Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Cyber Security, a daily war

“Americans love to fight. All real Americans love the sting of battle.” If these words said by famous General Patton are true, U.S. citizens must be very happy because their country is constantly fighting small battles, at least on the Internet.

As we can see on the real-time map of cyber attacks developed by security firm Norse, USA is the most attacked target in the Internet. Most of the blows that it receives come from China, which is one of the most belligerent regions in cyberspace.

We wonder if the attacks conducted by the National Security Agency U.S. to spy on the rest of the world would appear reflected such map. According to a report published by the Washington Post, nine out of ten citizens victims of the NSA’s surveillance were regular and harmless internet users who didn’t represent any risk for the country.

Until Edward Snowden revealed these practices, it looked like everything was justifiable under the umbrella of national security, taking advantage of the security obsession of U.S. citizenship following the attacks of September 11. Security at airports also underwent major changes. Passengers were banned to carry over 100 ml of liquid per bottle. And now, the Department of Homeland Security plans to establish more controls to check for explosives hidden in electronic devices. So some international airports such as London Heathrow or Manchester have already begun to check whether the passengers’ devices switch on. Otherwise, they won't be allowed to fly.

Can you imagine if we would face the risks associated with cash machines with the same forcefulness? Well, we know that criminals who clone credit cards and record the customer’s PIN at an ATM do not endanger anyone's life, but plundering someone’s bank account could ruin it. This is increasingly likely since skimmers have improved their technique. Latest 'skimming' devices found at an ATM in Europe were ultra-small and almost undetectable to the human eye.

A different way to ruin someone's life is to wreck his business. And it seems that Google Maps can be a deadly weapon for such a dishonest purpose. If a business sees their listings on Google Maps hijacked by a competitor and its owner does not realize, he might change very important information such as the opening hours. This may not seem a very aggressive technique, a small restaurant in the DC area claims to have been forced to shutter its business because Google Maps said the restaurant was closed on weekends.

If you think the story above is preposterous, what do you think about bulbs revealing your WiFi’s password. In fact, some Lifx’s smart LED bulbs, which are controlled from mobile devices, could allow an attacker within 30 meters to access your WiFi network. Fortunately the brand has solved the vulnerability which was in the bulb’s firmware.

No doubt that cybersecurity is a war and the best weapon on the battlefield is to be well-informed, so follow us on any of our social channels (find the links at the right sidebar) or here on our blog.


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