Tech Friday

  • Free tools used to hack you:
    • Cyber security agencies from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the US and UK (the Five I's) recently reported that hackers are often using freely available hacking tools
    • The report said "Experience from all our countries makes it clear that, while cyber actors continue to develop their capabilities, they still make use of established tools and techniques. Even the most sophisticated groups use common, publicly-available tools to achieve their objectives"
    • The UK's National Cyber Security Agency indicated that the list is not exhaustive and is designed to raise awareness about these tools and help professionals defend against them
    • The report said "Tools and techniques for exploiting networks and the data they hold are by no means the preserve of nation states, or criminals on the Dark Web"
    • The tools include:
      • Remote Access Trojan: aka RAT is surreptitiously installed malware that opens a backdoor for attackers to monitor activity, steal data and execute commands
      • Ransomware: Encrypt data and hold it hostage for a ransom
      • Network scanner: Used to map a network, can be used to find systems that can be targeted
      • Vulnerability testing: Used to identify vulnerabilities in a system
      • Penetration testing: Used by ethical (white hat) hackers to test systems, but can also be used by the bad guys to breach systems
      • Obfuscation tools: Tools designed to cover the tracks of hackers
    • Recommendations to protect against these tools include:
      • Multi-factor authentication (2FA)
      • Strong unique passwords
      • Updates and patches
      • Anti-virus software
      • Firewalls
      • Intrusion Detection Systems
  • Travelers will be questioned by an AI lie detector in the EU:
    • Some border checkpoints in the EU will soon be using AI to interrogate travelers at border crossing points
    • Thei BorderCtrl system will be deployed by Hungarian National Police at four different border crossing points for a six month pilot
    • The system will ask travelers questions while recording and analyzing their faces for 38 "micro-gestures" that indicate deceit
    • iBorderCtrl is customized for a traveler’s language, gender and ethnicity
    • A QR code that allows the traveler to pass through will be given to those that pass the test
    • For those that don't pass, human agents will intervene 
    • A report in New Scientist said that while this program is in pilot, it will not solely be used to stop border crossings
    • Project coordinator George Boultadakis of European Dynamics said "We’re employing existing and proven technologies—as well as novel ones—to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks"
    • Boultadakis also said " iBorderCtrl  will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit"
    • “If you ask people to lie, they will do it differently and show very different behavioral cues than if they truly lie, knowing that they may go to jail or face serious consequences if caught" - Maja Pantic, Professor of Affective and Behavioral Computing at Imperial College London
    • The system that iBorderCtrl is based on only had a 76% accuracy rate in very limited testing
  • A national privacy law battle is brewing:
    • California passed what is now the country's toughest privacy law in June of this year
    • The California Consumer Privacy Act (AB 375) allows users to ask what data a company has collected on them and if and to whom the data has been sold 
    • It forces businesses to be more transparent and gives users unprecedented control over their PII
    • AB 375 ends the current business model of the Internet in which you are the product, not the customer
    • Privacy advocates strongly supported the new law. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), said "This is a milestone moment for privacy law in the United States"
    • Not surprisingly, the tech titans fought the bill. The Internet Association, a lobbying group representing them said "It is critical going forward that policymakers work to correct the inevitable, negative policy and compliance ramifications this last-minute deal will create for California's consumers and businesses alike"
    • The tech titans are worried that this bill will set a precedent for other states which will lead to a large number of varying state regulations that are difficult to deal with
    • This concern has led to an effort to get Congress to pass a national privacy law that would supersede state laws
    • Privacy advocates are naturally skeptical of the industry proposals and fear that the titans will lobby for a watered down bill that does little to protect privacy
    • Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) said "They do not want effective oversight. They do not want regulation of their business practices, which is really urgently needed"
    • "They see federal law as an opportunity to preempt stronger rules" - Jeff Chester
    • The Senate Commerce Committee chairman Senator John Thune (SD) is preparing a privacy bill
    • Executives from Google, Apple, AT&T and other tech titans are scheduled to testify before the Senate Commerce Committee soon
    • Privacy groups are planning to work together to support strong privacy and transparency protections
    • Learn more about California's new law here: https://www.cnet.com/news/californias-new-data-privacy-law-the-toughest-in-the-us/
Brian Thomas

Brian Thomas

Based in Cincinnati, OH, the Brian Thomas Morning Show covers news and politics, both local and national, from a conservative point of view. Read more

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