Posts Tagged ‘#cyber’

Presidential Dilemma

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis June 6th, 2012

Well, the cat is OUT of the bag.  A while back there was a worm called Stuxnet that was discovered to be hiding on PC’s across the planet, apparently doing, well… NOTHING.  It had very sophisticated code, but no one could tell exactly what its purpose was.  Finally it was revealed that this critter had been released to slow down Iran’s nuclear program.  60 Minutes on CBS featured an article about it, revealing that it worked on industrial controls, and targeted the centrifuges that Iran uses to purify Uranium and Plutonium.  Now it has come to light that the US was, indeed, the source of that bug.  It started with Bush in 2006, and continued with President Obama.  It took guts for both of them to authorize this –  the implications are staggering.  We have officially entered a world where digital warfare is reality.  Although it saved lives in terms of immediate human casualties, these presidents opened a virtual Pandora’s Box in authorizing this attack.  See, the worm has a blueprint for taking over and altering controls in facilities like the Iranian Enrichment plants.  But these are the same controls that are used EXTENSIVELY across the US.  So the weapon could give our enemies the ability to attack critical infrastructure like power plants and water facilities.  Was it worth it?  Well it seemed to work, so it bought them a little time.  But the decision to use it could very well turn out to be more detrimental to the USA than any benefits that were gleened.  Time will tell.  Kudos to Symantec for isolating this critter, and the New York Times for covering a great story about war in the next millennium.  You can find the full article here. 

Cyber Warfare and Politics

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis March 20th, 2012

Our government has been practically impotent for the last 3.5 years thanks to partisanship and posturing.  Yet another fine example of this is dealing with cyber attacks.  We desperately need our laws to catch up and address the myriad of potentially dangerous situations that exist via internet, and yet they are playing the same ol’ song and dance; no agreement, no laws passed so far.  In fact some of the bills introduced are just downright silly.  McCain is trying to push one through that would basically do nothing but keep businesses out of court while further reducing your privacy on the web.  James Lewis, a senior fellow with the Center for Strategic and International Studies took a look at the bill and was apalled.  Lewis called the Senate Republicans’ bill “national security through faith healing.” and added “It’s a flop, it’s a bust, it’s a joke,”.  The problem I see here, besides silly politics, is that the people we chose to represent us in government know VERY LITTLE about the technology.  We should be referring to the experts, educating the public, and letting them decide.  Ignorance is no excuse, I realize… but if they don’t wake up and DO SOMETHING we may face a major attack on the scale of 9-11.  I hear them talk about cyber-terrorism, but in my mind the major threat right now is organized crime.  They are pumping BIG BUCKS into their operations, and getting VERY sophisticated in the attacks and software they build.  It’s easy to imagine a scnario that could make them Billion$ simply by shutting down the NYC power grid for a day, as Presidaent Obama simulated in a recent closed-door demonstration.  I believe top priority should be securing our cyber-borders and holding the big businesses accountable for sloppy IT.  You can read more here (thanks for a great article Huff Post Tech!).

Cyber Monday

Helpful Hints, News | Posted by Dennis November 28th, 2011

Black Friday.  What a nightmare.  Seriously, you couldn’t PAY ME enough to go shopping the day after Thanksgiving.  After what I saw on the news, and the people I asked who DID brave the shopping madness, it’s just not worth it.  Most people didn’t get the deals that were promised.  The only way you got those were to camp out and be the first in line.  See, it’s a bait and switch game for retailers.  They just want you in their store.  So they stock a few items for a great deal, but those disappear quickly.  Then you’re stuck buying what’s left.  On the other hand, I LOVE online shopping.  I can compare prices in minutes, and have the stuff on my doorstep within a few days.  Right now I’m eyeballing the Sony SGPT112 Tablet.  I’ve been watching these devices for a long time, hoping that one will rival the i-pad 2.  This is the one, I think.  I’m going to bite the bullet and try it.  Looks like the wife will be getting a new tablet for Christmas!  (SHHHHH…).  The tablet is on sale at Target for $500, but it’s the 16 Gb version.  For this price they are throwing in about $100(?) worth of accessories.  But I like the Amazon deal better.  I can get the 32 Gb version for $514, with no accessories.  I’ll buy those later.  You can’t add more internal memory, so I want the most possible.  Meanwhile this swanky little unit ships with Android Honeycomb.  Since we’re both used to the Android OS, it will make it a cinch to drive.  I’ll keep you posted on how this turns out.

Attacks from Russia

News, Warnings | Posted by Dennis May 23rd, 2011

Ok, so the source of the latest digital attacks has been revealed!  They are using Google API to steer people to infected sites.  The source is in Russia.  This was verified by a customer who inadvertantly gave their CC number to the critter (the one that pretends to be Antivirus), then contacted the bank.  They rejected the charges based on location.  So it seems that the Russian mob has found another way to steal lots of American money.  IF I DISAPPEAR PLEASE TELL THEM TO READ THIS!  😉   I’d say avoid Google searches altogether until they clean up their act.