Enormous online data loss drives a huge underground industry in phishing and the sale of personal data. It fuels cybercrime and has given rise to many websites on the dark web that trade in personal data. It provides hackers with a reason for being and stokes the fires of nefarious online behaviour. And it is happening with alarming frequency.
Bet you didn’t know that according to Wikipedia Halloween is a Christian feast influenced by Celtic harvest festivals with possible pagan roots, particularly the Gaelic Samhain. Thought so. But does it matter? Today Halloween is great fun for children… and hackers. Hackers? In the parlance it’s a calendar event that is used to slip all sorts of rogue malware beneath the radar. But this Halloween it’s eerily quiet on the hacking front, which begs the question, what’s cooking in the cyber crime cauldron?
National Express is one of the largest transport companies in the UK. Listed on the FTSE, its coaches are a familiar sight on motorways with about 550 every day travelling close to 1,000 destinations. The company is a household name and it’s also rapidly expanding into bus and rail transport in new regions of the world.
The survey on mobile usage revealed just how concerned parents are and also at the same time how they sometimes feel powerless. For instance, stranger danger is the #1 concern with parents expressing understandable anxiety about their children being ‘courted’ by people they don’t know.
Just before Christmas last year the mother of all hacks took place in the US. Target, a retailer which sells everything from kid’s swings and outdoor flooring to curling irons and razor sharp HD smart TVs had its point of sales (PoS) systems hacked.
Information from up to 40 million customer’s credit and debit cards was lifted by hackers. Within days, this information started appearing on underground web sites which specialize in this type of information. Some of the credit card details were going for about $20 each. So worried were the banks that some of them even dived into the deep web and bought up the credit/debit card information to protect their reputation and their customer’s bank accounts.
In January, Neiman Marcus confirmed that it had suffered a data breach. Initially only a few details were released – all that was shared was that fraudulent charges were found on credit and debit cards of customers of Neiman Marcus. It did not reveal what types of data were stolen or how many customers were affected. A few weeks later, it was revealed that the data breach was much worse than originally thought. Neiman Marcus has since announced that cyber criminals had hacked into their system and had been operating within it for several months. Over 1.1 million credit and debit cards were affected.
A spate of recent hacks has exposed millions of passwords and email addresses. One organisation has even gone so far as to tell its members that at some point their cyber defences will be breached. The hacks also expose some serious passwords blunders and reveal that many people still don’t understand the need for strong passwords.
Recently, Google updated their Terms of Service. The update included permission for Google to use your reviews, name and photo for advertising purposes. Of course this update has now been set as a default setting within everyone’s account. Every time you recommend or comment on an item or service, Google is now permitted to share that reaction, and they’re referring to it as a “Shared Endorsement”.
As important as it is, the announcement that Google and Microsoft are trying to stop searches for child pornography overshadows a perhaps more important endeavour in which UK and US law enforcement are going to go hunting on the deep web for predators. This is a welcome move and one that emphasises the need for Facebook protection for children.