Category Archives: student editorial

Pictures Causing Your Identity To Be Stolen

A recent thing in news, is how taking pictures with either your hands up or having the peace sign up and your finger prints facing the camera can be a dangerous thing if you post them. Most people are out having fun with their friends and are taking a fun, simple photos but with the way the world is now you have to think twice before taking the picture or posting it.

If the lighting and focus is just right then the they hackers can easily recreate your finger prints as long as it 10 feet from the person. It is hard to believe that we have reached the point where we have to be worried about our finger prints being taken from a photo that is being posted. But as time keeps going on, we need to be aware of these things and we need to be aware that these problems do exist and we all need to second guess before taking and posting pictures.

 

Tips to Get Through Finals Week

As we get through the last day of classes; there is only two things that are on our minds. Finals and summer, but before we can think of summer there’s the finals to tackle. While finals cause some major stress and overwhelm us, here are some tips to do while we enter into this week:

  1. Study, study study!
  2. Create a study schedule.
  3. Priority your study time.
  4. Color code your notes.
  5. Take study breaks, go for a walk, play volleyball, etc,.
  6. Make sure you get plenty of water and food in your body.
  7. Get plenty of sleep; lack of sleep can cause you to not do well.
  8. RELAX!Remember that no one is perfect but if you truly give it all you’ve got and study hard, finals week seems a little less stressful whenever you follow these tips. Good luck everyone and have a great summer! Congratulations to all the seniors who are graduating this year!

Cats Being Used in the IT Field

In this year’s Def Con convention this year showcase had a different twist on IT work. One that merged animals and IT working together. It sounds like a crazy combination and a highly unlikely one that would work well but it did. Gene Bransfield used his friend’s cat, he put on the cat’s color a kit that had Spark Core Wi-Fi development board and had Internet connectivity where ever the cat ended up going.

Now this may sound stupid because cats are going to wander around and do whatever they want to do. But the purpose of the experiment was to see how many people had unsecured, or weak Wi-Fi in their homes. In simple terms who could easily access their Internet just from being on their street.

When the cat was sent out, there was 23 Wi-Fi hotspots found and what they found was more interesting. Four of the networks had been completely open with no security what so ever and four using WEP rather than the WPA-2 standard. The purpose of this was to show that people need to be more aware of the fact that when it comes to Internet you have to have the right safety and protective measures when using the Internet. You never know when a cat or dog with a pack on them will be lurking around to see if you have secure Internet.

Top 5 Skills Employers Look For

If you are anything like me, the job hunt following graduation is one of the top stressors currently on your mind. Finding a position that pays well and is what you truly love to do takes a backseat to just getting your foot in somewhere. I often worry that I do not possess the technical knowledge to land even an entry-level position. According to Zachary Scott, NRI Secure Technologies’ VP of business security, “soft skills” are oftentimes just as important to employers as “hard skills.” The following are the top 5 skills that companies look for in entry level computer security employees:

1. Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting skills are vital in all potential candidates. Any detected problem or anomaly can be viewed as something that troubleshooting skills can be applied to. Security pros with exceptional troubleshooting skills can figure out where things are broken, what’s still working, and how to fix the problem. This is vital in the field.

2. Innate Curiosity
Innate curiosity refers to a person’s willingness to dive deeper into a subject. Companies look for potential candidates who want to get deep into an issue and discover not just how to fix it, but what is causing it and to learn the best method to deal with said issue. “This is a trait that can not be learned, but is a monster that needs constantly fed.”

3. Knowledge of the Latest Attack Trends
Computer security is constantly changing and evolving. It is important that candidates have a rudimentary knowledge of how attacks are being perpetrated and who/what the common targets are.

4. Knowledge of the Latest Vulnerabilities
Knowledge of modern vulnerabilities helps employees determine the path that was taken by the hacker pre-breach, and where in the system hackers could be heading. In short, it increases awareness and helps to get a foot up on hackers to help prepare the system against them.

5. Data Analysis and Visualization Creation
In short, candidates who are able to create and implement systems that monitor and parse the vast arrays of data that enter a system. This is part development and part visionary in the sense that it helps to be able to plan the system and also how to create it.

I can’t stress enough that this is not a be-all/end-all definitive list, but these are areas that graduates and really anyone in the hunt for a job in the IT security field should look into and become familiar with. As I mentioned earlier, as a soon-to-be graduate still looking for a job in the field, tips like these are always helpful. Hopefully they will be of aid to you!

Best of luck!

Spotify Services Hit by Malicious Advertisements

Over the past few weeks, users have been reporting that advertisements inherent in the free version of Spotify have been leading to malware links and even automated malware downloads on a handful of user’s devices. For those who are unaware, Spotify provides its free music streaming service by interrupting streams between songs with commercials and clickable links. The ad revenue generated by this practice makes up for the money lost in allowing the option of free usage of the service.

This practice, known as “Malvertising”, has hit numerous companies since the inception of “free” subscriptoin options became popular a few years ago. Yahoo, the New York Times, and BBC are three major entities that have been hit by malware-infected advertisements. The problem is relatively common because ad space is typically sold via third-party auctioneers to the highest buyer. If malicious code makes its way through the auctioning process, then it can potentially bypass the screening of the site that it will be advertised on.

Spotify claims that it has looked into the situation and has removed the malicious advertisements but the safest bet for users is to fork over the cash to unlock the premium service.

Ransomware Dundee: A Report on Cyber Crime Down Under

Taking advice from the internet and using it in real-life situations is not usually a lifehack that I would advise; that being said, I am here to offer a bit of advice. If you ever open your mailbox and find a USB flash drive, please do not insert said drive into your computer unless you know who put it there and why they didn’t just deliver it to you directly. This may seem like common sense to most people, but residents of a Melbourne, Australia suburb did not seem to possess this rudimentary level of technological knowledge.

Police in Pakenham, Australia are currently investigating reports from numerous residents that mysterious USB drives have been appearing in mailboxes throughout the community. When inserted into a computer, the flash drive runs a program offering a free Netflix subscription. Once the user initiates the process of signing up for the service, ransomware installs itself onto the machine. For those unfamiliar with the technology, ransomware has become a relatively common method of predatory cyber activity. Ransomware works by encrypting files stored on the user’s computer, then charging the user a fee to unlock their personal files. The ransomware forces the user to pay the fee in Bitcoin so there is no trace as to where the funds are going to or who is receiving them.

So far, only three residents have stepped forward and admitted to being duped into installing the application, though police believe that others have been impacted and are too embarrassed to step forward. Over the past few years, large-scale organizations have been impacted by ransomware and have paid extreme amounts of money to unlock their files. One of the more popular targets of ransomware purveyors are healthcare organizations. One prominent example of this is an attack earlier this year on the Kansas Heart Hospital. Ransomware forced the hospital to pay over $17,000 (miniscule compared to the original request of $3.4 million) to unlock patient and personnel files and then demanded a second payment to unlock the rest of the files that were still being held captive. Experts claim that the ransomware problem will “get worse before it gets better.”

As students, and as humans in general, we love free stuff. Next time you come across a free flash drive in your mailbox, take a second to think of the potential costs that this “free” piece of technology may bring on you. Personally, I’d much rather pay the $10 for a new flash drive than run the risk of obliterating my computer’s integrity for free.

Cybersecurity in the Automotive Industry

Over the past decade or two, RMU has grown into a rather diverse university in regards to the variety of degrees available. With the influx of new technology during this time period, the need for cybersecurity has risen exponentially. RMU’s cyberforensics and information security program has done nothing but grow since its inception. If you were to ask students in the program where their dream job would be, most would probably respond with a government, law enforcement, or financial institution of some sort. If you happen to ask the same question at some point in the near future, you may be surprised to discover students who are looking for work in the automotive industry.

As I mentioned before, the growth of technology and integration of tech into our everyday lives has created new weak points for cyber criminals to exploit. Computers are increasingly being used in vehicles to control and operate basic functions and a number of features, such as remote engine start, can now be controlled through the use of smartphone apps. To combat the risk that modern vehicles are threatened with, Volkswagen is teaming up with Yuval Diskin, the former head of Israel’s intelligence agency. The joint venture was created with the goal of protecting the next generation of cars from hackers. The new company, called CyMotive Technologies, will be primarily run by acting chairman, Diskin, while Volkswagen will possess a 40% stake in the company.

This may be the first time you have heard of a cybersecurity firm dedicated specifically to automotive security, but it won’t be the last. IBM and Harman are two other major companies that have previously invested money in other Israeli firms focused on automotive security. These companies are hoping to restrict and limit automotive hacking while it is still in its infant stages. While we do not know what automotive advances will look like in the future, or what kind of features will become the new standard, one thing can be assumed for sure: the need for competent cybersecurity professionals will continue to increase.