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Cyber Security Threats We Learned About at Black Hat

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Every year, one of the biggest computer security conferences takes place in Las Vegas known as Black Hat Briefings.

This conference brings together security consultants, hackers, corporations, and government agencies from around the world.

The attendees are people interested in cyber security ranging from executives, hackers, and industry leading security professionals.

The thing about the Black Hat Conference is that the most dangerous threat to people attending isn’t criminals targeting tourists. No, the biggest threat is the attendees themselves. In fact, Black Hat is famous for hacking incidents.

One year, three French reporters sniffed a private network that other reporters at the conference were using. Sniffing a network means hacking into the network so you can see everything broadcast on the specific internet network.

According to a Black Hat spokeswoman, the three reporters gathered log-in data from reporters in the Black Hat press room and tried to post the data publicly.

In other words, some of the press reporters logged into the Wi-Fi network without using a VPN (virtual private network) or any security measures, which exposed all their log-in credentials to the three French reporters who were sniffing the network.

The problem was the private network was supposed to be off limits for the Black Hat attendees.

The bad thing for the French reporters is that sniffing is considered illegal under federal law, which requires one party in a communication to be aware that monitoring is occurring.

Although the wireless network at Black Hat is known to be a hostile network and people who use it expect it to be scanned by hackers, reporters in the press room have an expectation of secure communication on the private network that conference organizers set up specifically for them to use.

The Black Hat spokeswoman said the three reporters didn’t try to hide how they obtained the information and were honest with administrators about where they collected information.

When questioned about their activity, the reporters said they wanted to educate other reporters to surf the internet more securely.

They told administrators that many reporters covering the last Olympics weren’t aware of the measures they need to take to secure their communications.

They wanted to use the Black Hat Conference as an example for the security dangers reporters face.

The latest Black Hat conference took place the first week of August and the best hackers in the world didn’t disappoint. Here are a few things shared at the conference…

Fake Phones. There has been a rise in sales of low-cost fake smartphones from China. These phones typically cost about $50 and come preloaded with malware and other viruses for no extra charge.

The fake iPhone is incredibly well made for a phony and it runs a modified version of Android that is very hard to differentiate from the real iOS.

It even has a carefully made fake compass app along with other standard iPhone apps.

In other words, next time you are in the market for a new phone I would recommend buying a phone from a major cell phone service provider and never purchase one from websites such as Amazon or eBay.

Stop relying on GPS. GPS is convenient and it gets you where you need to go without you having to keep a map in your car at all times.

The problem is, these days, GPS are easily spoofed, and that’s dangerous if you rely on GPS every time you get in your car. During Black Hat, hackers were able to alter navigation signals by hacking into the computers inside cars.

These types of hacks could potentially lead to your GPS leading you down a very hazardous path.

For this reason, I would always keep a paper map in your vehicle and just don’t blindly follow your GPS.

Russia is using the internet as a weapon. It’s no secret that Russia is using the internet in their attempts to interfere with politics.

Russia is also highly focused on weaponizing the internet and the nation has a plethora of intelligence agencies that are jostling for position to be the best hackers in the world.

At Black Hat, researchers examined how new Russian laws are making it harder to police internet activity within the country. Basically, Russia is building a sort of internal internet, designed to operate even when cut off from the international web.

This internal internet will make it harder to stop Russian websites that carry out illegal activity, even when the activity is done by Russian intelligence.

My point is, America will continue to be the main target of Russian hackers, so make sure you are using a VPN, and enabling other cyber security measures.

As technology continues to evolve so will the methods and madness behind cyber-attacks.

Every day, citizens face a magnitude of threats when it comes to using the internet, so make sure you are taking the proper security steps to keep yourself safe.

 

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