“Cyber Security” or “Cybersecurity” ?

“Cybersecurity” and “cyber security” are getting more and more mixed usage lately, so much that they are becoming almost as ambiguous as the term “cloud” was a few years back. The challenge information security executives and professionals are faced with is knowing  ̶  as the title implies  ̶  when and why the term should be used and how it should be presented, as a single word or two. While there isn’t any recognized authority on the subject per se, there are at least some credible sources providing guidance that can help those of us in the industry to decide on “when, why and how” to use the term. Read more here   Conclusion: Cybersecurity is the right term!    

Is eBay actually supporting phishing?

From time to time I am wondering if these guys (I am thinking at eBay, PayPal, Amazon, some banks) are actually trying to help phishers to do their “jobs”. The email you seen in the screenshot is a 100% authentic email from eBay Germany. I am being asked, you guessed right, to “protect my eBay account”. “Dear <user>, you have not updated your personal data since more than a year. In order to have your personal data up to date, help us to protect your eBay account better”. Sounds good, right? Please check your personal ebay information and make sure that they are up to date. Please ignore this message if you have updated your data recently.”   Same as 99.99% of the phishing emails. I couldn’t believe my eyes either, so I checked the headers of the email:   Useless to say, this is against their own policies mentioned here in German and in English here This is the link behind the button: It is true that their email is: addressing me personally, using my eBay account is not urgent, is not threatening it doesn’t have attachments, but it has pictures but, there are some elements that make…

What is Strategic Product Management and why do we need it in the security industry

“Strategic Product Management” is, first of all, a buzz word. A hype, if you want. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t need it. Most technology companies have a product management department that should act as the “voice of the customer” on one side and translating their finding into requirements on the other side. I won’t go into the debate if this makes sense or not. Read here about Product Manager, Product Marketing Manager and Technical Product Manager. PMs typically generate an extensive roadmap of new products and enhancements which almost always never get implemented. But is product management really being used strategically? For example, what is the product strategy that is driving roadmap priorities? And how is the product strategy linked to the company’s overall strategy? Aha, you see where I am going, right? So, in order to make a Product Manager do a good job, he needs to follow a strategy. What is a “good job”, you may ask. A PM’s job is any or all (depending what you understand that the job description of a PM is) of: identify problems identify target customers and markets define solutions for the the problems by talking to the customers check if the solution…

Phishing created for Apple’s mobile devices

I received last night an email pretending to come from Apple’s support. But, it is badly made if you see it in an email client. Dear Customer AppleID14028364ca Due to recent updates we are asking many of our customers to confirm their information this is nothing to worry about. We are making sure we have the correct information on file and that you are the rightful account holder. Failure to comply with this may result in your account being suspended. Once completed you may resume to use your account as normal and we would like to thank you for taking time out of your day to confirm your information. Verify Now > Wondering why you got this email? This email was sent automatically during routine security checks. We are not completely satisfied with your account information and require you to update your account to continue using our services uninterrupted. For more information, see our frequently asked questions. Thanks, Apple Customer Support TM and Copyright © 2015 Apple Inc. 31-33, rue Sainte Zithe, L-2763 Canada. All rights reserved / Keep Informed / Privacy Policy / My Apple ID   However, the email looks pretty different if you see it on a…

No Image

FritzBox users: protect your network for free!

If you are living in Germany, Austria or Switzerland, there is a high chance that you are using one of the AVM’s FritzBox for your broadband connection. The FritzBox is a very small device which runs a PowerPC processor and between 16 and 32 MB RAM. This is almost nothing! So, you can’t install antivirus or some security solution to filter the URLs you visit via this device. There is, however, a very easy and good way to protect your network. All new models of FritzBox have the possibility to set a special DNS server which can be used for various other purposes, other than simple DNS. For example, using OpenDNS you can filter the DNS requests which point to malware, phishing and other potentially unwanted websites (a basic parental control). The good part is that it is very, very simple to configure this great feature. Here is how in English/German: Login on your Go to Internet->Connection data / Internet->Zugangsdaten Click on DNS Server / Klick auf DNS-Server Choose Alternative DNS Server / Wähle “Andere DNSv4-Server Write the IPs: / Schreibe diese IP Adressen: Click on Apply / Klick auf Übernehmen The is the Google DNS server which has also a…

No Image

How much is a blog instance worth?

I wrote in the post  Do you really know who’s visiting your website? about how often hackers probe my websites. IT Security News has of today this: 5,914 blocked malicious login attempts / was 2092 on May 8th 2,182 spam comments blocked by Akismet. / was 2115 on May 8th The login attempts more than doubled in just 5 weeks. Of course, they are all automated attacks, so we can’t really speak of an effort from anyone’s site.   Why ? If a hacker “owns” a website he is able to do a few things:  Change content and possible deliver malware to your readers Host individual “sub-pages” or “sub-websites” in your blog and reference them from email campaigns or post spams. Send mail from your blog to just anyone, but the worst is when it sends to your subscribers. All are very bad things as they ruin your website’s reputation and drives your visitors away. And they can happen all together or just any combination of them.   What can you do? It turns out that you can do quite a lot of things: don’t user the default admin account  (WordPress: admin) set a hard to guess password keep your blog and its extensions/plugins up to date don’t install…

No Image

Every minute invested in planning, saves you 10 in implementation

I have no idea who came with this statistic, but I can confirm that it is true !   The example below doesn’t want to explain how to search for strings nor how to use TDD, but to demonstrate that a bit of planning in advance can really speed things up!   I was in need of a way to search in a pretty complex data structure for a complicated string (letters, numbers, symbols), but not by doing an exact search. Instead I was looking like a search similar to how humans apply a “looks like” algorithm. So, I was trying to implement some heuristics.   Having TDD (Test Driven Development) in mind, I created a test program and I was planning to enhance the algorithm while I was feeding it with values. So, I immediately identified a few patterns that were rather trivial to implement and without thinking too much, I actually started to implement them.   How useless ! After more than 30 min of implementing, I started to scratch my head because I was identifying more and more cases that didn’t match those patterns. Needless to say, my TDD-like attempt failed miserably! (Yes, I know, TDD, is more complex than this)…

No Image

Heise is offering IT Security consulting for free. But should you trust them?

        Heise created a portal for companies to assess their IT security. Details can be found here:  You don’t have to register to take part of the survey which assesses your company’s security. If you want anonymity, check this page. It is important to mention who sponsored the initiative: Sophos, Baramundi, GateProtect, Fortinet, Microsoft, Telekom and others. So, I think we can expect a not-so-independent opinion about your security standpoint. But, hey, it is better than nothing ! However, the first thing you see when you go to the page is this:   Come on Heise… you have good sponsors, do a proper testing. The funny thing is that the problem above occurs only when using Chrome and IE. Firefox doesn’t report anything strange with the certificate.  

No Image

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month – Tips to improve your security

October is the Cybersecurity Awareness month. Awareness is the key to help others to not fall for the most scams. Here is a short list with tips to help you not fall prey to the online predators. A lot more like this is available in the free eBook: Improve your Security   ### Never open attachments from an email. Email was not invented for sending files and definitely not programs or archives with programs in them. Also pictures in emails are pretty deceiving because they might mask malicious actions. ### Don’t respond to unsolicited emails. If you receive an automated email that you did not subscribe to, do not respond or unsubscribe. This only signals to a spammer that you received and opened that email, and you will receive even more spams. ### Never purchase anything from a spam email. The offers in spam emails can often seem too good to be true – and they usually are! Avoid purchasing any product or service from a questionable email or offer. ### Don’t click on links in emails if they ask you to do something urgent. No matter how urgent a message appears to be or how unbelievable an offer (that…

%d bloggers like this: