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Local #cyber-security #firm warns #voters of #clickbait links ahead of #GE14

A local cyber-security firm have warned voters to be prepared for a rise in clickbait phishing links that could potentially be a cybersecurity threat in the upcoming 14th General Election (GE14).

Quann Malaysia general manager, Ivan Wen, said in a statement that the internet could see a rise in clickbait phishing sites or emails with attachments and sensational titles that trick users to click links for “Exclusive” or “Shocking” stories.

“When a news sounds too good to be true, it is likely fake news,” he said.

Phishing sites are used to trick victims into giving their personal data such as email addresses, identity card numbers, and even credit card information.

These phishing emails can also launch ransomware attacks that encrypt important information on the device.

In a worst-case scenario, this can become a national threat, the firm said.

“Besides that, these phishing links could automatically be shared with your contacts once they have access to your device,” Wen said.

According to a report by Dynamic Business Technologies, 48 per cent of IT providers reported that phishing emails were behind ransomware attacks.

Quann cites two country elections where clickbait links resulted in cyber security threats.

In the 2016 US Elections, a phishing campaign by Russian Intelligence Agency was allegedly launched against a US company involved in developing election systems. Fake Google alert emails were sent to employees which when clicked took them to a legitimate looking Google site where hackers were able to steal their data.

Using information obtained in the attack, the hackers sent 122 phishing emails containing Microsoft Word document attachments to local government agencies offering ‘election related products and services’.

These documents had been ‘trojanised’ with a Visual Basic script that once connected to the internet, downloaded an unknown payload to the device, to steal and access the victim’s information, the company said.

Wen said in UK last year, several parliament MPs were targeted in a phishing campaign. While the report said parliament sites and addresses were not compromised, several individual’s personal emails were being compromised with key information leaks.

To prevent being infected by malware via clickbait links, the company advised users to take the following precautions:

• Key in the address of a legitimate news site instead of directly clicking links sent to you

• Before clicking, hover your mouse pointer over the link to view the link address. Do not click website links that are unfamiliar, even if they came from someone you know. Their accounts could have been compromised.

• Install an Anti-Phishing Toolbar and Antivirus that run quick checks on sites you visit to ensure they are safe to visit.

• Only access secure sites that begin with “https” with a closed lock icon near the address bar.

• Regularly monitor your online accounts to ensure they have not been hacked. Use strong passwords and regularly change them.

• Regularly update your browsers with the necessary security patches.

• Beware of pop-up windows masquadering as legitimate extensions of a website as they are often used to target users visiting a website that has been compromised.

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Engagement, #accessibility, #cybersecurity top #local government #priorities

If you asked a ballroom full of government leaders what keeps them up at night, what do you think they would say? According to our latest “What’s Next in Digital Communications for Local Government” survey results, expanding citizen engagement, increasing digital accessibility and minimizing cybersecurity risks top their to-do lists.

Nearly 370 municipal and county government officials across North America participated in the December 2017 survey to assess the current state of digital communications in local government and project future trends.

Topping the list of priorities for 2018 is citizen engagement, with two-thirds of survey respondents planning to invest in technology to increase digital connections with their customers. It’s the second year in a row that “expand citizen engagement” was cited as the top priority for the next 12 months.

Moreover, 80 percent of the local leaders said they plan to invest in social media tools this year. As one survey participant noted, “social media is one of the biggest channels where citizen engagement happens.”

At a time when social media consumption is at an all-time high, it’s not surprising that local government leaders are realizing the impact digital engagement can have in creating positive relationships with citizens and improving customer experience.

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Four ways #state and local CIOs can boost #cybersecurity

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Looking back at the hundred-plus FBI cyber investigations and victim notifications I’ve worked over the past decade, without a doubt, the most concerning and most difficult ones centered around local and state governments.

States and cities face a tall order: protecting critical data and infrastructure. They’re expected to conduct an investigation, and remediate and prevent future attacks, all with under-staffed or non-existent cybersecurity teams, limited incident response capacity, and a lack of reliable technology.

Working closely with CIOs in cities like Los Angeles and states like Colorado has given me perspective on what is working and where we should be devoting our energy. Here are the top four observations — and solutions — for helping city and state CIOs resolve their cybersecurity challenges.

1. Get the basics right, then tackle IoT

I get it. IoT is important. IoT is scary. But we are still not doing the basics on the workstations and servers that run those IoT devices. Many jurisdictions, for instance, do not yet have a complete and accurate inventory of every asset on their network. And the easiest way to breach a network will always be through the one unpatched piece of software the organization doesn’t know about — not the smart streetlight (yet). This is not to say states and cities should halt all IoT efforts. Rather, they should prioritize their time and investments in getting essential cyber hygiene efforts done first.

Action item: Have your security team run a vulnerability scan and compare the endpoints found with your IT team’s most recent patch report. If the reports are identical, compliment both teams; if they’re not, check both teams’ tools. One of them is broken.

2. Break down organizational silos

IT operations in state and city government are often run by the various agencies within the government, rather than being centralized under the state’s or city’s CIO. This leads to shadow IT, with a wide range of servers, software, and hardware spread across the state and city, and no standardized way to measure their risk level or even know when systems need to be updated. IT administrators cannot share best practices, causing further inefficiencies. What’s worse than shadow IT? Shadow security — rogue systems with no security features turned on. Fortunately, some states and cities have made significant efforts toward consolidating and federating their IT, and the broader trend is toward consolidation, as NASCIO reported in its survey of state CIOs.

Action item: Identify the agency or department with the least number of cybersecurity resources and consolidate those first. Don’t boil the ocean by starting at the agency with the most crown jewels.

3. Reduce the number of tools

Because technology management is so spread out across agencies, states and cities tend to have dozens of tools for managing their IT and security. I once responded to an incident at a state government that had more than a dozen different tools for asset inventory and patching alone. If you have a dozen tools, you need people with expertise in each piece of software, and you have to commit valuable time and money to train those people. When a mistake gets made and leads to an incident, IT staffers have to bring in outside help, because no one internally has expertise in all the tools, which is required to conduct a proper response. States and cities can significantly reduce their risk, and improve efficiency, by consolidating IT operations and security tools. Shared tools also are better for states’ budgets, because procurement officials can negotiate state-wide prices.

Action item: Track the top 10 agencies in your state or city by number of employees and count the number of IT and security tools being used across all 10 networks. Start thinking about how many tools overlap and which ones can be decommissioned.

4. Create dedicated security roles

The cybersecurity workforce gap is an oft-discussed issue, but it’s especially prevalent in local governments and even some state agencies. Too often, IT professionals are tasked with taking on security roles, too, or their positions are only part time. In both cases, not enough attention is being paid to security. IT teams need to get creative in solving their workforce issues. Try forming tiger teams made up of diverse experts from across agencies to evaluate your state holistically and solve discrete IT and security problems. Consider leveraging existing resources, such as your state’s National Guard. Explore ways to partner with local universities to get young people interested in government and cybersecurity. By far, the most interesting cyber cases I’ve investigated happened only because I worked for the government. It is why NSA, not Silicon Valley, is able to hire the best mathematicians — they recruit early and often.

Action item: Sponsor a capture-the-flag hacker tournament at a state college and offer the top three winners summer internships at your agency.

Many of these challenges and solutions are connected. Reducing the number of tools not only helps with security, it also addresses your workforce issues by freeing up the time and money you were formerly spending on a plethora of tools and training.

States and cities are clearly placing an increased emphasis on improving IT management and security, as was made clear when 38 governors signed the National Governors Association’s cybersecurity compact this summer. Now it’s time to tackle the tough issues.

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Local small businesses may be at risk for hackers

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Local small businesses may be at risk for hackers

In the city of Rockford, small business are on every corner. Each one, a potential target for hackers.

“When you consider that 97 percent of all U.S businesses are small businesses the economic impact of hacking can be astronomical” said Director of Rockford Better Business Bureau, Dennis Horton.

The Better Business Bureau is working to bring awareness to the impact one unknown click can take on a small business.

“90 percent of them are through phishing e-mails. And through those phishing emails usually you will find ransom ware or other malicious software” said Horton.

The owners of Rockford Art Deli, say they’re keeping an eye out for these types of e-mails.

“You know you try to do as much as you can and it can still get through but if it did happen, as a cash based business, they can drain your accounts and you know you’re out until that comes back in” said Rockford Art Deli Owner, Jarrod Hennis.

Hennis says he recently got an e-mail from what seemed to be another local business, but after some digging that wasn’t the case.

“It was a random e-mail from a lender in town actually and it just had a link, everything looked legit when you went and clicked on it. But since I knew nothing was coming and I had nothing in the works, I didn’t click on it. So I kinda did some research on it before we opened it and you could tell it was fake” said Hennis.

Horton says one of most unknown facts is, the business owners are held responsible.

“Their business accounts, their bank accounts, were hacked and they suffered a loss that banks are not responsible for that loss” said Horton.

And being out of business, can be detrimental.

“50 percent of them said that after a month they would probably be out of business, if they were not able to recover that data” said Horton.

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Local cybersecurity concerns grow along with attacks

Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Hacking. Phishing. Identity theft. They’re household words in this digital age. If it seems like you’re hearing about them more often, you probably are. “It’s going to get even worse before it gets better. We ain’t seen nothing yet,” says Sri Sridharan, Managing Director of the Florida Center for Cybersecurity…

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Local organization to host diaper drive for victims of child abuse

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and one Aberdeen group is collecting child supplies to help out local families. The Child Protection team is made up of 10 different organizations and businesses working to stop child abuse.

The group found that the need in the community for this type of drive is great.

“It’s important to remember that child abuse is very real. It’s a present issue in most communities, even our own, and unfortunately it’s something that we see here too often,” says Kila LeGrand, Sanford Aberdeen Chief Nursing Officer.

Hosting a diaper drive is one way the Child Protection Team can help out local families.

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Local lawmakers introduce bill for child sexual abuse task force

Sen. John Grabinger, D-Jamestown, and Rep. Bernie Satrom, R-Jamestown, are sponsoring a bill that would create a task force on preventing sexual abuse of children and reporting recommendations for legislation.

Senate Bill 2342 was introduced by Grabinger and had a hearing in the Human Services Committee on Jan. 30. No vote or other action has been taken since.

The task force would gather information concerning child sexual abuse throughout the state, receive testimony and reports from individuals, state and local agencies and organizations, and create goals for state policy that would prevent child sexual abuse during the 2017-2018 interim period. The task force would submit a final report with recommendations to the governor and legislative management, which is a group of legislators who determine interim studies and committee memberships.

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Student shows up at local high school with pellet gun

WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Midway High School student was arrested Tuesday morning after showing up with a pellet gun and making “a verbal threat in the presence of witnesses,” interim Principal Brent Merritt said in a letter to parents.

The pellet gun was not loaded, Merritt said.

“The student and pellet gun were detained before the first bell. No students were in direct danger or harmed,” he wrote.

The 16-year-old student, who was not identified, faces a misdemeanor charge of terroristic threat, Merritt said in the letter.

“Threats towards other students are taken very seriously by MHS administrators, and we will do all we can to maintain the safety and security of our students and staff,” he said.

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Privacy breach at Athens clinic gives pause to local providers

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Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans

Privacy breach at Athens clinic gives pause to local providers

Local health care providers said they have taken note of a data breach at a clinic in Athens that exposed the private information and medical history of some 200,000 current and former patients.
“What’s so scary about this … every

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All New Orleans Schools Set to Return to Local Oversight – Education Week

After more than 10 years under state authority, the city’s public schools—most of them charters—will be supervised by the locally elected school board.

View full post on Education Week: Charter Schools







#pso #htcs #b4inc

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