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Uncle DDoS’d, Talking TVs and a Hug

Information security is one of those areas where a lot is always happening

Information security is one of those areas where a lot is always happening. From breaches to vulnerabilities to scams to anything else that’s designed to store, protect or even attack and pilfer our sensitive information, information security encompasses a lot of things. A Three Ring Circus, Three Little Pigs, The Three Stooges and when three different stories grab my attention, well I just gotta share.

SCMagazine.com had an interesting story yesterday talking about how two servers designed to prevent DDoS attacks were, themselves, used in a DDoS attack. Incapsula reported that it had to fend off a sizable DDoS attack that was launched using high-capacity servers hijacked from a DDoS protection services provider. The attack itself was against an online gaming site and the attackers actually hijacked and commandeered two high capacity servers from a DDoS protection service provider to spearhead the attack. The service provider was so focused on incoming traffic, they had to be notified to take a look at the massive outgoing traffic being sent. While the DDoS protection market has grown with many outsourcing solutions, it is still a shared service. Remember the old tiered-hosting-separated-by-a-partition days? Even if you are not the target, you still might be caught up in it if your neighbor is.

Next up is security experts at NCC Group said SmartTVs with built-in microphones and storage can be turned into bugging devices by malware and used to record conversations. Not to mention remotely turning on the TV camera at will. They did need physical access to the TV to install the malware but as more TV apps get developed, it is conceivable that a malicious app could be downloaded to the TV for the same purpose. They demonstrated how they could capture 30 seconds of buffered mic audio but could have also manipulated more to use internal storage and send the audio files to an awaiting server. NCC engineers wanted to highlight the security shortcomings on the home front of the Internet of Things. Start to get used to no privacy in the privacy of your home.

And last but certainly not least, Thieves steal ID and credit card data with a hug. OK, I’m Hawaiian and we are a bunch of huggers so this is interesting. Apparently a Georgia woman was approached at a gas station by another woman begging for some money so she could put gas in her car. The kind, generous woman gave the crooked lady $20. With a full Oscar nominated performance, the crooked lady wept with joy and wanted to thank the generous one with a hug. Embrace ensued. So touched by the gesture, the man with the crooked lady got out of the car and also wanted to physically thank the Samaritan. The next morning she realized why they wanted to hug her when she discovered that $3000 was gone from her bank account. $2400 from a grocery store and another $200 plus from ATMs. The thieves got close so they could scan her for RFID enabled cards. She had her credit cards in her front pocket and was scanned during the not so loving embrace. Well that sucks. The cool thing is that the woman is not jaded and will continue to help others. Nice.

And to those I know: If we typically hug when we see each other, I promise won’t be scanning your pockets.

ps

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More Stories By Peter Silva

Peter Silva covers security for F5’s Technical Marketing Team. After working in Professional Theatre for 10 years, Peter decided to change careers. Starting out with a small VAR selling Netopia routers and the Instant Internet box, he soon became one of the first six Internet Specialists for AT&T managing customers on the original ATT WorldNet network.

Now having his Telco background he moved to Verio to focus on access, IP security along with web hosting. After losing a deal to Exodus Communications (now Savvis) for technical reasons, the customer still wanted Peter as their local SE contact so Exodus made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. As only the third person hired in the Midwest, he helped Exodus grow from an executive suite to two enormous datacenters in the Chicago land area working with such customers as Ticketmaster, Rolling Stone, uBid, Orbitz, Best Buy and others.

Bringing the slightly theatrical and fairly technical together, he covers training, writing, speaking, along with overall product evangelism for F5’s security line. He's also produced over 200 F5 videos and recorded over 50 audio whitepapers. Prior to joining F5, he was the Business Development Manager with Pacific Wireless Communications. He’s also been in such plays as The Glass Menagerie, All’s Well That Ends Well, Cinderella and others. He earned his B.S. from Marquette University, and is a certified instructor in the Wisconsin System of Vocational, Technical & Adult Education.

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