The United States Department of Homeland Security recently released documentation accusing Russia of attempting to attack U.S. infrastructure such as critical manufacturing sectors, aviation, water, commercial facilities, nuclear and energy sectors.

Evidence has shown the Russian government has the capability of sabotaging power plants and electrical systems, through cyber attacks. Unidentified hackers have found a way to enter into critical control systems. As far back as June 2017, the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security alerted utility companies to these perpetrations.

With multiple Russian cyber operations, at large, American intelligence officials are keenly aware that Russian invasion is problematic not only to the United States but other European nations.

According to forensic analysis experts, Russian spies are aggressively preparing themselves for ways to infiltrate into crucial infrastructures within the United States, that could cause serious damage to the country.

Cyber security professionals from companies such a Symantec and Cylance, have confirmed that Russia has the capable espionage to sabotage industries within the USA.

Sanctions have been strongly placed upon Russia, as their behavior continues to be troubling. Two entities highlighted include, “FSB, and GRU intelligence agencies”.

Senior national officials are pushing back in meaningful ways. The determined motive of the attacks have been characterized as “multi-stage intrusion campaign by Russian cyber actors”. Their intent, “to gather details on computer management systems in the U.S. energy grid”

For confirmation on this article visit:

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA18-074A

 

 

 

According to a popular cyber security firm, GEMINI ADVISORY, 125,000 credit card and debit card numbers are for sale on the dark web, following a Saks Fifth Avenue, Saks Off Fifth and Lord & Taylor breach that has caused an impact on at least 5 million shoppers.

This data has been stolen from customers while personally shopping in 3 retail stores; it is not yet confirmed whether online shoppers to these department stores have been affected.

The retail stores which are owned by Hudson Bay Company, have guaranteed to consumers that it has “taken steps to contain the breach”, and assures customers shopping at their stores, “it no longer poses a risk”.

In a public interview, cyber security expert and author Eric Cole, remarks that even though credit cards are encrypted with chips, “these retailers are still storing their data in a back end data base, which negates or takes away any of the security protection within the chip”.

It has been said by many experts that companies do not do enough to protect the consumer’s personal details as it enters a pool of public data. The system is failing individuals who place their trust in businesses to respect private information. The customer is vulnerable to fraud activity and cyber attacks.

Extra security measures need to be taken to prevent such occurrences happening again, to the individual consumers shopping at these stores. The following steps are advised:

  1. Ask credit card providers to send text to mobile phone and ask permission before any purchasing transaction is activated.

2.  Use a payment security service that holds all personal information securely.

3.  Contact financial institutions to have new cards issued, to prevent unauthorized use of  the card.

    4.  Change passwords on that service which was compromised and any other services that share same password.

5.  Change passwords on all personal social media platforms.

Investigations are underway to explore this cyber invasion, while at the same time the company is offering free identity protection services and credit and web monitoring to its customers.

 

 

 

Over fifty million users have had their data harvested through social media platform Facebook. Following the crisis of Cambridge Analytica, CEO Mark Zuckerberg admits the data scandal was a “major breach of trust”, and has publicly apologized. He has agreed to testify in front of U.S. Congress, and states in a public interview that Facebook has “a basic responsibility to protect people’s data”. He promises a full forensic audit to investigate who is improperly using private data of Facebook users.

Although Zuckerberg, has pledged to restrict access to app developers moving forward, there is still  concern regarding Android users and how data has been collected by Facebook from their mobile devices, without given permission. Fears of privacy invasion on Facebook is at its greatest, although Facebook highlights that two of the Android apps have opt-in/out features with prompts.

Apple iOS mobile devices do not allow access into the users’ calls and texts data unless a certain protocol is followed, therefore iPhones and iPads, are slightly more protected. The architecture of Android is different and not so secure.

There is a growing concern in some circles, that social media platforms could face strong government regulations in the aftermath of these incidents. There may even be a decline in activity since users are also likely to become skeptical, due to privacy protection concerns. This will in turn affect advertisers.

Facebook’s most valuable asset is the user, and the ability to follow the user track. the company monitors pages clicked on, as well as posts tagged and liked. By sharing this information, Facebook makes over 90% of profits on advertising, which according to research is in the realm of close to 40 million dollars.

Zuckerberg, has spoken of a commitment to 20,000 employees, working on security and content review, by the end of the year. In a recent public interview the Facebook guru states, “security isn’t a problem that you ever fully solve; you can get to a level where you are better than your adversaries and then continue evolving”.

Stocks and shares have already plummeted, with a loss estimated around $80 billion in market value. Consumers are now being extra cautious. After-all, no-one wants a “peeping Tom” in their phone.

To read a full report visit Ars Technica.

 

 

VERIZON is partnering with visionaries from different industries, using data and technology to turn innovative ideas into reality, in their operation HUMANABIITY. Their slogan, “ We don’t wait for the future. We build it”, has engaged them in projects that reduce C02, save lives and keep food safe.

By creating a device with a sensor the size of an American nickel (10 cents), environmental conditions can be tracked through an advanced network system that protects food shipments from the risk of contamination.

According to data provided by VERIZON, 4 billion pounds of seafood, was consumed in America during 2009. Their studies also show that 47.8 million Americans get sick from food borne diseases each year, 128,000 people are hospitalized by food poisoning annually, and 3,000 Americans actually die each year from food borne diseases.

Advertisements created by the VERIZON team, proudly demonstrate the effectiveness and necessity of this safety sensor. Tom Villa, VERIZON Global Asset Management, speaks fluently on the product, “ We took our world class network and developed devices to track environmental conditions. This device allows people to understand what’s happening not only with the location of that asset, but also if it is too hot or too cold”. He describes the senor as “completely unique”, Chris Harrison, Shipping Manager, explains how products such as “Fish, beef, poultry, vaccines and insulin”, are protected and monitored by the device during shipping.

Trawler fisherman, Captain Dennis Woloshuck, Ocean Venture, in the VERIZON advertisement confidently states, “ I catch all this beautiful fish, but once its out of my hands I have no control over it. If you have a sensor that can keep track of your product, it can keep everyone honest that way”.

With trillions of transactions a year, a good competent network is vitally important and not many companies on the world have the capacity to handle such volume. There is nothing fishy about VERIZON, they have proven to have a grip on it with their little tiny sensor that is “keeping the food chain safe”.

There is much talk about security on land, but what about safety in the open seas?

Maritime safety is an umbrella for many categories, which include: search and rescue, radio communications, fire protection, maritime security and piracy, to name a few.

Wireless radio has always been a valuable tool in communication. When a vessel is in distress, help can soon be dispatched if a call is transmitted by wireless radio. The problem is that wireless has limited distance capability. Satellites have since proven to be an improvement. Such devices evidently play a vital role in search and rescue operations at sea.

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) has evolved into the International Maritime Satellite Organization, (Inmarsat), with an intention to focus on emergency maritime communications. Global Maritime Distress Safety Systems (GMDSS) was established as part of Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), which highlights the importance of global maritime distress and safety systems.

GMDSS is an integrated communication system, which assists in protecting lives at sea. It consists of several parts that work together to function cohesively. The system consists of, determining the vessel in distress by an alert, search and rescue coordination, locating, maritime safety information broadcasts, and various types of relative communications. It is an internationally agreed upon set of safety procedures and protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue vessels in distress.

The latest technologies of maritime safety systems, provide sophisticated ship-to-ship communications, as well as ship to shore.

Three significant Amtrak train incidents, resulting in deadly crashes, have occurred in the U.S.A. within the past 3 months. Red flags are up, regarding whether the safety of Amtrak is a result of the company at large, or human error.

Reports state, this morning, at 2:35 a.m. EST, an Amtrak train 91, was on its way from New York to Miami, when it came into contact with a stationary CSX freight train, in the South Carolina region. The lead engine derailed, as well as several passenger cars. It is said that more than 140 people were on board the Amtrak train. As it stands currently, there are 2 fatalities and 50+ injured. (more…)

The Indian government has faced a strong backlash over some of its decisions regarding the implementation of the Aadhar card. However it has stood its ground, countering the unjustified discourse around Aadhar and the inability of some to completely comprehend it.

When the Aadhar project began in 2009, its sole aim was to provide each and every Indian with a universally acceptable and portable unique identification. The only form of unique identification in India before Aadhar was the Ration card, which became increasingly unreliable owing to many loopholes and corruption in the system. Aadhar was conceptualized as a way out, building over the flaws of the ration card and extending its service to all individuals unconditionally. (more…)

Yesterday, people on the island of Hawaii, were aghast and shaken, by an accidental alert, sent out in error, to their mobile devices, stating, “Ballistic missile threat inbound to Hawaii. Seek immediate shelter. This is not a drill”. (more…)

In a long deliberated verdict over National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program, the United States House of Representatives voted towards extending existing privileges of the agency by six years with few minor modifications. The vote skewed against the popular opinion of many lawmakers proposing significant policy overhaul to limit NSA’s unregulated intrusion for information mining.

The vote, 256-164, came against the backdrop of an NSA blow-out of Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act permitting the US government to mine information from industry giants like Google and AT&T, including emails and other communications, with no consent of the involved party. (more…)

1. Crypto Currency for the Layman – NAC3: The North American Crypto Currency Conference.

NAC3 – the only Bitcoin and Blockchain conference designed for the “average person”.

Topics: “A Beginner’s Guide to Trading Crypto Currency”, “Investing in Today’s Crypto Market”, “Wallets and Security”, “Tax Implications”, “Legal Regulations”.

New York City

February 24-25, 2018

Eden on the Hudson (more…)