Friday, March 20, 2015

Caught by a "selfie"

It is not the first time and it won't be the last one, that an offender exhibit himself on social networks and get, besides lots of followers, allowing the law enforcement forces to locate and arrest him.  Today we begin our news summary with the bizarre story of Lance Early, age 28, born in Ohio. A light information as an appetizer before hitting thicker news: China and cyberwar, the absolute fragility of mobile applications and the latest malware: attacking the BIOS. 

Lance Early had such a sense of impunity in the social networks that his Twitter account was curd of photos of ... bills! He earned it possibly selling personal data and filing false tax returns. Accused of 46 fraud offenses, escaped during his trial and instead of hiding, posted some "selfies" on his Twitter account which allowed the Police to locate and arrest him again.  

Early is not a rare case. Many people are not aware that, in addition to their friends, their lives on social networks are also seen by enemies, bosses and even law enforcement, as happened to Early. Another area where there is a great sense of false security are our mobile phones. A study by the Ponemon Institute and IBM on companies that create "apps" shows that a 40% do not check if there are security flaws in the code. Worth noting that some of these companies are in the Fortune 400 list.

Although this invasion unsafe "apps" is nothing to what looms on the horizon: the viruses that attack the BIOS can reprogram the "firmware" of a device and are not destroyed when the operating system is reinstalled. Today at the CanSecWest conference in Vancouver, two researchers show the world how to implant a "rootkit" in a BIOS.

It's a dream come true for the National Security Agency and China, who is no slouch in the arms race in cyberspace. Indeed, after the Mandiant company published a 60-page report on Unit 61398 in 2013, a group of malicious hackers paid by the Chinese government, and after several Chinese citizens were among the most wanted people by the United States for cybercrime, finally China have publicly admitted the existence of units engaged in cyberwar, in their army and in their government.

And I dare say, the oriental discretion is something that would not hurt in the West, even less in people like Lance Early. 


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