Friday, April 6, 2012

Social Engineering and Hackers - Mobile Apps and Cyber Attacks

As any computer security consultant will tell you that one of the biggest challenges are insiders being duped by social engineering tactics, and once the hackers get in, well, then it's very difficult to prevent them from doing real damage or infiltrating data, or collecting boatloads of proprietary information. The other day, I was discussing all this with an acquaintance, after I explained why I could not open a file which was sent to me.

At first, he thought I was a bit paranoid, although I just consider it to be disciplined, as it only takes one mistake and that's easy to do. Eventually he saw my point, and I stated; yes, well, I guess we can't be too careful, the hackers are just as smart as we are, and "social engineering" is pretty easy to do, especially living in such a great country and free society.

He also asked why we didn't have web forms on our website. Well, we removed the web-forms after the massive bot attacks by hackers, mostly Russian and Eastern Europe, then the spam bots, it became almost impossible to deal with, 100s per day at one point, and we added "captcha" and still had folks entering by hand I am guessing, amazing the trouble they went to, including attempts at denial of service trying to overload us.

So, what's the answer, do we cut off or curtail communication to the point where we limit ourselves, do we take more risks, less risks, give up, or just stop communication? Well, perhaps, it is similar to the security settings on your web browser, you have many choices, many of which totally limit your ability to adequately surf online. Meanwhile, perhaps the biggest recent problem is all these apps available now for mobile communication, and all the tracking software to deliver appropriate advertising and marketing.

Too many of these apps, allow tracking too far deep into the users activities, meanwhile if the user is interfacing with secure websites, using temporary secure access certificates the app allows it to ride along and infiltrate, causing massive chaos considering how many apps there are and how many users are using so many various mobile devices out there these days. Combine that with careless users with ridiculously easy passwords and social engineering, and what you have is a recipe for disaster to the hackers delight.

Maybe it's time you became better educated on computer safety online, and with your own software programs so that you understand your vulnerabilities out there. Please consider all this and think on it.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Internet Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

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