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#hacking | Russian Cybercrime Boss Burkov Pleads Guilty — Krebs on Security

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Aleksei Burkov, an ultra-connected Russian hacker once described as “an asset of supreme importance” to Moscow, has pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to running a site that sold stolen payment card data and to administering a highly secretive crime forum that counted among its members […] View full post on

#nationalcybersecuritymonth | Calls for a presidential apology on US troop concussions go unanswered

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

NO RESPONSE TO CALLS FOR APOLOGY: So far President Trump has ignored the many calls for him to apologize for appearing to downplay the seriousness of traumatic brain injuries to almost three dozen U.S. troops injured in this month’s Iranian missile attack on their base in Iraq.

Last week, in defending his initial statements in the hours immediately after the Jan. 8 strike, in which he said there were no significant U.S. casualties, Trump insisted the concussions reported by U.S. troops were not as serious as other more visible wounds, such as the loss of limbs from roadside bombs.

“I don’t consider them very serious injuries, relative to other injuries that I’ve seen,” Trump said in a news conference in Davos, Switzerland. “I’ve seen people with no legs and with no arms. I’ve seen people that were horribly, horribly injured … I consider them to be really bad injuries.”

“I heard that they had headaches, and a couple of other things.” he said. “But I would say, and I can report it is not very serious. Not very serious.”

THE NUMBER GROWS: On Friday the Pentagon said the number of U.S. troops who have been treated for concussions and traumatic brain injuries now totals 34.

Eight troops arrived back home last Friday for treatment either at Walter Reed or at their home bases in the U.S. Nine are still being treated at a U.S. military hospital in Germany. Sixteen were diagnosed and treated in Iraq and have already returned to duty. And one who went to Kuwait received treatment and has also returned to duty in Iraq.

“The goal is to be as transparent, accurate and to provide the American people and our service members with the best information about the tremendous sacrifices our warfighters make,” said Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman, who said the delay in reporting the number of concussions was due to the nature of the injuries.

“What we saw is a number of people who were initially screened for concussion-like symptoms that showed up at one of the medical providers in the base saw their conditions improve rapidly. And then others, we saw their conditions didn’t improve. Some got worse, and some had severe enough symptoms that they were transported on for further treatment.” he said.

“Over the last two weeks, we have seen a persistent and dedicated effort by our medical professionals on the ground in Iraq, Kuwait and Germany to diagnose and treat any and all members who needed assistance.”

‘IT’S PLAIN WRONG’: “TBI is a serious matter. It is not a ‘headache,’ and it’s plain wrong for President Trump to diminish their wounds,” said Sen. Jack Reed, top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee after Friday’s Pentagon update. “He may not have meant to disrespect them, but President Trump’s comments were an insult to our troops. He owes them an apology.”

The Veterans of Foreign Wars also requested an apology. “TBI is a serious injury and one that cannot be taken lightly,” said William “Doc” Schmitz, VFW national commander, in a statement. “The VFW expects an apology from the president to our service men and women for his misguided remarks … And, we ask that he and the White House join with us in our efforts to educate Americans of the dangers TBI has on these heroes as they protect our great nation in these trying times.”

Perhaps the most poignant request came from in the form of an open letter to President Trump from Frank Larkin the father of U.S. Navy SEAL Ryan Larkin, who took his life following a traumatic brain injury.

“My son had “invisible wounds”, just like so many other members of active service and our veteran population,” wrote Larkin.

“It is difficult to put into words the impact that your statement had on me and my family yesterday…it was a hard hit to the gut. An undeserved punch felt by every person suffering from a TBI, their shattered families, and supporting communities who struggle everyday with the consequences of insidious brain injuries,”

NO OFFENSE INTENDED: On CBS yesterday, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton defended Trump, arguing he was “describing their injuries… not dismissing their injuries.” Head injuries, he said, can be anywhere on a scale of being able to quickly return to duty up to having a severe traumatic, lasting injury.

“in fact, all these injuries are not serious, if they’re on the less serious side of the scale than the severe, traumatic side of the scale, the president is just describing what happened here. He was not dismissing them,” Cotton said on Face the Nation. And I think he’s describing, thankfully, what end of the scale that lies on.”

During a town hall on Fox yesterday, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was less charitable. “We’re talking about somebody who as a privileged son of a multi-millionaire faked an injury in order to avoid serving, goes on to become the president, and minimizes the real injuries of those who did,” he said.

Good Monday morning and welcome to Jamie McIntyre’s Daily on Defense, written and compiled by Washington Examiner National Security Senior Writer Jamie McIntyre (@jamiejmcintyre) and edited by Susan Katz Keating (@SKatzKeating). Email here with tips, suggestions, calendar items, and anything else. Sign up or read current and back issues at If signing up doesn’t work, shoot us an email and we’ll add you to our list. And be sure to follow us on Twitter: @dailyondefense.

Subscribe today to the Washington Examiner magazine and get Washington Briefing: politics and policy stories that will keep you up to date with what’s going on in Washington. SUBSCRIBE NOW: Just $1.00 an issue!

HAPPENING TODAY: We’ll hear from Defense Secretary Mark Esper at approximately 11:45 a.m. when he takes questions from reporters in the Pentagon Briefing room alongside French Defense Minister Florence Parly. Esper welcomes Parly to the Pentagon with “an enhanced honor cordon” on the River Entrance steps at 10:30 a.m.

The joint news conference afterward will be streamed live at

ALSO TODAY: Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein takes part in a fireside chat with the Center for a New American Security at 10:30 a.m..

NO APOLOGY HERE, EITHER: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo fired back at NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly, after Kelly complained that Pompeo privately berated her, using the F-word for asking about Ukraine in an interview that Pompeo insisted was supposed to be limited to the the subject of Iran.

Kelly tried nine times to get Pompeo to discuss whether he owed an apology to former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, which you can read here.

Pompeo issued a sharply worded statement accusing Kelly of violating the agreed up ground rules during and after the interview, a charge Kelly and NPR dispute.

“NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record,” Pompeo said. “It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency. This is another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration.”

AFGHAN PRESIDENT — TRUMP MADE RIGHT CALL: In an interview with the Washington Post at last week’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani had high praise for President Trump, saying he made the right call scuttling a flawed withdrawal deal with the Taliban, and denying that the Afghan government has been cut out of the peace process.

Here’s an excerpt from the exchange between Ghani and the Post’s Lally Weymouth:

Q: What do you think about the fact that the Trump administration is talking to the Taliban without your government?

A: We’ve not been excluded. We’ve been briefed continuously. President Trump took a very principled step when he did not accept the draft agreement last fall.

Q: The agreement that was to be finalized at Camp David? President Trump pulled those plans at the last minute.

A: It was because the president had not been briefed before. When he was briefed, we were very happy with the decisions that he made. President Trump’s visit to Afghanistan during Thanksgiving was a very productive visit.

Q: If the proposed Camp David deal had gone through, President Trump would have reduced U.S. forces in Afghanistan from 14,000 to 8,600. Could you have lived with that?

A: Two things have happened. One: President Trump and the U.S. administration have invested considerably in technology so the numbers are no longer the key. Secondly, the Afghan forces are now doing the bulk of the fighting and managing the war.

Q: Could Afghan forces win the war without U.S. help?

A: We’re advancing. In 2014, when I became president, 100,000 NATO troops withdrew, and everyone was saying that we would collapse in moments. We didn’t. . . . The remaining U.S. troops are not for the defense of Afghanistan but for the prevention of attacks on the United States.

Q: So do you need a small number of U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan?

A: A small number is required in order to deal with the threat of terrorism and to support us because it’s an advise, assist and training mission — not a fighting mission.

CONTROVERSY OVER SPACE FORCE SEAL FLAMES OUT: The twitterverse was momentarily sizzling Friday with outraged Star Trek aficionados making a light-speed jump to the conclusion that the new U.S. Space Force seal, was a rip-off of the fictional Starfleet Academy logo.

Soon thereafter many on Twitter pointed out that the new seal was a reworking of the old U.S. Space Command design from the 1980s, and that in fact as one tweeter noted, “Deltas, swoops, and swooshes have been part of spaceflight symbology since the 1960’s.”

In a statement posted on Facebook the U.S. Space Force explained. “The delta symbol, the central design element in the seal, was first used as early as 1942 by the U.S. Army Air Forces; and was used in early Air Force space organization emblems dating back to 1961. Since then, the delta symbol has been a prominent feature in military space community emblems.”

That didn’t stop George Takei, the actor who played Sulu on the original Star Trek and a consistent critic of the president, from mocking the design in an op-ed. “Indeed, with the two logos placed side by side, the resemblance is so remarkable that I had to wonder whether Melania Trump was part of the design committee,” he wrote.


Northrop Grumman has been awarded a $13 million contract for a program designed to develop defenses against maneuverable hypersonic glide vehicles dubbed “Glide Breaker.” “This contract provides for the research, development and demonstration of a technology that is critical for enabling an advanced interceptor capable of engaging maneuvering hypersonic threats in the upper atmosphere,” the Pentagon said in an announcement Friday.

Work will be performed in Redondo Beach, California (73%); Mesa, Arizona (21%); Sacramento, California (4%); and Huntsville, Alabama (2%), with an estimated completion date of January 2021, according to the contract award announcement.

Lockheed Martin has announced former Joint Chiefs Chairman retired Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford to its board of directors effective Feb. 10.

“General Dunford’s service to the nation at the highest levels of military leadership will bring valuable insight to our board,” said Marillyn Hewson, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin. “His experience in complex, global operations and risk management, including cybersecurity threats, is a tremendous asset and will enhance board oversight in key business areas.”

Boeing led the defense industry spending on lobbying last year, according to an analysis of year-end disclosures by Politico.

“The commercial and military aerospace giant disclosed $13.8 million spent on lobbying activities in 2019. That’s down from $15.1 million in 2018, when Boeing also placed first among defense contractors,” Politico reported last week.

The rounding out the top five, according to Politico:

The Rundown

Washington Examiner: Three rockets make ‘direct hit’ on US Embassy in Baghdad: Report

Washington Examiner: US soldier killed during vehicle ‘rollover accident’ in Syria

Washington Examiner: ‘A dirty word’: After tense exchange, Guantanamo judge says he’ll rule on whether 9/11 plotters were tortured

Washington Examiner: Iran says it has the ability to enrich uranium ‘at any percentage’

AP: The U.S. Is Committed To Syria Mission, Says Top American General In The Middle East The Navy Is Making Big Changes to the Way it Plans for Future Ships

Wall Street Journal: Pentagon Blocks Clampdown on Huawei Sales

Reuters: China Has World’s Second-Largest Arms Industry, Think Tank Estimates

AP: Fighting rages as Libya force pushes toward key western city

Reuters: North Korea Urges Citizens To ‘Break Through Barriers’ As Nuclear Standoff Continues

Air Force Magazine: Valkyrie Drone Completes Fourth Flight Test

Stars and Stripes: Navy Deploys Pair Of Tritons To Guam For Unmanned Aerial Vehicle’s Pacific Debut

Virginian Pilot: Now At Sea, USS Gerald R. Ford Enters A New Phase In Its Path To Deployment

USNI News: Navy MH-60S Helicopter Crashes in the Philippine Sea off Okinawa, Crew Rescued

Forbes: How Top Military Contractors Raytheon And BAE Systems Are Drawing Non-Traditional Suppliers Into Defense



10 a.m. 14th and F St. N.W. — Debra Tice, mother of detained journalist Austin Tice, holds a news conference with Mike Freedman, president of the National Press Club, to provide an update on the second annual Night Out for Austin Tice, a national awareness campaign to free the journalist held in Syria since August 2012. Streamed live at

10:30 a.m. Pentagon River Entrance — Defense Secretary Mark Esper welcomes French Defense Minister Florence Parly to the Pentagon, followed by a joint news conference in the Pentagon Briefing Room at approximately 11:45 a.m. Streamed live at

10:30 a.m. 1177 15th St. N.W. — Center for a New American Security “Fireside Chat” with Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein, moderated by Susanna Blume, senior fellow and director, CNAS Defense Program.

2 p.m. 101 Constitution Ave. N.W. — Intelligence and National Security Alliance seminar “Great Power Competition: Disinformation and Influence Operations,” with Shelby Pierson, intelligence community election threats executive in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence; former National Security Agency Deputy Director Richard Ledgett, senior visiting fellow at the MITRE Corporation; Jane Holl Lute, president and CEO of SICPA North America; Aaron Brantly, cyber policy fellow at the Army Cyber Institute; Jennifer Mathieu, chief technologist for social analytics and integrity at MITRE; and Tom Warrick, nonresident senior fellow at Atlantic Council


10 a.m. Rayburn 2118 — House Armed Services Committee hearing: “Security Update on the Korean Peninsula,” with John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy and Lt. Gen. David Allvin, joint staff director for strategy, plans and policy.

8:15 a.m. 2121 Crystal Dr. Arl, —- National Defense Industrial Association meeting of the Electronics Division, with Daniel Goldin, CEO and founder of KnuEdge; Derek Tournear, director of the Space Development Agency; David Davis, systems engineering division chief of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center; and Patrick Murphy, strategic planning and integration director at NASA.

9:30 a.m. 14th and F St. N.W. — National Press Club International Correspondents Committee discussion on “10 World Conflicts to Watch in 2020,” with former White House foreign affairs adviser Robert Malley, president and CEO of the International Crisis Group.

11 a.m. Lockheed Martin webcasts fourth quarter and full year 2019 earnings results conference call, with Marillyn Hewson, chairman, president and chief executive officer; Ken Possenriede, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Greg Gardner, vice president of investor relations.

11 a.m. 1030 15th St. N.W. — Atlantic Council discussion on “Logistics: The Role of TRANSCOM in Great-Power Competition,” with Gen. Stephen Lyons, commander, U.S. Transportation command.

2 p.m. 529 14th St. N.W. — Arms Control Association event “The Case for Extending New START,” with retired Lt. Gen. Jack Weinstein, former Air Force deputy chief of staff for strategic deterrence and nuclear integration; Rep. Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb.; Madelyn Creedon, former principal deputy administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy; Kori Schake, director of foreign and defense policy studies, American Enterprise Institute; and Alexander Vershbow, former U.S. ambassador to Russia and NATO deputy secretary general. Register at

2 p.m. 2301 Constitution Ave. N.W. — United States Institute of Peace discussion on “Healing Afghanistan Through Art,” with Roya Rahmani, Afghanistan ambassador to the U.S.; Kabir Mokamel, co-founder and creative director of ArtLords; District of Columbia Youth Poet Laureate Marjan Naderi; Hamidullah Natiq, artist and local peace activist; Omaid Sharifi, co-founder and president of ArtLords; Johnny Walsh, senior expert at USIP; and Nancy Lindborg, president and CEO of USIP


7:30 a.m. 300 First St. S.E. — Joint Chiefs Vice Chairman Air Force Gen. John Hyten speaks at the Air Force Association “Breakfast Series.”

9 a.m. — General Dynamics webcasts fourth quarter and full-year 2019 financial results conference.

10:30 a.m. — The Boeing Company releases financial results for the fourth quarter of 2019 in a conference call with President and CEO David Calhoun and Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Enterprise Performance & Strategy Greg Smith. Webcast at

11:30 a.m. 1667 K St. N.W. — Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessment discussion of new report, “Taking Back the Seas: Transforming the U.S. Surface Fleet for Decision-Centric Warfare,” with Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly.


7 a.m. — Raytheon Company releases 2019 fourth quarter and full-year results on its website, followed by a conference call at 9 a.m. Jan. 30, 2020. Audiocast

9 a.m. G50 Dirkson. — Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the Defense Authorization request for Fiscal Year 2021 and the Future Years Defense Program, with Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, U.S. Africa Commander; and Adm. Craig Faller, U.S. Southern Commander.


“Apparently, the new logo is just another iteration on the former Air Force Space Command logo, which also featured an upward pointing delta, but the final product with its concentric rings and swooping orbits looks so much like Starfleet’s, I fear it could easily confuse any Vulcans and Klingons who see it.”

Actor George Takei, who portrayed Sulu on the original Star Trek, and was the many who commented on the similarity between the new U.S. Space Force seal and the logo of a fictional Starfleet Command.

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#cybersecurity | #infosec | Microsoft’s Internet Explorer zero-day workaround is breaking printers

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans As I reported earlier this month, there’s an unpatched zero-day vulnerability in Internet Explorer that is being exploited in targeted attacks. Microsoft still hasn’t issued an official patch for what is technically known as CVE-2020-0674, but did detail what it described as a “workaround” in its […] View full post on

#cybersecurity | #hackerspace | Smaller Companies Need to Step Up Their Cyber Security Efforts

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Whenever we hear about major cyber security attacks such as data breaches, it’s typically larger enterprises that are the victims. That makes sense, considering those events can potentially impact a lot of people and therefore are more likely to grab headlines and garner attention.

But that doesn’t mean small and mid-sized companies (SMBs) are immune to such attacks. In fact, smaller organizations are frequent targets of cyber incidents, and they generally have far fewer resources with which to defend themselves.

A recent study by the Ponemon Institute, which conducts research on a variety of security-related topics, presents a clear picture of the cyber security challenges SMBs are facing. The report, “The 2019 Global State of Cybersecurity in SMBs,” states that for the third consecutive year small and medium-sized companies reported a significant increase in targeted cyber security breaches.

For its report, Ponemon conducted an online survey of 2,391 IT and IT security practitioners worldwide in August and September 2019, and found that attacks against U.S., U.K., and European businesses are growing in both frequency and sophistication.

Nearly half of the respondents (45%) described their organization’s IT posture as ineffective, with 39% reporting that they have no incident response plan in place.

Cyber criminals are continuing to evolve their attacks with more sophisticated tactics, and companies of all sizes are in their crosshairs, noted Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute. The report shows that cyber attacks are a global phenomenon, as is the lack of awareness and preparedness by businesses globally, he said.

Overall, cyber attacks are increasing dramatically, the report said. About three quarters of the U.S. companies surveyed (76%) were attacked within the previous 12 months, up from 55% in a 2016 survey. Globally, 66% of respondents reported attacks in the same timeframe.

Attacks that rely on user deception are on the rise, the study said. Overall, attacks are becoming more sophisticated, with phishing (57%), compromised or stolen devices (33%), and credential theft (30%) among the most common attacks waged against SMBs globally.

Data loss is among the most common impact of cyber security events. Worldwide, 63% of businesses reported an incident involving the loss of sensitive information about customers and employees in the previous year.

SMBs around the world increasingly are adopting emerging technologies such as mobile devices and apps, the Internet of Things (IoT), and biometrics, despite having a lack of confidence in their ability to protect their sensitive information.

Nearly half of the survey respondents (48%) access more than 50% of their business-critical applications from mobile devices, yet virtually the same portion of respondents said the use of mobile devices to access critical applications diminishes their organization’s security posture.

Furthermore, a large majority of respondents (80%) think it is likely that a security incident related to unsecured IoT devices could be catastrophic. Still, only 21% monitor the risk of IoT devices in the workplace.

The report also suggests that biometrics might finally be moving toward the mainstream. Three quarters of SMBs currently use biometrics to identify and authenticate users or have plans to do so soon.

Small and mid-sized companies can take several steps to bolster their cyber security programs. One is to educate users and managers throughout the organization about the importance of strong security and taking measures to keep data safe.

Because so many attacks begin with employees opening suspicious email attachments or clicking on links that lead to malware infestations or phishing, training users to identify these threats is vital. Companies can leverage a number of free training resources online to help spread the word about good security hygiene.

Smaller companies, particularly those will limited internal cyber security skills, can also consider hiring a managed security services provider (MSSP) to help build up a security program. Many of these firms are knowledgeable about in the latest threats, vulnerabilities, and tools, and can help SMBs quickly get up to speed from security standpoint.

And companies can deploy products and services that are specifically aimed at securing small businesses. Such tools provide protection for common IT environments such as Windows, macOS, Android, and iOS devices. They are designed to protects businesses against ransomware and other new and existing cyber threats, and prevent data breaches that can put personal and financial data at risk.

Some of these offerings can be installed in a matter of minutes with no cyber security or IT skills required, which is ideal for smaller companies with limited resources and a need to deploy stronger defenses quickly.

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#nationalcybersecuritymonth | Griffiss Institute marks commitment to Data Privacy Day, shares safety advice

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Griffiss Institute is marking its commitment to Data Privacy Day by signing on as a 2020 “Champion” for the observance, an international effort held annually Jan. 28 to create awareness about importance of respecting privacy and safeguarding data. As a “Champion,” Griffiss Institute recognizes and supports […] View full post on

#deepweb | UMS presents ‘The Believers are but Brothers’

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

The internet is a vast place. Not only are there fun memes and puppy videos to grace our feeds every morning, there is the entire dark web, too.

I dont know much about the latter — I am a theater major who vehemently resents social media, instant messaging and ad-polluted shopping sites. Veering off the beaten path has never been on my radar, but playwright Javaad Alipoor is an encyclopedia of knowledge on how the internet is undermining democracy and instantaneously reshaping the world.

The central storyline in Alipoors new play, “The Believers Are But Brothers, follows two Muslim men residing in different parts of England and their experience of getting recruited by ISIS. Ive found that trying to explain the complexities of their recruitment gives away the show and is far better depicted by Alipoor, so my best bet is just to implore you to go see it at the Arthur Miller Theater.

The show dumped a ton of information related to the world of the dark web on the viewer without slowing down to hold anyone’s hand, so it’s no surprise that “The Believers are but Brothers was rewarded with the largest retention of people for any Q&A I have seen at my four years at the University.

While I sat in the theater, I could not shake the feeling that what Alipoor was doing was dangerous. He spoke so much truth about ISIS successful recruitment of young

Muslims in the Western world while simultaneously depicting a young, white supremacist who never leaves his computer screen. In doing so, he allowed the audience to realize how much damage comes from each side. Spoiler: both do an astounding amount of rallying for their respective causes online.

Therefore, as Alipoor dished out fact after fact in a state that swung red in the last election, I was frightened that maybe someone who did not agree with him could be inspired to protest or even incite violence.

Maybe thats part of the show. If we are constantly attached to these devices and mediums of communication that have the potential to ensue such violence and hate, what is the difference? According to this show, the alt-right is far more advanced in digital manipulation that prompts the banding together of white supremacy groups,online hate speech and controlling elections. The left is far behind in the advancement of that sort of asset, if you can call it that. During the Q&A, American culture professor Lisa Nakamura said she believes the left underestimates the value of spectacle online that the alt-right has come to master. 

I don’t think we are supposed to be overstimulated this much. There is a part in the show near the end where Alipoor is playing Call of Duty while the whole rest of the stage is lit up in all sorts of media for a couple of minutes. I couldnt help thinking about how monstrous it all is. 

Scenes jumped between direct address to the audience, Skype, Youtube and even WhatsApp. In each medium, the audience acted as an avid participant. At the beginning, Alipoor shared memes with us that any person under 30 would recognize like Pepe the Frog or Doge. By the conclusion of the play, however, these memes were boiled down to the basic ideologies that fuel the worlds most violent groups, like white supremacists and ISIS.

Memes to terrorism is a big jump, I know. I still have a plethora of questions that I want answered, but just like going down the internet rabbit hole, finding answers leads to more questions. Alipoors play feels a bit like going down the internet rabbit hole. At times, this made it hard to follow what train of thought he was going down.

The panel afterwards was led by Alipoor, Nakamura (known for her gender videogame class) and Alexandra Stern (author of “Proud Boys and the White Ethnostate: How the Alt-Right is warping the American Imagination) and School of Information professor Clifford Lampe. All four had fascinating insights into how the internet is shaping humanity. 

When asked if we are just looking too closely at the internet by blaming it for the evils of the world, the panel acknowledged the sentiment, but Alipoor restated that there are worlds being destroyed because of the technology. 

“There is a way that we as humans, for better or for worse, are able to communicate that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of yet,”Alipoor said.

Its exciting and frightening to think of what happens past the internet. We have the history of mankind at our fingertips, the ability to overthrow governments or create blackweb armies that can be just a few clicks away, so what happens next? 

Now, if youll excuse me, I’m going to go scroll through Facebook to shake off all this internet anxiety.

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#cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | Protecting Real Estate for Data Privacy Day — RISMedia |

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Jan. 28 is Data Privacy Day, as set by the National Cyber Security Alliance’s (NCSA) Data Privacy Day campaign. The NCSA provides various resources on its website, including instructions on how businesses can protect themselves, detect fraud, respond quickly and recover if they have fallen victim.

How do these translate into real estate best practices?

The NCSA recommends that businesses keep software current, ensure updates are set to automatically install, implement stronger authentication processes, back up all information either in the cloud or on a hard drive, limit access to sensitive data and stay vigilant.

For real estate agents and brokers, that means keeping vulnerable data, such as transaction paperwork with client signatures, protected by double verification, as well as backed up to a secure location. Platforms such as DocuSign and ShelterZoom are helping to make transactions more secure in real estate by using technology such as encryption and blockchain.

According to Chen Konfino, chief executive of Younity, an app that allows users to remotely access their digital files from their computers using their mobile devices, who was interviewed by the New York Times, individuals can also protect themselves by using a VPN (virtual private network) on their device, which will encrypt their traffic and block emails from being intercepted.

Knowing what to look for is the first step. According to the NCSA, businesses should pay attention to any unusual requests, especially though email, that direct them to click unknown links or open suspect attachments. Brokerages can reduce the chance of fraud by implementing office-wide training sessions that teach agents how to detect scams, proceed safely and safeguard their information.

If an individual suspects fraud, what is the appropriate course of action? The NCSA recommends that they disconnect any computers that may have been compromised and bring in an IT team to take a look. Additionally, if widespread and severe enough, they should also contact law enforcement and retain legal counsel.

Due to the nature of real estate, in which brokerages can have hundreds of agents across multiple offices, any individuals who suspect fraud should immediately notify their broker so they can ensure the breach is not extensive.

Scams to Look Out For
According to the New York Times, the FBI has reported 3,766 instances of real estate scams between October 2014 and October 2019, with losses reaching nearly $339 million.

The best way to protect data? Know what the scams are. In 2019, several REALTORS® reported receiving texts and phone calls from 800-874-6500—the toll-free number for the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). However, NAR reported it was not making these calls and they were fraudulent.

Scams happen often on the consumer side, as well. REALTORS® should educate their clients about the most common types of fraud they may encounter, which can include:

  • Wire transfer requests via email – All requests should be confirmed by the agent or attorney, in person or by phone.
  • Illegitimate rental or for-sale listings for which the “landlord” or “seller” requests payment upfront, such as a security deposit or down payment. These fraudsters often claim to require these deposits in advance and then disappear with the money.
  • Emails asking for sensitive information – Consumers should look for warning signs such as grammar and spelling errors, suspicious email addresses and phone numbers or addresses in their signature that cannot be verified.

Several organizations are taking the lead on fraud prevention in real estate. For example, Title Resource Group (TRG) recently launched a campaign, in the form of a game, to help educate agents and consumers about fraud.

NAR provides a Data Security and Privacy Toolkit to help educate industry professionals about how to protect their data and comply with legal requirements. The toolkit includes state law information and any pending federal regulations on the subject of data security, as well as checklists for implementing a data security program.

Brokers and agents, share your experiences with us and let us know what you are doing to protect your data.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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#nationalcybersecuritymonth | Hank Thomas and Mike Doniger, getting the specs on the cyber SPAC

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Hank Thomas and Mike Doniger, getting the specs on the cyber SPAC Sunday, January 26, 2020 In this special edition, our extended conversation with Hank Thomas and Mike Doniger from their new company SCVX. Both experienced investors, their plan is to bring a new funding mechanism […] View full post on

#cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | What Kind Of Phone Calls And Messages Can Steal Your Money

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Phone calls need not always be the bearer of good news. In its recent report, a telecommunication firm said that around 44.6% of the phone calls made in 2019 were made by the scammers, and the numbers will rise up further in 2020.

Incidents of cyber crimes and phone scams are so frequent these days that the next phone call you are about to receive- might be a call from a scammer trying to steal your money.

Before you get up and receive your ringing phone, you might want to read this list of the most common type of phone call scammers that can put you at risk. Who knows maybe a little bit of awareness can save you from being scammed?

1. “Your ATM card has been blocked”

People often receive phone calls
from scammers impersonating bankers. To rattle you off and to show you that
they are ‘real’, they might even tell you your ATM card
number and the expiration date. While they have all that information with them,
they try to get you scared by telling you that the bank is blocking your ATM
card or even credit card for some discrepancies in your account. They say that
they can make it all go away and need to access your account for that, and so
they ask for your card’s PIN.

Do not share your PIN as it will actually give them access to your bank account, more than you would like, letting them withdraw all the money from your account.

2. “Send us the OTP to let us bank transfer your cash reward”

If asking your bank account details
directly wasn’t enough, they try to tempt you with attractive offers. Scammers
make phone calls saying that you have won a competition or a lottery; you might
not remember participating in. They say that you have won a huge sum of money
and/or a holiday in your dream destination.

For that, they need your bank
account number and ATM PIN so that they can transfer the sum directly to your
bank account.

While the reward might look tempting enough and the caller might seem trustworthy, these callers are most likely to withdraw all your hard-earned money instead of giving you a ‘reward’.

ALSO READ: Did You Get Trapped In The Netflix Phishing Scam?

3. “This is Techsupport, we want to help you”

With developing IT cells of the scammers, they often pose as tech support as well. They pose as IT guys from tech companies helping you get rid of your computer virus. They start by asking you to download software that helps you share your computer with them and gives them remote control access to your computer as well.

While you see them ‘helping’ you,
they are quite likely to be downloading all your personal information in the
background. Sometimes they often hold all your computer data ‘hostage’ and
threaten to give it back to you only if you pay a certain sum of money.

4. “Please confirm your Aadhar Card number”

This important identity card of
Indian citizen holds all of their key information. Along with the name, birth
date, family details, it has their bank account details, PAN card details and
many more. To gain access to all that information, bank account details and
more, scammers often come up with various schemes, that ends with them asking
for your Aadhar card number.

Please do not share that your Aadhar card details with anyone as your personal information can be misused.

5. “Click the link to spend time with this lovely lady”

We all receive such enticing emails
and messages that promise company to lonely souls. Although you’re intelligent enough
to spot the red alert in the message and understand it to be a scam, you might
receive some other messages and emails that can tempt you. Whatever it may seem
DO NOT click on the links that follow the ad mails and messages.

These links mostly take you to a homepage that gives the hackers access to your computer, and hence, your personal information and data.

As the number of scammers increase
in number with every passing year, they often come up with new ways to trick
you. Banks never call you asking for your bank details as they already have it

Do not disclose them to a ‘banker’ over the phone, as they are mostly a fraud impersonating a banker. If you feel your bank account details are at risk, do not hesitate on visiting your bank and talking to the bank manager, or even reporting a complaint to the police.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Economic Times, Financial Express, Business Today

Find The Blogger @AyushArcher05

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