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#cybersecurity | #hackerspace | Google Cloud Identity Pricing – Security Boulevard

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Google Cloud Identity is free to some extent, but if interested in the broader features of Google Cloud Identity, it can be quite expensive over time. The post Google Cloud Identity Pricing appeared first on JumpCloud. *** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com

#cybersecurity | hacker | It’s past time to contain identity sprawl. Here’s how to do it.

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Identity sprawl – too many usernames and too many passwords – has never been as big a concern as it is today: More devices are being brought into the enterprise, more people are working remotely and using their own devices, and more users continue to access […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com

#deepweb | 6 reasons why you need identity theft protection

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans You only have one “you” that hackers, criminals and scammers would love to steal. We’re talking about identity theft, which is a bigger threat than you’re probably aware of. It’s estimated every two seconds there is another identity theft victim. And this type of theft often […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com

#cybersecurity | #hackerspace | Going After the Good Guys: The Government’s Ransomware Identity Crisis

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Why fixing that ransomware attack might get you indicted

Editor’s
Note: We’re pleased to publish this article from attorney Ryan Blanch, sharing
an expert perspective on some of the legal issues in the cybersecurity
industry.

When it
comes to ransomware, malware, and hackers, the government is finding it
difficult to keep pace with the quickly evolving landscape of cybercrime. And
sometimes, the government seems to be going after the good guys instead of the
bad guys, as evidenced by the recent CoalFire debacle in which Iowa arrested
and charged the same cybersecurity professionals it had contracted to try to
breach the state’s security systems.

As a criminal
defense attorney, I’ve been involved in myriad cybercrime cases. There were the
DDoS attacks on the Church of Scientology, and then the infamous Blackshades
malware allegedly used to spy on Miss Teen USA. We defended a sports gambling software company
accused of conspiring with the mob abroad, which went to trial and was ultimately dismissed.
Later, we handled a cryptocurrency hacking case, an online currency arbitrage
platform; and, more recently, the allegedly illegal deployment of scores of
Bitcoin ATM machines around high crime neighborhoods – to name a few.

In most
cases, it’s at least apparent why prosecutors are focusing on our client. But
in other cases, prosecutors are barking up the wrong tree—they’re going after
the targets they can find instead of looking for the actual bad guys. After all,
career hackers can be nearly impossible to track down and apprehend. In the
sports gambling case I handled, my client reported that the New York district
attorney’s office wanted to strongarm him into hacking into his clients’
systems to turn over personal data on gamblers and their bookmakers who may be
involved in illegal gambling.

Another area
where prosecutors seem to be struggling to find and prosecute the right parties
is with ransomware attacks. If you should fall victim to a ransomware attack,
be very careful how you navigate your crisis. And that goes double for those
who try to help you. The government may be looking to indict you both. And the penalties are steep.

Let’s hash it out.

How Ransomware Attacks Work: From Attack to Prosecution

Ransomware
brings companies to their knees in an instant as it encrypts user data and
files irretrievably. In some cases, the only way to resume business as usual is
to pay the ransom outright and most of them only take crypto.

Phase 1: The Attack

You show up
to work to find a message like this one filling all 100+ displays of your
company’s employee workstations. Your CTO and IT administrator are in a panic. Your
entire company has been locked out of its servers, computers and files. The company
stands to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each week that this persists. There
is a countdown clock on the monitor, and IT cannot find any way to access the
system. All you can think is, ‘What would Kiefer Sutherland do?’ 

Phase 2: The Fallout

It’s day two
and the losses have already exceeded $40K. Clients are taking flight as they
fear the worst. Employees are asking whether they should come to work, and the IT
department is pulling its collective hair out.  You wonder what you have them around for if
they can’t fix your computer-related problems. Arnie, Head of IT (for now), has
resorted to Googling (from his personal cell phone) “ransomware help” to look
for outside companies that might be able to lend a hand. 

The 5 bitcoin
demanded hasn’t yet increased, but it might as well have because the volatile
bitcoin market has already added $5,753 to the price (some companies are
starting to keep an emergency bitcoin account to offset the risk of price
fluctuations).  

Someone
reminds you that you have business insurance that may cover this sort of thing.
You call your insurer. They do in fact cover ransomware attacks and have a list
of “approved providers” aka cybersecurity firms who can help.

Phase 3: The White Knight Arrives

It looks as
though all that panic-driven Googling may have paid off. Arnie has already
found a cyber security firm and is on the line with them. As luck would have
it, this firm is also on your insurance company’s “approved provider” list.  The firm thinks they may be able to resolve
the problem remotely. But when asked, they admit that no one can actually decrypt
the files.  More pointedly, if you were
to marshall the combined forces of Homeland Security, the NSA, M.I.T., Kaspersky
Labs and Elliot Gunton to the singular purpose of retrieving the electronic
files of your trading house and photos of your mini labradoodle wearing a tutu,
they would all wind up with zilch. That’s how hard it is to unencrypt what’s
been properly encrypted.

So how can
this cybersecurity firm help?

Pay the
ransom, of course.

So then, what
good are they? Well, for starters, they have a bitcoin wallet on the ready. You
don’t. Secondly, they actually know how to deploy a decryption key. You don’t
(and neither does Arnie).

Turns out
most ransomware, eh hem, artists don’t restore your files for you when you pay
the ransom. They merely send you a key. Technical support doesn’t exist. It’s
do it yourself. And you wouldn’t want your attackers fixing it for you even if
they offered.

Here is why
it makes sense to hire the cyber security firm rather than pay the ransom
yourself in a nutshell:

  1. They can pay immediately.
  2. They may be able to get the attackers
    to lower the ransom. Probably not enough to decrease your cost but enough to
    offset the cost of the firm’s fee.
  3. You shouldn’t be dealing with your attackers.
    They may expand the problem to other systems if you let the wrong information
    slip.
  4. Once you get the key, if you don’t
    deploy it correctly you could corrupt your files forever. Some of these keys
    require several steps to deploy them. And you need to make sure you back up
    your files first, etc.
  5. After you get your files back you
    need to close the proverbial back door. Your attackers could come back if you
    don’t. The honor of your extortionist ends with the promise to send you the
    key. It does not include a promise to never return.
  6. The best firms will issue and update a
    white paper to make sure that you continue to follow best practices to avoid
    subsequent attacks.
  7. An honest firm will tell you if the
    strain of your ransomware variant is actually undecryptable. Some variants are old,
    and the decryption key has already been disseminated publicly. If your firm has
    the key, they may just deploy it for you at little or no cost.
Ransomware screen

Phase 4:  The White Knight Gets Indicted

All good? Not so fast. Now the cyber security firm’s principals and employees are contacted by the FBI’s Cyber Division. The U.S. Attorney’s Office wants to talk about a turn-in date and because they know this is a real company with generally law-abiding individuals, they wanted to call and invite them in to “self-surrender” so they can forgo the unpleasantness that comes with a 3AM home arrest warrant execution.  

Looks like
your company’s savior is going to need to hire a great criminal defense
attorney.

Why? Turns
out the government doesn’t look kindly on paying ransoms. The reasons
themselves are not objectionable:

  •  The money could go straight to terrorist
    organizations and other criminal cartels
  •  The money is difficult to trace when
    transferred through bitcoin.

But the
government also knows that juries don’t like to convict victims for paying
their extortionist. It’s like arresting the mother of a kidnapped child for
paying the kidnappers their ransom to get her baby back.

It would never fly.

How The Government Views Paying Computer Ransoms

Lost
computer files, lost business revenue and even stolen intimate photos are less
sympathetic reasons to sponsor a crime cartel than say, getting a real live
child back. But, just the same, the DOJ doesn’t like to lose. And prosecuting
victims is a losing strategy. So, for now, victims can (probably) pay ransoms
back directly (as ill-advised as that is) to their attackers.

But if you
hire an intermediary, that’s where the government is testing a prosecutorial
theory. The theory is if they can prosecute the cyber firms who pay the ransoms
then they can get a pelt for what they view as an ugly business. Hey, somebody
has to pay. Cybercrime is the new bank robbery and it’s turning into an
epidemic. The government’s so-called ransomware “experts” are in the stone
ages. But prosecuting cyber security firms makes it look like they are doing
something about this epidemic (spoiler alert: they aren’t).

Strangely
enough, the FBI has made multiple statements encouraging or allowing companies
to pay off ransomware attacks:

  • Joseph
    Bonavolonta, Assistant Special Agent of the FBI’s Cyber and Counterintelligence
    Program, said that in most cases, because the FBI can’t
    help these companies recover files, their agents often end up recommending them
    to pay the ransom to get their data back.
  • An
    official statement from the FBI said they don’t “advocate” paying
    ransoms, but that the “FBI understands that when businesses are faced with an
    inability to function, executives will evaluate all options to protect their
    shareholders, employees, and customers.”

They haven’t yet publicly announced a policy of indicting companies for paying ransoms or started issuing mass indictments. But they are hovering around the periphery, looking for instances where they think they might be able to dirty-up the white knight cyber security firm to make them a public example of the perils of paying ransoms as a business model.

What if they succeed? What does that accomplish? It doesn’t stop the ransomware attacks. It doesn’t stop the victims from paying those ransoms directly. But it takes out a middle man would-be protector, leaving the victim to their own devices.

Making the Good Guys Prosecutable: Dirtying up the White Knight

If juries
don’t like to convict victims, how would they feel about their heroes? As a
matter of public policy, do we want to criminally prosecute the saviors of
those who have otherwise irretrievably lost their businesses?  

The answer
is it depends. We should not criminalize the only people that offer any
protection whatsoever to the victims of ransomware. They also provide a
mechanism for insurance companies to insure the losses of such an attack. The
government is putting this in jeopardy (more on this to come). In order to make
a white knight prosecutable, the government needs to shift our view of them. The
prosecution will want the jury’s perception of the white knight to be that of
an opportunistic broker of shattered dreams. Instead of saving their victims
from further attack, they provide a surcharge to further exploit them. As
ridiculous as this sounds, this is what in fact is being kicked around at DOJ
offices everywhere.

The Insurance Companies as Co-Conspirators?

So, if the
cybersecurity firm is recommended and, in some instances, paid for by the
victim’s insurance company, doesn’t that make said insurance company an
accomplice in the conspiracy to pay ransoms to possible crime cartels?  After all, the insurance company knows exactly
how the cyber security firm addresses the problem – by paying ransoms. So, will
the government start prosecuting Allstate for providing ransomware protection
to its insureds?

Probably
not.

But, by
taking the cyber security firm out of the equation, it would force the
insurance company to pay the ransom to the insureds or even worse, pay it
directly to their attackers. Knowing that would result in potential
prosecution, they would have to stop insuring businesses and individuals from
ransom attacks all together, compounding the victim’s losses exponentially.

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

So if the
reasons listed above are all valid reasons why you SHOULD hire a cyber security
firm in a ransomware attack and if billion dollar insurance companies are
recommending that their insureds hire these companies (knowing full well that
those companies will pay the ransoms), then how in the world can the government
look to criminally charge these very same companies for doing what it has
failed to do – rescue victims of
ransomware?

For now, the government is limiting its
prosecutorial powers to low hanging fruit; looking at smaller cyber security outfits
that they believe make easy targets to test-flex their muscles.  They have yet to rope in the insurance companies
who refer them business. And their internal (and informal) policy of the moment
seems to militate against charging ransomware victims who pay ransoms
directly.   

But it’s
‘victim beware’ when it comes to paying ransoms. You don’t know where the money
is going—and the U.S Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC)
maintains a nearly incomprehensible and ever changing
list of thousands of countries, individuals and entities to whom it’s a crime
to send funds.

The takeaway: If you fall victim to ransomware, hire a cyber security
firm to handle it.  If you are such a
firm, proceed with caution and consult with legal counsel about best practices.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Hashed Out by The SSL Store™ authored by Ryan Blanch. Read the original post at: https://www.thesslstore.com/blog/going-after-the-good-guys-the-governments-ransomware-identity-crisis/

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#deepweb | In new world of data breaches and dark web deals, identity theft goes mainstream: JPSO | Crime/Police

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Identity theft used to be a more complicated, hands-on racket that included mail theft, dumpster diving, scam telephone calls and emailed offers. But hackers, aided by improvements in computer technology and internet accessibility, have introduced an illicit efficiency to the crime, stealing the personal information of […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com

#nationalcybersecuritymonth | IRS Publishes Guidance to Help Taxpayers Fight Identity Theft

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Security Summit partners including the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the US tax industry, and several state tax agencies published security guidance and updated content to highlight identity theft precautions to be taken during the incoming holiday shopping season.

Individual and business taxpayers, as well as tax professionals, are advised to boost their security defenses against potential identity theft attempts that will soon surface during the holidays.

“While people are shopping online, identity thieves are trying to shoplift their sensitive information. As the holiday season and tax season approach, everyone should remember to take basic steps to protect themselves,” IRS Commissioner Chuck Rettig said. 

“The Security Summit has made progress in fighting back against tax-related identity theft, but we need people to watch out for common scams that can put their financial and tax data at risk.”

Identity theft safeguards and protection measures

The US tax collection agency provides businesses with an updated ‘Security Awareness For Taxpayers’ PDF document during this month’s National Tax Security Awareness Week, ready to share with employees, clients, and customers

The Security Summit members also recommend taking the following measures to protect personal and financial information online:

• Use security software for computers and mobile phones – and keep it updated.
• Protect personal information; don’t hand it out to just anyone.
• Use strong and unique passwords for all accounts.
• Use two-factor authentication whenever possible.
• Shop only secure websites; Look for the “https” in web addresses; avoid shopping on unsecured and public WiFi in places like shopping malls.
• Routinely back up files on computers and mobile phones.

As part of the Tax Security Awareness Week, the IRS will also provide basic steps for easily recognizing email and phone scams, detecting identity theft attempts, and creating strong passwords for online accounts.

Videos with Easy Steps to Protect Your Computer and Phone and on how to Avoid Phishing Emails are also provided by the IRS and its Summit partners with additional information for taxpayers on how to augment their security.

Security plans and malware warnings

In July, the IRS issued a joint news release with the Security Summit partners to remind professional tax preparers of their obligation to have a data security plan in place with appropriate safeguards to protect sensitive taxpayer information from data theft attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) also provides a Safeguarding Your Data Security Tip issued through the National Cyber Awareness System.

One month later, an IRS warning alerted taxpayers and tax professionals of an active IRS impersonation scam campaign that used spam emails to deliver malicious payloads.

The security guidance the IRS will share during the National Tax Security Awareness Week is designed to help both taxpayers and tax pros to defend against attacks such as those that are targeting the tax season with realistic phishing emails bundling malicious attachments.

Attackers are also known to use phone scams as observed in 2016 when they posed as IRS representants and asked their targets to extinguish outstanding debts of thousands of dollars via gift card payments.

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#cybersecurity | #infosec | How Facebook helps an abusive ex-partner find out your new identity, even after they’ve been blocked

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Imagine the scenario. You’re a woman in an abusive relationship with a man. Things have turned violent. You leave the man, block his account on Facebook, and maybe even change your name legally as you want to start afresh. You update your Facebook profile to reflect […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com

Clarksville #Police are #searching for #Identity Thief

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Clarksville, TN – Clarksville Police are trying to identify a woman who withdrew over $8,000 from a bank which did not belong to her.

On January 5th, 2018, a woman, identifying herself as Brenda Molinet entered a Clarksville bank and requested bank statements for her accounts. The teller requested an ID and was provided a Florida driver’s license with the name and driver’s license number specified on the bank accounts.

The woman claimed to be in town for a funeral. She, then, withdrew over $8,000 from “her” bank accounts.

On January 8th, 2018, the Clarksville bank received a notification from a Miami-Dade bank branch, that a Brenda Molinet was in their branch disputing the withdrawal on her account.

Anyone with information can contact Detective Jobe, 931.648.0656, ext 5269, TIPSLINE, 931.645.8477 , or go online and submit a tip anonymously at P3tips.com/591

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Woman #accused in #multiple #identity thefts looks to clear her #name

The suspect in a massive ID theft case from 2013 wants to clear up any confusion about the status of her involvement in the case.

“I just really wanted, you know, my side to be heard,” Pia Sims said

Nearly five years ago, Memphis police accused Sims of stealing the identities of 672 people.

Investigators said they found nearly $50,000 in cash in Sim’s car, along with boxes of tax documents, social security cards and IDs.

Sims called WMC Action News 5 on Thursday, March 15 to set the record straight.

She said she was never convicted of any crime in that case, and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office confirms Sims was never indicted.

“I have no reason to steal anybody’s identity,” Sims said. “I would help anybody, not hurt them.”

But local business owner Anthony Elmore begs to differ. He said Sims hired him in January to install carpeting in her Orange Mound tax business 5 Star Taxes on Park Avenue.

Elmore said Sims refuses to pay him for his work.

“The sister girl ain’t paid nothing,” Elmore said. “Zonk. Zero. Negative.”

Sim’s side of the story is that the carpet install was shoddy and that her business partner, not her, hired Elmore.

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UK #Citizens In #Danger Of #Identity Theft Due To #Negligence Towards #Cyber Security

Source: National Cyber Security News

A recent survey has found that 52% of Britons aged 18-25 are using the same password for many online services, increasing the likelihood of identity theft. It was also found that the majority had sent critical data such as bank details or passport copies and driving licences via messaging systems. Javvad Malik, Security Advocate at AlienVault commented below.

“Security training or raising awareness of best practices shouldn’t be limited to just corporate employees, rather should extend to all members of the public starting from schools.

It is important that the dangers and risks are understood by all in order to change behaviours.

On the flip side, service providers have their part to play by designing user interface in ways to encourage better security behaviour, for example, making two-factor authentication readily available and easy to understand, as well as having internal monitoring controls to detect where fraudulent or suspicious activity is taking place.”

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