Saturday, August 23, 2014

Hacking cannot be stopped. You want to know why?

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For many years now, I and many others in the security market as well as law enforcement have been sharing our thoughts on the issue of government placing critical infrastructure on the Internet.

Recently, on our GKO Technology Group on Facebook I featured 15 related posts for group members to ponder. I'll follow up with a few words of wisdom of my own.

Here the titles and links to these stories:

Hackers, Bots, Bluehost, and Me (Read it Now!)
US Companies Can't Protect Citizens? Chinese Hackers Steal 4.5 Million Patients Info... (Read it Now!)
Thousands of Havering residents targeted bhy Internet hackers (Read it Now!)
Marathon-style hacker competition draws 600 teams worldwide (Read it Now!)
2 Phone Hackers Out of Jail Already (Read it Now!)
Hackers hit the garden with new award-winning app that tells you what grows best in your backyard (Read it Now!)
Hackers could use smartphone gyroscopes to eavesdrop on private conversations (Read it Now!)
Hackers' bazaar raises threats to security (Read it Now!)
Protecting their (and your) data -- keeping hackers at bay (Read it Now!)
Chinese hackers targeted MH 370 investigation and appear to have stolen classified documents (Read it Now!)
Pro-Palestinian Hackers Deface Delaware State Treasury Site (Read it Now!)
Hackers Successfully Attacked U.S. Nuclear Agency Three Times in Three Years (Read it Now!)
Hospital hack 'exploited Heartbleed' (Read it Now!)

For those of you who many not know this, but there was a day before the Internet where gov't and private firms used leased telephone lines to send data back and forth between offices and the like. You had to gain access to the physical phone line or the Bell company office before you could gain access to that data.

So now, here we have a GLOBALLY CONNECTED database that ANYONE from ANYWHERE across the Earth can try their luck at penetration. ANYONE FROM ANYWHERE!!!

"At the end of 2010, the volume of stored data worldwide totaled 1.2 million petabytes (1 petabyte equals 1 million gigabytes), according to the 2010 IDC Digital Universe Study, conducted by technology researcher IDC. That's a 50 percent rise from the year before" (Source: Storage Cheat Sheet, CDW Small Business Solutions, August 2014).

Do you not get it yet? The stories above are about hackers and their efforts, successes, and the failure of governments and private sector concerns to successfully stop them. As I said yesterday, no matter how good you think you are, there's always someone better out there and they're going to kick your butt!!! If not today, perhaps tomorrow.

Putting critical infrastructure on the Internet is not only dumb, but it's plain stupid. It's like putting a sign on your back that says, "I dare you to kick me." Someone's going to do it. You can count on it!


For the serious researcher:
ToganX.Info

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

Twitter: No Social Network Should Tolerate Cyber Bullying

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I know there are those who believe people should be able to tweet whatever their little evil hearts desire. But, there is a point we can reach where meanness cannot be tolerated in social networking environments. It is the responsibility of Twitter to stop cyber bullying where it comes to their own domain. They failed to do so. Lessons learned, I suppose.

Twitter reviewing policies after Robin Williams' daughter harassed

(CNN) -- Twitter is looking to revamp its user-protection policies after Zelda Williams, the daughter of comedian Robin Williams, was run off of the social site by abuse in the wake of her father's apparent suicide.

"We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter," Del Harvey, Twitter's vice president of trust and safety, said in a statement. "We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one. http://ow.ly/AlAKt


For the serious researcher:
ToganX.Info

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Monday, August 11, 2014

A Good Example of Biased News in Ferguson, Missouri

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The shooting of a young 18-year-old black man in Ferguson, Missouri, has the predominantly black residents of that small town of 21,000 in an uproar. Police claim the young man struck an officer, which lead to gun fire.

A young friend who was walking with the victim disagrees. He claims that police officers fired upon his friend when he refused to move from the middle of the highway.

In a local television interview, the friend who was walking with him, Dorian Johnson, said the officer opened fire when the young men refused to move from the middle of the street to the sidewalk. He said Mr. Brown’s hands were over his head. The autopsy showed Mr. Brown was shot a number of times. (click to read more.)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has launched an investigation with regards to possible excessive force on the part of the police officer after 32 hours of violence in the town. Evidently a good number of the demonstrators who have been demonstrating on the streets of Ferguson against a predominately white police force also decided to help themselves to whatever they wanted at the expense of local businesses by looting and plundering.

As a writer (trade journalist and former newspaper features writer and correspondent), when I read this story I am struck by the manner in which the writer has focused on civil rights and not the shooting.

Although the shooting and the death of this 18-year-old black man is the vehicle upon which the writer delivers his largely anti-white, anti-law enforcement biased story, the brunt of his dribble is all about race, discrimination, and the suggestion that the predominantly white city workers are racists in all dealing with the citizenry of Ferguson.

My conclusion... although this sells copy, it's wrong. In this case, dead wrong.


For the serious researcher:
ToganX.Info

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dr. Robert Beck on "The Beck Protocol"

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Robert Beck is no longer with us, but the fruits of his lifetime of effort in health-related electronics does.

The Beck Protocol is a formula for health. Those who follow it can attest to the healing and sustaining power behind Beck's efforts.

Some say that those who take a few minutes to watch these videos will reap a lifetime of health. --Al Colombo


For the serious researcher:
ToganX.Info

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Zack Taylor, Retired Border Patrol Agent, on the Lack of Sensible Security on our Border

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This video is informative and should be watched by everyone, especially those who have no idea what border security is about. As Border patrolman Taylor can tell you, our national security hinges on a secure southern border!

Those who have followed my work know that I have said several times that the top agenda is depopulation. What this means is the act of getting rid of millions of people--and the United states is at this time the primary target. If you stand back and look at the actions of this administration, it would appear that this assessment may very well be accurate. Put it together and figure it out for yourself.

For now, please listen to Zach Taylor....


For the serious researcher:
ToganX.Info

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Saturday, July 5, 2014

The Attack of the Personal Drone

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According to CNN Technology News, "A growing number of aerial photography hobbyists are using cameras mounted on remote-controlled airplanes and helicopters to shoot some stunning bird’s eye footage and photos." (source)

Most of us with any sense have been naturally concerned with the advent and increase of drone use in the hands of Big Brother. But once you read this CNN report, I have to admit, we probably have more to worry about concerning private use of this technology than government use.

Let's say you're a beautiful woman living on the third floor of an apartment building with nothing over two levels all around you. Your natural tendency would be to leave the drapes open day and night because there's no one out there who can actually peer in--but think again....

Or let's say you're a private kind of guy and you made it a point to buy a ranch or farm out in the middle of nowhere where your lane down to the township's dirt road is a half mile long. Let's add to that a nosy neighbor who decides to park along the same township road and use his handy, dandy radio-controlled helicopter with a camera on it to investigate what exactly you're up to back there.

Traditional American society prides itself on the right to personal privacy. Although our Constitution does not guarantee personal privacy, the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights somewhat does.

Amendment 4. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. (Source)

Of course, something we tend to forget, these amendments as well as the Constitution were written and enacted to limit federal authority. So specific laws at the state level have been, or will be written to address this issue I'm certain.

  • For a list of other historical documents, click here.

In conclusion, the way I view this is simply this: When someone uses a drone to look in on my life, they are as good as a Peeping Tom.

What does society do with Peeping Toms? We prosecute them and stick them in jail. So, those who are caught using personal drones for such purposes should be prosecuted and stuck in jail.


For personal security information and products,
visit www.OhioHootOwl.com.

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Contraceptives: The High Court Gets It Right!

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As you probably already have heard, the High Court ruled that closely-held corporations with limited numbers of stockholders do not have to pay for their employee's contraceptives.

My thoughts on this is the High Court got it right this time when they ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby.

"The Supreme Court put freedom of religion above reproductive freedom Monday in the most closely watched case of its term, ruling that companies cannot be forced to offer insurance coverage for certain birth control methods they equate with abortion," says Richard Wolf, USA TODAY (read more).

The question is, why should a small business of any kind have to violate the unified religious views of its owners by paying for contraceptives? My thought is that if employees don't like this, they have the right to go work elsewhere.

Hillary Clinton Disagrees
“I disagree with the reasoning as well as the conclusion,” Clinton said Monday, speaking at the Aspen Ideas Festival carried live on Facebook. “It’s the first time that our court has said that a closely held corporation has the rights of a person when it comes to religious freedom,” says Hillary Rodam Clinton. “I find it deeply disturbing we are going in that direction” read more).

Of course, once again, Hillary has it wrong. Aren't you so glad we do not live in a dictatorship (yet)?


For personal security information and products,
visit www.OhioHootOwl.com.

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Report Outlines Extent to Which NSA is Spying on Society

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Spying has never been a pretty business. Those who do it for a living eventually accept it as a necessary evil. I suppose we should also--that is if we're really concerned about terrorism on this nation's soil.

With all of that said, however, it's obvious that there must be constraints in place that seek to prevent those who actively monitor society from misusing and abusing this technological power; and might I add that this tremendous power resides with the smallest of the small among those who work in the intelligence business.

Recently a report was released by the National Security Agency (NSA) that outlines its own spying activities.

The U.S. government on Friday for the first time released data on the scope of some of its most sensitive foreign intelligence-gathering efforts, saying that it had targeted nearly 90,000 foreign persons or organizations for surveillance through U.S. companies last year.

The release of the “transparency report,” issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, follows an order a year ago from President Obama to declassify and make public as much information as possible about certain sensitive surveillance programs.

Warrantless Wirepapping

One of the issues that sticks out when reading the Washington Post story is that of "warrantless" surveillance on the part of not only NSA but other intelligence-gathering entities across the board.

It was in 1952 when NSA was established. As part of the military establishment, NSA's mission then, as it still is today, is to affect surveillance against foreign targets to assure the integrity, security, and safety of these United States of America.

Limitations on how this is accomplished have been imposed on NSA over the years since its inception. This includes:

  • The Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, passed in 1968 by the Congress.
  • Executive Order 12036, effected by President Carter in 1978 that acts to prevent "electronic surveillance directed against a United States person abroad or designed to intercept a communication sent from, or intended for receipt within, the United States except as permitted by the procedures established pursuant to section 2-201".
  • The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), also passed in 1978.
  • In 2001, the passage of the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), which established clear standards for how telecommunications providers are to provide wiretapping information to government (The Implications of the Digital Telephony Act of 1994).
  • Also in 2001, John Yoo, former George W. Bush administration official, essentially gives the president authority to approve anti-terrorism tactics, including warrantless wiretapping.
  • A year later, in 2002, President Bush authorized NSA to conduct warrantless wiretaps on both foreign concerns and U.S. citizens in country through a secret executive order.
  • About a year later President Bush disclosed the existence of his secret wiretapping program to the Congress and later in the year the New York Times publishes a story that informed the public of its existence.
  • Etc...

In Conclusion

One of the reasons why all of this wiretapping is necessary is the openness of this nation. We let any Tom, Dick, or Mary enter through air travel and for the past two decades we're trying to affect "reasonable immigration laws" that essentially seek to negate common sense by allowing, again, every Tom, Dick, and Mary to cross the U.S./Mexican border w/o any meaningful rules and regulations.

Until this nation get serious about buttoning up our border and limiting air travel entry to only those who really need it, I won't believe for one moment that any of this makes sense. How can you seriously tell the general public with a straight face that all that can be done is being done by way of anti-terrorist tactics when you allow the Southern border to remain open?

The bottom line here is this: the Federal Gov't must enforce its own border laws before it can be taken seriously.


For personal security information and products,
visit www.OhioHootOwl.com.

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Friday, June 6, 2014

The "Open Data" Movement Takes Off

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Although the "open data" movement may be new to most of us, it began in 2009.

"At least 39 states and 46 cities and counties have created open-data sites since the federal government, Utah, California and the cities of San Francisco and Washington, D.C., began opening data in 2009, according to the federal site, Data.gov" (Source: http://www.govtech.com/data/Open-Data-Is-Open-for-Business.html).

What does open data do for cities, the federal gov, and commercial concerns?

"Open-data advocates, such as President Barack Obama’s former information chief Vivek Kundra, estimate a multibillion-dollar industry can be spawned by taking raw government data files on sectors such as weather, population, energy, housing, commerce or transportation and turn them into products for the public to consume or other industries to pay for.

"They can be as simple as mobile phone apps identifying every stop sign you will encounter on a trip to a different town, or as intricate as taking weather and crops data and turning it into insurance policies farmers can buy" (Source: http://www.govtech.com/data/Open-Data-Is-Open-for-Business.html).

Let's all ponder the potential here. The question in my mind is "how much data of a personal nature is included in these data depositories being published online for enterprising people and others to utilize for whatever end they so desire?"

Want to do some research or some simple reading on open data? Try this link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Data.


For personal security information and products,
visit www.OhioHootOwl.com.

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

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Monday, June 2, 2014

Maybe Having a Smart Home Isn't all That Smart

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"Network World - A year ago, people were mostly talking about the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) — what companies and government entities might do in the future to take advantage of this widespread network of connected objects" (The Internet of Things gets real, Network World, http://bit.ly/1n6ntuC).

The fact is, people were talking about the Internet of Things (IoT) long before a year ago. In the mid- to late-1990s, for example, I was writing about this form of connectivity between machine and service provider/owner in the magazine I worked for as an associate editor (Security Distributing & Marketing).

Internet-Connected Appliances

One of the applications to which IoT lends itself well is that of maintenance updates to a variety of companies with regards to the equipment they sell. Examples include the following:
  • Refrigerators
  • Heating Plants
  • Air Conditioning Units
  • Washing Machines
  • Cloths Dryers
  • Conventional and Microwave Ovens
  • Chillers
  • Electrical Systems
  • Smart Electric Meters
..to name only a few.

A good example of what could take place when your conventional oven develops a problem is that an update of the situation is sent to either the manufacturer or the maintenance company of record over one of the in-house broadband connections. The update would provide important ID information that enables the company to generate a call ticket. You would then be notified of the problem and given an opportunity to have a repairman come to your home or business to fix it.

Back in the 90's, there was talk of including some type of infrared scanning system that would be capable of inventorying all of the foods you keep in your refrigerator. When you are running low, a notice would be sent to you in email, providing you with a shopping list of needs for your use. Or, at the same time, this list could be periodically generated and sent to the grocery store of choice for delivery to the home.

The Danger of Connected Appliances

In the 90's, when we thought of Internet-connected appliances, we thought in terms of Category 5E or Category 5e cabling. Today, all of these devices will connect to the Internet through the WiFi system in our homes and businesses.

Well, other than being irradiated by more radio waves banging around the house, we will come to the stage where your refrigerator can be hacked. We know our computers can be hacked. Recent news stories have revealed that chain stores, banks and the government can be hacked. Cellphones can be hacked, which by the way we pointed out to our readers several years ago. So now we approach the time when your Internet-connected house can be hacked. It seems silly, of course, but the reality is, if your freezer or furnace can be reached through the Internet, it may be that the device you use to control them can be hacked. Which means, as we extend this thought into total paranoia, your passwords could be as vulnerable to a meltdown as your freezer. Will hackers soon be eyeing your fridge?

As most of you know, one of the ploys used by hackers is to get you to respond to an email by clicking on a link or simply replying to an offer. The ensuing information, especially where you reply, carries valuable information that tells the hackers exactly where you are in terms of the World Wide Web. It provides the exact IP address so they can work to enter your home via the network.

Although service providers are not apt to give out your IP to those they do not know, as well to those who have no business having it, this kind of information can fall into the wrong hands by a variety of ways. Any one of these signals can draw the attention of hackers, and even though you may not think this could be destructive, think again.

Hacking Your Appliances

With all the data flowing in and out of your home between the various appliances and those responsible for their on-line care, it's even more likely that hackers can find their way to your home. Once they enter the network through your heat pump, it's possible to penetrate other devices on your network, including your computer.

For example, a hacker who gains access to your furnace could reprogram it. They might change the set points--which is the temperature it comes on and goes off. They might even alter the safety controls that safeguard your home from fire.

Hackers could also enter your refrigerator, perhaps turning it off, adjusting the temperature so it freezes all the food, or they might cause some other combination of undesirable events to take place. At the very least, they would have a complete list of everything you have in it.

Would you allow a stranger off the street to open your front door, walk in, and open your refrigerator door? I didn't think so.


For personal security information and products,
visit www.OhioHootOwl.com.

Copyright©2014/Allan B. Colombo
www.alcolombo.us / al_colombo@hotmail.com
(Permission is given to republish blog posts providing
my contact information and copyright notice are included.)

Subscribe

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