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From AARP: Identity Theft: Who’s At Risk?

Identity Theft: Who’s At Risk?
Source: AARP Research

This AARP Fraud Watch Network study aimed to assess Americans’ habits around protecting their personal and financial information. Overall, the study finds that many are not taking precautions necessary to reduce their risk of identity theft.

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Pew Research Internet Project: Killer Apps in the Gigabit Age

Full Article: Killer Apps in the Gigabit Age
Source: Pew Research Internet Project

Killer Apps in a Gigabit Age: Themes

  • People’s basic interactions and their ability to ‘be together’ and collaborate will change in the age of vivid telepresence—enabling people to instantly ‘meet face-to-face’ in cyberspace with no travel necessary.
  • Augmented reality will extend people’s sense and understanding of their real-life surroundings and virtual reality will make some spaces, such as gaming worlds and other simulated environments, even more compelling places to hang out.
  • The connection between humans and technology will tighten as machines gather, assess, and display real-time personalized information in an ‘always-on’ environment. This integration will affect many activities—including thinking, the documentation of life events (‘life-logging’), and coordination of daily schedules.
  • Specific economic and social sectors will be especially impacted; health/medicine and education were mentioned often.
  • New digital divides may open as people gain opportunities on different timelines and with different tools.
  • Who knows? ‘I have no idea due to rapid change.’ ‘The best Internet apps are yet to emerge.’ ‘If I knew, I wouldn’t tell you, I would invest in it!’
  • Advances will be gradual for various reasons: Bandwidth is not the issue. The US will lag because a widespread gigabit network is not easily achieved.

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Send Your Name on NASA’s Journey to Mars, Starting with Orion’s First Flight

If only your name could collect frequent flyer miles. NASA is inviting the public to send their names on a microchip to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including Mars.

Your name will begin its journey on a dime-sized microchip when the agency’s Orion spacecraft launches Dec. 4 on its first flight, designated Exploration Flight Test-1. After a 4.5 hour, two-orbit mission around Earth to test Orion’s systems, the spacecraft will travel back through the atmosphere at speeds approaching 20,000 mph and temperatures near 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

But the journey for your name doesn’t end there. After returning to Earth, the names will fly on future NASA exploration flights and missions to Mars. With each flight, selected individuals will accrue more miles as members of a global space-faring society.

“NASA is pushing the boundaries of exploration and working hard to send people to Mars in the future,” said Mark Geyer, Orion Program manager. “When we set foot on the Red Planet, we’ll be exploring for all of humanity. Flying these names will enable people to be part of our journey.”

The deadline for receiving a personal “boarding pass” on Orion’s test flight closes Friday Oct. 31. The public will have an opportunity to keep submitting names beyond Oct. 31 to be included on future test flights and future NASA missions to Mars.

To submit your name to fly on Orion’s flight test, visit:

http://go.usa.gov/vcpz

Join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #JourneyToMars.

For information about Orion and its first flight, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/orion

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ICE expands reach of smartphone app designed to locate child predators and rescue their victims

ICE expands reach of smartphone app designed to locate child predators and rescue their victims

ICE expands reach of smartphone app designed to locate child predators and rescue their victims
Spanish, Android versions now available

  • ICE expands reach of smartphone app designed to locate child predators and rescue their victims

En Español

WASHINGTON — The first U.S. federal law enforcement app designed to seek the public’s help with fugitive and unknown suspected child predators is now available for Android smartphones, and in Spanish for both Apple and Android versions.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched the initial Operation Predator app for Apple products in September 2013. Within 36 hours of its launch, the app helped HSI special agents apprehend a suspect. The latest versions of the app are expected to significantly increase public outreach to help locate child predators and rescue their victims.

“This app is one piece of our commitment to ensuring child predators have absolutely nowhere to hide,” said Acting ICE Director Thomas Winkowski.

The Spanish language versions of the app are built-in to the iOS and Android applications and require no additional downloads. Users who already have the iOS version simply need to update the app or download it fresh from the Apple Store or iTunes.

ICE’s predator app allows users:

  • to receive alerts in their smartphones about wanted predators,
  • to share the information with friends via email and social media tools,
  • to provide information to HSI by calling or submitting an online tip, and
  • to view news about arrests and prosecutions of child predators.

The app also provides additional resources about HSI and its global partners in the fight against child exploitation.
The iOS version of the app can be downloaded from Apple’s App Store and iTunes; the Android version is available on the Google Play store.

The first ICE app released in 2013 received honorable mention for “Best App” in PR News’ 2014 Social Media Icon Awards June 2 in New York City. It was one of eight award finalists. The iOS version of the Predator app has been downloaded more than 93,400 times since its initial launch in 2013.

HSI requests anyone with information about the fugitives profiled in the app to contact the agency in one of two ways, which can both be done through the app:

  • Call the HSI Tip Line, which is staffed 24-hours a day: 866-347-2423 from the United States and Canada, or 802-872-6199 from anywhere in the world, or;
  • Complete an online tip form at www.ice.gov/tips.

Members of the public should not attempt to personally apprehend suspects.

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Microsoft Ending Support for Windows XP and Office 2003

Microsoft Ending Support for Windows XP and Office 2003 Source: U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)

Computers operating Windows XP with SP3 or running Office 2003 products will continue to work after support ends. However, using unsupported software may increase the risk of viruses and other security threats.

Users have the option to upgrade to a currently supported operating system or office productivity suite. The Microsoft “End of Support” pages for Windows XP and Office 2003 offer additional details.

There are software vendors and service providers in the marketplace who offer assistance in migrating from Windows XP or Office 2003 to a currently supported operating system or office productivity suite. US-CERT does not endorse or support any particular product or vendor.

Users who choose to continue using Windows XP after the end of support may mitigate some risks by using a web browser other than Internet Explorer. The Windows XP versions of some alternative browsers will continue to recieve support temporarily. Users should consult the support pages of their chosen alternative browser for more details.

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Monthly Cyber Security Tips Newsletter – 2014 Cyber Security Outlook

As we look ahead toward the cyber threats facing us this year, some key challenges will result from the advancements in technology that are becoming part of our daily lives. Ranging from the Internet of Things to online currencies, devices and systems have never been more interconnected. Before we adopt these new technologies, we need to ensure we understand the security implications, and have appropriate layers of defense in place.    

Below are highlights of several of these new advancements and how they may affect us:  

The Internet of Things 

What is the Internet of Things?  Put simply, the Internet enables connectivity from virtually any end-user device or thing. The latest trend is connecting things such as small appliances, refrigerators, personal medical devices, wearable health trackers, and many other items. 

One of the most common examples of how the Internet of Things impacts our daily lives is the automobile, which has become a sophisticated computer device. Researchers have demonstrated the ability to hack an automobile’s systems to control the brakes, steering wheel, and even shut down the engine. Numerous discussion forums focus on the use of vehicle-to-vehicle (or V2V) technology, which will allow vehicles to talk to each other via wireless connectivity. 

Bluetooth, a standard feature in many automobiles with options to include a personal hotspot, can allow a modern smartphone to connect to the automobile’s stereo system to receive continuous Twitter feeds, or a system that may allow a technician to provide assistance in case of emergencies. Researchers have discovered ways to inject malicious codes/programs through CD players or iPod connectors. Theoretically, an infected song on your iPod or CD, when played in your automobile, potentially can spread malicious code from the automobile’s entertainment network to other components of the automobile without many restrictions. 

In another example of how the Internet of Things can impact us is from a recent news story that suggested electric tea kettles and other small appliances were able to exploit unencrypted WiFi and send data back to foreign servers [1].  

Internet-connected devices that are able to process sensitive personal information tend to be high priority targets for cyber criminals. It will become increasingly critical in 2014 to protect these devices from unintended or unauthorized connectivity. 

Bitcoins 

A Bitcoin is a digital currency stored in a downloadable wallet on a user’s personal computer or with an online wallet service provider. Each wallet has a unique identifier that allows users to transfer bitcoins to other users’ wallets. Bitcoin is a decentralized, peer-to-peer payment system, currently with no regulatory authority. It is gaining popularity, with mainstream businesses adopting it as an alternative form of payment or investment.      

 While the long-term use of Bitcoin is uncertain, for at least the near term in 2014, the increasing adoption and publicity will continue to draw the interest of cyber criminals who target Bitcoin users’ wallets for theft, or compromise systems to generate bitcoins via malware infection.      

 Mobile Transaction Risks 

 Every new smartphone, tablet or other mobile device provides an opportunity for a potential cyber attack. New features such as Near Field Communications (NFC), as well as AirDrop and Passbook for Apple, will continue to expand in 2014, increasing the opportunities for cyber criminals to exploit weaknesses. NFC and AirDrop allow for similarly configured smartphones to communicate with each other by simply touching another smartphone, or being in proximity to another smartphone. This technology is being used for credit card purchases, boarding passes, and file sharing, and will most likely be incorporated into other uses in 2014.     

 Risks of these technologies could include eavesdropping (through which the cyber criminal can intercept data transmission such as credit card numbers) and transferring viruses or other malware from one NFC/AirDrop-enabled device to another.  

 Summary 

 Before adopting any of the myriad new technologies that are rapidly being deployed, it’s important to understand the implications and risks. While interconnectivity can yield many benefits, the risk could outweigh the benefit if the devices, systems, and technologies are not properly secured.  

 Additional Resources: 

 NYS Office of Information Technology Services Enterprise Information Security Office Newsletters : http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ocs/awareness-training-events/news/

Georgia Tech: Emerging Cyber Threats Report:  http://www.gtsecuritysummit.com/2014Report.pdf

 Sophos: Security Threat Report 2014  http://www.sophos.com/en-us/threat-center/security-threat-report.aspx

 Websense: 2014 Security Predictions  http://www.websense.com/2014predictions?cmpid=prnr11.14.13

 Symantec: 2014 Predications http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/2014-predictions-symantec-0

 [1] http://www.businessinsider.com/russia-claims-china-bugged-tea-kettles-2013-10#ixzz2nM6vxMX8

    Disclaimer: These links are provided because they have information that may be useful. The Center for Internet Security (CIS) does not warrant the accuracy of any information contained in the links and neither endorses nor intends to promote the advertising of the resources listed herein. The opinions and statements contained in such resources are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the opinions of CIS. 

 

Brought to you by: the Center for Internet Security  

 William F. Pelgrin, President and CEO 

 www.cis.security.org

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