or apps yet. Don’t kid yourself or mistakenly think you or your families are not being monitored and watched through the IoT. The more devices you have connected, the scale of magnitude of potential monitoring and watching is exponential.

Several years ago the digital exhaust of the average first world person with access to the internet was less than 1000 data points per person roughly. Now scale upwards and it is closer to 20,000 data points per person in their digital exhaust. How many companies are tracking these, and or reselling them to other groups? How many governments? How many hacking groups? Extortionists? Kidnappers? Digital Money Robbers?

When we get invited to address groups about Cybersecurity, they always want to know about their specific devices. Is this safe? Is that dangerous? Cybersecurity is one part hardened data, encrypted data and secure data transport. It is also one part human. Increasingly so, with socially engineered attacks such as phishing and drive by malware hosted on social media or in apps. The human element is about training employees, about families working with each other to be private and safe online and is about the fact that humans will and can get tricked by their own emotions and desires. This is what makes social engineered attacks so pernicious.

They are not about weak data points or lack of encryption. They are about our human frailty and how it gets exploited by digital tormenters.

Think about it. What if a Stuxnet-like custom designed cyber war tool; were to take out all the SCADA devices in a particular city? Or take out a particular industry like oil and gas or electrical generation; or at 50 hospitals at once? The problem is every unsecured SCADA device is also listed in multiple places to be publicly found on the internet, not even the dark web. 7 million + devices, terminals, industrial control centers, power plants, factories, utility grids and transportation and information networks are to be found just by searching.

Bring the best of the best together and create new environments in which they can work together to stop a global scourge of cybersecurity breaches and the resultant reputation and search breaches that follow every attack.  True in the USA and true in Israel. The world is looking at the very beginnings of a 3rd World War. This one is invisible mostly, harms people in real life sometimes, yet is being conducted by numerous countries, companies, and criminals all at once against each other. Now is the time to start combining the best of the best and the brightest.

Posted on

Emergency Social Media and You in Crisis

Many people must feel the 2015 holiday break could not have arrived soon enough what with terrorism, crazy weather and other events that get covered rightly or wrongly in social media. While these can be scary and confusing times, they can also be times to educate, learn and help one another to understand a new reality we are all living in now.

There are specific tactics and strategies for understanding how live events unfold in social media and these can be instructive to the general public about what you are seeing and when, during events like these past weeks that we have all experienced. Real life events almost always flow to the internet in a micro second. Knowing how to tell the difference between truth and fiction could be critical to saving your own life of that of your family in a real life emergency that is also happening on social media.

So below are general truths about live events that unfold in a digital realm and in real life.

General Truths:

  • In any emergency in the digital age, there are three things that happen. The first is the incident itself. The second is the round of rumors, untruths and outright lies that get spread at the speed of email, phones, sms and of course social media. The third is the round of truth, where all the earlier rumors, untruths and outright lies now have to be dispelled.
  • The fear factor is something we all face. Some deal with it better than others. This fear factor only gets enhanced by constant updates, notifications and of course, people checking social media non stop during emergencies/crisis/terrorist attacks.
  • Truth and Veracity in information sharing, whether in person, on the phone, through email and on social media are paramount in times like this. Do not be the one spreading false or unverified rumors. Do not be the one sharing non-verified *news*. These actions can cause panic, can cause a response from authorities in the wrong place and more importantly can add to the sense of fear that already exists in events like these.
  • As members of a community it is extra important for us to not be sharing false information, to be extra calm and careful with facts and to have vigilance with the news and information; and especially that our kids are getting access to. Help them. Make sure they are both understanding the facts, and not mis-truths; and that they are not responsible for sending or sharing false information.
  • Even the media can rush to judgement in a situation like this and often times reporters will start referencing tweets and other social media. Many times the sourced social media is not a verified source, so even the news media will get it wrong in these situations. So it is up to you to take the extra couple of minutes to *verify* information, especially any information being provided to your kids or others’ kids.
  • Just because you heard/saw/read something *DOES* not make it a fact, especially in a crisis situation. DO NOT JUST SHARE ANY RUMOR OR ANY STORY. CHECK. INVESTIGATE. THIS IS FOR THE SAFETY OF YOUR FAMILY AND THE COMMUNITY.
  • Be aware that your kids may be getting wrong information/scary information from the internet, from social media, from the chats in games and from their friends. Work with your kids to understand the importance of getting to the facts, and not sharing what could be dangerous information. Same is true for the adults in your lives. Social media during emergencies can make normally calm people get very nervous and then they spread that nervousness by posting wrong or misinformed information in their zeal to make themselves feel better about the situation,.
  • Be aware that not all technology will always work the way it should. Sometimes you may get called, sometimes you may not. Sometimes you may get an email, sometimes you may not. So build up a quick reference of social media accounts that you trust and are verified. Create a list of these, and keep it on your computer or device.
  • Be prepared. We have all hopefully created safety plans for our businesses, community groups and families in case of emergencies. Do the same for digital emergencies. Know where to look. How to find what you need. How to dispel rumors that can be dangerous. Create a digital emergency family plan, and teach it to your kids. Practice it before something happens so it is not something to worry about, but rather something that becomes instinctive and instructive.

I created an emergency social media list on twitter with accounts that are both trusted and real. I suggest you do the same and keep that list handy.

Make a list of your local real life emergency providers websites, twitter accounts and other social media tools. Use them to verify information and dispel rumors.

Posted on

Cyber Reputation Management and Control

BAM!  There it is.

Right in your face one morning when you check your social feed as news.

That nasty little something that someone, a bot, or a person, or maybe both left for you overnight. It is a digital take down. A bad blog post. A social media meme that is being unanswered or purposely pumped up to discredit you, your company or organization or your brand. Or maybe it is a false allegation. Or paid fake bad reviews that your competitors put up.

Face it. The Internet is a hostile place for your reputation and your brand, whether that is personal, corporate or government. The control and management of your reputation start and end with you. As we enter 2015, it is worth paying attention to, in fact it is important to take stock of your online reputation, the management of it and the control of it. It is yours. Not anyone else.

The — Internet, social media, the cloud, mobility, bring your own device, artificial intelligence, autonomous computing etc etc — all are really cool buzz words. All come with prices to pay that include the constant need for personal, corporate and government level cyber security, reputation management and reputation control.

Our top 10 List of Ways That Cyber Security, Social Media and Reputation Management and Reputation Control all mesh together.

  1. Social Media — is the entrance point for viruses, malware, malformed links, phishing and learning enough about someone to turn around and destroy their reputation.
  2. Mobility — allows for instant access to social media, email, sms, cloud and phone, and video, as ways to tear down a brand or reputation. It can happen anywhere, at any time, by anyone around you holding a smartphone or smart watch or smart glasses.
  3. Cloud — allows people to store information quickly and easily. This can be for phishing, for cyber crime, for reputation destroying or extortion. Images and videos, poems and documents and your complete online profile can be easily harvested by smart people and or bots and then turned around against you. What information are you allowing out or putting out to make it easier to be attacked? Or easier to have your reputation tarnished or that of your brand?
  4. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) — While fun and easy for users and your employees BYOD brings a whole fruit basket worth of cyber security and reputation management and control issues along with it. BYOD allows users and employees to access the internet and social media channels without approval or notice from the employer. A reputation can be destroyed in an instant with a recorded conversation, a video, an errant email or sms, or worse corporate espionage and cyber crimes can be instituted easily with BYOD.
  5. Artificial Intelligence — The name alone. What does it mean? How can artificial intelligence (AI) bots or autonomous computing affect your cyber security and reputation management and control? In so many ways we are just beginning to understand.
  6. Lazy People — Sorry but many times the malware or the phishing or the destruction of reputation starts with someone simply being lazy, not having security and privacy settings attended to, and or worse letting someone else use their login credentials.
  7. Your Competition — They have access to the same tools you do. They can buy hackers, they can buy reputation destruction; they can attempt to steal your trade secrets; they will try to insert bad people into your organization at every level. (See 8 below.)
  8. Bad People — No good, no ethos or morals. These people do not care if they harm you. They seek to. These come in the form of social media contacts or email phishing all the way through HR, interviewing, shadowy financiers and content theft propagators from online goods. They will use any and every tool out there to disrupt your business, to destroy your reputation.
  9. Posting stupid pictures of yourself — on to any website regardless of how safe you *THINK* it is.
  10. Not checking the health and welfare of your own digital reputation and brand.

Copyright © 2010-2015 Digijaks, LLC

0

Your Cart