Author Archives: Nick Fetcho

About Nick Fetcho

Cyber Forensics and Information Security Student, Class of 2015

The New #1 Cyber Security Threat

Student Editorial

Starting off on a quick personal note, I will be graduating this May with my degree in Cyber Forensics and Information Security.  Robert Morris University has provided more knowledge for me than I ever thought possible.  With regard to cyber security, I have learned that the number one threat / weakness is user error.  Uneducated people can cause more damage in the blink of an eye than almost any other weakness.  That being said, I have discovered that this is almost common knowledge now, even among non IT people.  Organizations have gone to great lengths to educate employees to prevent attacks.  Perhaps, the number one threat has changed because of this.

When a user sits down at a machine, what is the first thing that they do?  They open up a web browser of their choice and check their email, and often times social media as well.  These web applications are used billions of times a day by billions of people.  If a hacker wants to gain information from a company, planting a bug on these web applications is quite possibly the best way to go.  In this case, educating people can only do so much.  If you tell employees to not check their Facebook, how long before they break that rule?   So the next logical question becomes, why are these web applications so vulnerable?

The biggest reason is that they were not created with security in mind.  The world wide web was created with the idea that it would be a place to openly share ideas and information across the globe in an instant.  Security would defeat this original purpose.  The founders never could have imagined what their creation would become.  It is because of this that web applications have become the number one threat to companies today.  Hopefully those of us who are graduating in a few weeks will someday be able to make a difference in the cyber future.

For more information, check out the link below:

http://www.forbes.com/sites/sungardas/2015/03/12/cyber-security-threats-to-information-systems-today/

Online Gaming Hack

Student Editorial

Activist groups, regardless of which ones you are examining, have a message that they want to get across to the public.  Sometimes it is with regard to religion, or a political figure.  No matter the message, the ultimate goal is to convey this message in a way that gets the public’s attention.  However, there are so many activist groups out there these days that you have to get creative in order to stand out.  A few months ago, an activist group did just that.

It has been a few months since the activist group “Lizard Squad” took down both the PlayStation Network as well as the X Box Live Network.  Why target gamers for a message?  Stereotypically speaking, they do not worry to much about these kinds of things.  However when the number of gamers affected by taking down their networks is 56 million, I think it is safe to say that you have gained the attention of a huge population of people.  It is creative, effective, and depending on your perspective, devastating.  What was the message that was so important then?

In reality, this group of hackers are what is known as ‘White Hat’ hackers.  They infiltrate various networks for good intentions.  The Lizard Squad wanted to bring down the gaming networks to show how weak their security really was.  By doing this, it can become public knowledge that Microsoft and Sony, powerhouses in the technology world, still have a lot to learn in the area of security.  Eventually, there is going to be a cyber attack that is much more devastating than that of The Lizard Squad.  One with real consequences.  Hopefully major organizations become aware that there is a problem that needs to be addressed.

For more information on the attack that took place this past Christmas, you can check out the links below:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/29/technology/playstation-network-returning-after-hacking-that-also-targeted-xbox-live.html?_r=0

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/what-is-the-lizard-squad-and-what-does-it-want-9945949.html