Thursday, April 5, 2018

PSA: That Facebook quiz may be hackers mining your personal information.

Social media quizzes – especially popular on Facebook – seem innocent enough. But taking the quiz might mean you are giving away more about yourself than you originally thought, and may extend to your friends as well.

These quizzes ask seemingly silly or useless questions, but hackers can use that information to penetrate your social accounts and gain access to your personal information or the information of your friends and family.

Some quizzes are designed to steal your data in an outright scam. Once answered, hackers can easily hijack personal accounts and use them to lure in more victims. The hackers will include links embedded in the quiz that can cause a security breach of your personal accounts.

But the latest news shows that it isn’t just scammers who are interested in your quiz answers. It turns out, your personal information is big business.

Not all social media quizzes are about unprincipled data collection, but the Better Business Bureau cautions users to be careful about what they share online. Profile data, quiz answers, and more can be used to used to steal your money, or let a scammer pretend to be you in order to steal someone else’s money.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The battle of the dating apps...Tinder sues Bumble!

Match Group, the company that holds a large portfolio of dating services, such as Tinder, Match.com, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, to name a few, and was in talks last year to purchase the dating service Bumble. Match is still looking to acquire the service, but it’s going about it in an unconventional way: by suing it for patent infringement.
On Friday, Match filed a lawsuit that accuses Bumble of infringing on a pair of patents held by Tinder: one called “Matching Process System and Method,” in which users swipe cards and mutually select one another, as well as “Display Screen or Portion Thereof With a Graphical User Interface of a Mobile Device,” which it describes as an “ornamental aspect” of Tinder’s App. The lawsuit also points to similarities between each companies’ apps, and Bumble’s descriptions of “swiping” run afoul of Tinder’s registered trademarks.
In a statement to The Verge, a Match spokesperson said that the company has “invested significant resources and creative expertise in the development” in its products, and was working to enforce its property rights.
Last November, TechCrunch reported that Bumble had turned down the $450 million offer, but that talks were still ongoing, which could leverage for Match to encourage Bumble to join its portfolio: accept the buyout, and the lawsuit goes away.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Alexa is alive!

It's quiet in the house. Not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. Suddenly you hear a woman's laughter...but where is it coming from?

No, you're (probably) not being haunted, it's just Amazon's Alexa voice assistant malfunctioning in a profoundly creepy way.

Some Alexa users have reported hearing an unprompted laugh from their smart speaker devices in the last day. The laugh is three short "Ha" sounds in a female voice that actually doesn't sound like Alexa's normal voice. It happens randomly, when nobody is using the device, or in response to request to turn on or off lights.

Amazon is aware of this and working to fix it. The company has not elaborated on what was causing the laugh or how widespread it is.

Alexa's laugh isn't the only thing that's freaking out users. Others have claimed Alexa has stopped responding to requests. One Twitter user said their Amazon Echo suddenly began listing names of local funeral homes and cemeteries, also unprompted.

Of course, when voice assistants start acting on their own, it also raises concerns about what artificial intelligence might be capable of. But it's unlikely that Alexa has become sentient and is intentionally frightening users with the laughs.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Providing WiFi to renters...why you should and how to protect yourself.

WiFi has become one of the most popular amenities requested by rental guests – ahead of a dishwasher or cable TV. Plain and simple: if you do not offer free WiFi, you are losing business.

Think about it...do you work when you travel? Most people reading this will answer "yes" or "I try not to, but unfortunately I do". What do you need in order to work? An Internet connection. (And a descent one at that). But it's not just for work – kids love Netflix, grandparents love to Skype, and that cat video of Fido just needs to be posted to YouTube this very second.

Did you know that rental property owners are legally responsible for everything their renters do online? If your renter engages in any illegal activities online, it is the owner who pays the price. IES has the perfect solution to your liability issue while still offering renters a seamless WiFi experience...

Our system features:
•Plug & play out of the box – 5 minute automatic activation
•Custom branded sign in page with your logo, contact information, and legal disclosure (exempting you from wrongdoing); option to add form to collect data such as email addresses, phone numbers, and birthdays for marketing purposes
•Online dashboard to get statistics such as use history, block users, generate passwords, set time limits, set speed limits, and more
•Option to charge for WiFi, or upgraded WiFi option, if desired
•Visit iesAdvisors.com/wifi for a full list of features.

Ready to learn more or make a purchase? Call 781-816-9437 or click here to email us.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Security Notice: Key Reinstallation Attack

Background

On October 16, a WPA2 exploit was disclosed known as Key Reinstallation Attack (KRACK) that affects all WPA2 protected WiFi networks. This exploit could lead to user's WiFi traffic becoming compromised.

Impact

  • This exploit affects any wireless product using WPA2 encryption, which includes all IES access point products.
  • Those using 802.11r or mesh repeaters are most susceptible.
  • Client devices that have not received a security update specifically addressing this issue are also susceptible.
  • The exploit requires physical proximity to the network.

Fix

  • A new firmware version is currently under test, and we expect to qualify and publish the new version of 6.3 by end of day Tuesday, October 17. An update to 6.4 will be available at that time or shortly after.
  • Once new firmware is available, all networks will begin upgrading during their scheduled maintenance window automatically
  • We will also be patching older versions of our WiFi software, including 481, 590, 6.1 & 6.2, with availability end of this week.

Mitigation

  • In the meantime, we have turned off 802.11r on all IES WiFi devices until they have received the firmware update
  • End users should contact their WiFi client device manufacturers for security updates related to their specific client devices.

Questions / Feedback

If you have any questions or concerns about this vulnerability or the upgrade process, please reach out to IES support

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Welcome to 2017 where hacking is what seems like an everyday occurrence. Cough, cough - Equifax.

Target, CNN, HBO, Chipotle, Gamestop, Equifax - what do all these companies have in common? They have all been hacked this year.

But why, in our opinion, is the Equifax hack the worst? Well, many know Equifax as one of the top three credit reporting agencies. Ever applies for a home loan or an auto loan? Chances are the bank you are using has run your credit through Equifax. Equifax is reporting that sensitive information, such as Social Security numbers and addresses, of up to 143 million Americans has been exposed. The data breach is among the worst ever because of the amount of people affected and the sensitive type of information exposed.

Unlike other data breaches, those affected by the breach may not even know they're customers of the company, as the company gets its data from credit card companies, banks, retailers and lenders - sometimes without you knowing.

When did this happen?
Equifax said the breach happened between mid-May and July. It discovered the hack on July 29. It informed the public on September 7.

How did this happen?
Equifax said criminals "exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files."

Am I at risk, and what is Equifax doing to help?
Equifax is proposing that customers sign up for credit file monitoring and identity theft protection. It is giving free service for one year through its TrustedID Premier business, regardless of whether you've been impacted by the hack.

To enroll and / or check whether you were affected, visit www.equifaxsecurity2017.com and click on the Check Potential Impact tab. You'll need to provide your last name and the last six digits of your social security number. Once submitted, you will receive a message indicating whether you've been affected. (Giving your personal information to a company that was just hacked...ironic, we know). Then, you have the option to enroll in the program, but you can't actually sign up for the service until next week. Each customer is provided an enrollment date starting earliest on Monday.

Can I sue Equifax?
If you sign up for Equifax's offer of free identity theft protection and credit file monitoring, you may be limiting your rights to sue and be forced to take disputes to arbitration. But you can opt out of that provision if you notify the company in writing within 30 days. In addition, some attorneys argue that even if you don't opt out, the arbitration provision does not cover suits related to this breach.

It seems like companies are getting hacked a lot. Is this the biggest ever?
The Equifax breach is one of the largest breaches ever. Another high-profile examples include two breaches at Yahoo - the bigger one involved 1 billion accounts, the lesser impacted 500 million.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The FBI has issued a security warning about IoT toys.

IoT toys have the potential to violate children’s privacy and safety, given the amount of pertinent information the toys can collect and store, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warned this week in an advisory.

The sensors, microphones, data storage capabilities, cameras and other features of Internet of Things (IoT) toys are able to vacuum up extensive details about a child’s name, school, activities and even their physical location.

And if those toys are hacked, criminals could use the stolen information to harm a child, the FBI warned.

What Makes IoT Toys Vulnerable?

Data collected from interactions or conversations between children and toys are typically sent and stored by the manufacturer or developer via a server or a cloud service. In some cases, data are also collected by third party companies that manage the voice recognition software used in the toys.

Voice recordings, toy Web application passwords, home addresses, WiFi information, and sensitive personal data could be exposed if the security of the data is not sufficiently protected with the proper use of digital certificates and encryption when it is being transmitted or stored.

Smart toys connect to the Internet either directly, through WiFi to an Internet connected wireless access point; or indirectly, via Bluetooth to an Android or iOS device that is connected to the Internet.
Key factors affecting the user’s security include: the cyber security features, the toy’s partner applications and the WiFi network through which the toy connects.

Superior communications connections - where data is encrypted between the toy, WiFi access points, and Internet servers that store data or interact with the toy - are crucial to mitigate the risk of hackers exploiting the toy or eavesdropping on conversations or audio messages.

The FBI notes that Bluetooth connected toys that do not have authentication requirements (such as PINs or passwords) pose risks for unauthorized access, enabling criminals to communicate with children.

What You Can Do To Protect Your Child
  • Choose IoT toys very carefully by doing lots of research. Look for any known reported security issues regarding a toy.
  • Find out if a toy can receive firmware or software updates and security patches - and ensure the toy is running on the latest version.
  • Closely monitor your child’s activities with each toy through the toy’s parent application, if such a capability exists.
  • Ensure the toy is turned off when it is not in use.
  • Create a strong and unique login password when establishing a user account. For extra strong passwords, use lower and upper case letters, numbers and special characters.
  • Provide only what is minimally required for creating a user account.