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Category Archives: PC Security

Half of all Phishing Sites Now Have the Padlock

Krebs on Security – “Maybe you were once advised to “look for the padlock” as a means of telling legitimate e-commerce sites from phishing or malware traps. Unfortunately, this has never been more useless advice. New research indicates that half of all phishing scams are now hosted on Web sites whose Internet address includes the padlock and begins with “https://”. Recent data from anti-phishing company PhishLabs shows that 49 percent of all phishing sites in the third quarter of 2018 bore the padlock security icon next to the phishing site domain name as displayed in a browser address bar. That’s up from 25 percent just one year ago, and from 35 percent in the second quarter of 2018. This alarming shift is notable because a majority of Internet users have taken the age-old “look for the lock” advice to heart, and still associate the lock icon with legitimate sites. A PhishLabs survey conducted last year found more than 80% of respondents believed the green lock indicated a website was either legitimate and/or safe.

In reality, the https:// part of the address (also called “Secure Sockets Layer” or SSL) merely signifies the data being transmitted back and forth between your browser and the site is encrypted and can’t be read by third parties. The presence of the padlock does not mean the site is legitimate, nor is it any proof the site has been security-hardened against intrusion from hackers…”

How to Tell if Your Account Has Been Hacked

Motherboard – How to check if your Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other accounts have been hacked. “Hackers routinely target high profile victims like politicians or wealthy cryptocurrency investors. But you could become a target too. Maybe an abusive former partner wants to stalk you, or a run-of-the-mill cybercriminal wants to get into your bank… Continue Reading

US-CERT issues guide on how to properly dispose of your electronic devices

ZDNet – “Over the past few years, there have been numerous reports, and studies about how second-hand devices that have been put up for sale still contained information from previous owners, exposing those individuals to scams, blackmailing, or identity theft. This week, the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), a division part of the… Continue Reading

GAO – Actions Taken by Equifax and Federal Agencies in Response to the 2017 Breach

Data Protection: Actions Taken by Equifax and Federal Agencies in Response to the 2017 Breach. GAO-18-559: Published: Aug 30, 2018. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 2018: Hackers stole the personal data of nearly 150 million people from Equifax databases in 2017. How did Equifax, a consumer reporting agency, respond to that event? Equifax said that it… Continue Reading

DHS announces US critical infrastructure at risk from Russia

WSJ – DHS Forms New Cyber Hub to Protect Critical U.S. Infrastructure Secretary Nielsen Says ‘Our Intelligence Community Had it Right’ About Russian Interference – What What What ⸮⸮⸮ [see my previous posting about this punctuation mark] As this article is behind a paywall – you may want to avail yourself via US-CERT of the… Continue Reading

These are the websites your clean-install Windows PC connects to by itself

MSPoweruser: “Since the release of Windows 10, Microsoft has been accused of breaching privacy and connecting users to services without proper disclosure. The company now has released a list of websites and services that a Windows PC connects to after a clean install. The list mostly consists of Microsoft services which provide data endpoints to… Continue Reading

Chrome is flagging HTTP sites as “not secure”

In case you have not noticed, your workplace security team has no doubt started blocking your access to websites that are not using HTTPS encryption – via ZDNet: “Chrome will today start marking sites that don’t use HTTPS as “not secure. First announced two years ago, Google said it would flag any site that still… Continue Reading

Getting a password manager is the most important way to improve your online security

Washington Post – “…After testing password managers that work across browsers and devices, I recommend one called Dashlane. It’s the one simple enough that you’re likely to stick with it, though its features are neck and neck with rivals 1Password and LastPass, which are also fine choices. Dashlane, used by 10 million people, is free… Continue Reading

Whistleblower’s guilty plea and unmistakable trail of watermarks

Axios: “Reality Winner has pleaded guilty: “All of my actions I did willfully, meaning I did so of my own free will,” she told a court on Tuesday, per the New York Times‘ report. The former Air Force linguist earned the distinction of being the first person prosecuted by the Trump administration on charges of… Continue Reading

NYT: ‘Firefox Is Back. It’s Time to Give It a Try.’

As a decade long user of Firefox I am not sure why users have been so averse to dropping Chrome – perhaps this New York Times review will help you make the switch now: “Tech Review: After testing Firefox for the last three months, I found it to be on a par with Chrome in… Continue Reading

Federal Cybersecurity Risk Determination Report and Action Plan

NextGov: “Many federal agencies don’t know how hackers are targeting them, can’t tell when hackers steal large amounts of their data and aren’t efficiently spending the cybersecurity money they have, according to a report and action plan released last week. Roughly three-quarters of federal agencies’ cybersecurity programs are currently “at risk” or “at high risk,”… Continue Reading

UK – Internet Safety Strategy green paper

“The Internet Safety Strategy looks at how we can ensure Britain is the safest place in the world to be online. The Strategy considers the responsibilities of companies to their users, the use of technical solutions to prevent online harms and government’s role in supporting users. The consultation covered various aspects of online safety including:… Continue Reading