RFID Part 4

The RFID Sniper Rifle is coming, or is it?  Back in 2008 a Danish company had devised an idea of tagging with RFID chips from a distance. It was advertized to shoot the RFID tag into its victim and would be as though getting stung by a bee.  The idea was to be able to track them and hit them when most vulnerable.  The bullets were advertized as being smart bullets that would home in on the specific RFID in that specific person…in other words, the bullet was married to the RFID chip.

This was advertized at China’s first International Weapons Fair in 2008.  Weapons dealers embraced the idea and especially the Chinese Police, hmmm!  Although, later to be unearthed as a hoax, it was rather astounding the numbers of State and Government Police that truly liked the idea of having such a weapon.  Rather concerning and Orwellian, don’t you think?

SEE ALSO:  RFID Part 1, RFID Part 2, RFID Part 3

 

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/purchase/1041

 

Advertisements

Passwords

I was reading an article at the InfoSecurity web-site, which had an interesting note on the psychology of passwords.  A recent survey indicated the contradiction of password security, in-that, people desire password security and that they be strong and changed often; however, these people would, themselves, not change their passwords on a regular basis nor make them difficult and strong.  Rather concerning, don’t you think?

 

http://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/view/24057/the-contradictions-of-password-psychology/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

Browsing Privacy

In this day and age, everyone wants a little privacy, the idealistic genre has the mind “if you don’t have anything to hide, then…” kind of attitude, and as you get older you come to have a great appreciation for privacy.  There are some steps you can take to help your own privacy along.  I was reading Rob Lightner’s article for CNET, “Five Smart Ways to Keep Your Browsing Private”

 

 

  1. One of you biggest concerns is to get rid of all tracking cookies on your computer.  There is a free software that does this called CCleaner.  It is very good, I have tried it.
  2. Opting out of tracking by use of third-party software such as PrivacyChoice, which offers several tools to aid in this endeavor (I have never used it).
  3. Another thing you can do is to prevent the depositing of those tracking cookies and you can do this by making changes to you web-browser.  This is something I do and quite simple to set up.  Just search for you specific browser the way to browse privately.
  4. Anonymous browsing.  According to the article he uses a TOR set up, which I have never used but may toy with sometime.  Apparently TOR protects you via encrypted pathways, thereby protecting the anonymity of your IP address.
  5. Anonymous browsing using proxies.  This is similar to StartPage’s (www.startpage.com) Proxy setting where you use StartPage’s resources to search for something without yielding your IP address.

Of course, there is always the use of a thumb drive being set up with another operating system and setting it in such a way that you save nothing, to be totally private.  I tried this with an old version of Linux when I was in college, but my computer kept locking up.  Just couldn’t figure out what was going on.  Apparently the thumb drive itself was not very compatible with Linux, so I changed the drive and it worked great.

Hope this is useful to you!

Resource: http://howto.cnet.com/8301-11310_39-57363219-285/five-smart-ways-to-keep-your-browsing-private/

 

Mobile Malware

I was reading an article on Help Net Security about malware and mobile devices.  Malware has, in effect, matured to such a place in its evolutionary cycle where they have grown in numbers that are staggering.  What makes things worse is the fact that both people, in general, and businesses, as a matter of habit, have entwined these mobile devices into their lives in such a fashion that they are a necessary tool and our life blood, so to say.

There is more malware than ever before which makes it difficult for the average user to know that they are safe from its potentially devastating effects.  Unfortunately, most people are oblivious to the potential attacks and problems, and in turn wonder why & how such a thing could have happened?

The next problem is the fact that malware is becoming smarter every day, some evolving into a polymorphic problem.  Cybercriminals are finding new ways to exploit vulnerabilities, which enable them to profit from our foolish endeavors.

The wall of protection is next to non-existent.  People are downloading and installing more applications (app) on their phone than ever before, which creates and cultivates a field of opportunity for cybercriminals.  I would be next to nothing for someone with the know-how to either create an app for mobile devices or crack one and reintroduce it into the app store.  Think about it, as of January 2011, there were approximately 90,000 apps for the iPad and roughly 475,000 for the iPhone; same time frame, there seemed to be about 250,000 apps for the android platform.  These numbers do not account for the other platforms out there in the market and I lean toward them because they are the most popular and growing in market share.  A malicious minded individual could have a field day with this by just injecting, or infecting, a few apps.

By researching the topic of the most popular apps, the ones that would cause the most devastation to people (business or common user) would be music related, social media, navigating, and games.  These seem to be, in my opinion, the most widely used by a large demographic of the mobile device carrying population.  This is not for fear for the purpose of generating fear itself, but rather to get you to think!  Your mobile device(s) are essentially a computer and no one I know would leave their computer unprotected these days – unless of course they never hooked up to the internet, just figure the odds on that?  Poking around I determined a guestimate that 90% of American Households posses at least one computer (this percentage seemed pretty constant) and approximately 75% of American Households have internet access (I saw a low of 62% and as high as 85%, so I went just above the average).  The funny thing is most people who do not posses a computer, even on the poverty line in the economic spectrum, seem to have the means to possess a smartphone.

Now, there are some free apps out there for protection and there are some for cost.  How good they are, your guess is as good as mine.  Perhaps the best place to check this out would be Consumer Reports or some thing like that.  Look into it and keep your stuff backed up so you can recover from something potentially catastrophic.

Until the next time my friends!

https://net-security.org/malware_news.php?id=2004

RFIDs Part 3

As we have discussed the RFID chips I was recently listening to one of my shows, the Dr. Katherine Albrecht Show, who was talking about a microchipped pill.  This pill is primarily geared toward those who are elderly, mentally challenged, and the parents of very busy kids.  Their purpose is to be a placebo and in effect allows other(s) to see if a loved one is actually taking their pills. (Just follow the link, it takes up about 30 minutes of the first hour – you can also download it for free.)

http://direct.media.katherinealbrecht.com/archives/1201/20120121_Sat_Albrecht1.mp3

Another idea, is tracking the elderly, mentally handicapped, Alzheimer patients, and others to be injected with an RFID microchip, which essentially treats the patient as a supply that they must keep track of.  There is legislation, or was, to be passed to do this here in the US.

Just consider the next generation of this technology, which is the use of biometrics and storing that information on the chip.  This technology is being used

in India, Iraq, and I recently heard on the news that it was also being used (forced) on the people in Afghanistan.  How much longer until it is used here in the US?http://www.spychips.com/index.html

Consider the uses within the clothing industry.  As mentioned earlier, IBM possesses several patents for RFID technology.  One of which is the weaving of the RFID technology (or tags) into the material of clothing; another is to be a reader that is located at malls and shopping centers.  The idea is that when you walk by a reader it will read the RFID tag in your clothing and because you paid with your Visa, or MasterCard, it is now tied together with your Social Security Number – the database can determine your spending and purchasing habits and can therefore offer you specials on a daily basis based upon those habits.

According to the RFID Journal the global clothing retailer American Apparel has plans to equip all of its stores with this, or similar technology.  Remember the movie “Minority Report”?  Of course, its technology was based upon retina scanning, but really that is just silly thinking, isn’t it?

http://www.rfidjournal.com/article/view/9202

We have always looked upon “those” people – who constantly proposed that Orwell’s “1984” was becoming a reality, just you wait and see – were just nut jobs.  Hey, guess what?  “They” weren’t too far off the beaten path, after all.  With the advent of the RFID chips and other technology, the “Mark of the Beast” just may be injectable and electronic in nature.  This has been proposed here in the US and in other countries.  There are some countries that are using them, as mentioned prior.

Consider the alternatives if all of our money becomes just ones and zeros out in cyberland and they make the plunge to place all of your data, including financial, onto your RFID chip which can be updated in a Wi-Fi accessible area.  If you don’t comply with the injection, you cannot purchase anything.  On the other hand, if you are disruptive in any manner your RFID chip can be updated to remove any income and good name you may have…the evil possibilities are limited only by your good nature.  BEWARE my friends, but become AWARE and act through the system, while you can.  Many of the German people never knew what hit them until damn near the end of World War II.  I leave you with a couple of quotes, which give a great insight into the minds of the leaders of countries who are ambitious.

“Naturally the common people don’t want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, IT IS THE LEADERS of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is TELL THEM THEY ARE BEING ATTACKED, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. IT WORKS THE SAME IN ANY COUNTRY.”

–Goering at the Nuremberg Trials

“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”

Adolf Hitler

I believe, that despite their reference or inference to war – these quotes are quite profound, in that, people have a tendency to be followers and are always seeking someone to lead because they feel inadequate to do such a job.  Everyone can lead with some good moral grounding, an ethical mindset, have integrity and are honest, fair, & just.

SEE ALSO:

RFID Part 4

RFID Part 2

RFID Part 1

Internetworking Part 4

Now is a good time to introduce the networking reference models that permit the communications within our internetworking up through the previous sessions (Part 3).

In the beginning, most computers were only able to communicate with other computers from the same manufacturer.  In the 1970s the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model was created to overcome these communications problems.  There are other models  in use such as the DoD Reference and the Cisco Hierarchical Models, which we will discuss.

First, the OSI Model.  This is a reference model, or set of guidelines, that application developers can use in the creation and implementation of applications that run on a network, which provides a  framework within which network standards can be managed.

The OSI model has 7 distinct layers, which are divided in to two groups. The upper group (top 3 layers) define how the end-to-end host applications will communicate with each other.  The bottom group (bottom 4 layers)  define how the data is to be handles and transmitted between the hosts, end-to-end.  The top group are the Application, Presentation, and Session layers; the bottom group  The following operate at all seven layers of the OSI model:  Network management stations (NMSs); web and application servers; gateways (not default gateways); and network hosts.

The upper layers:  Application layer, Presentation layer, and the Session layer furnishes a user interface, “presents” data to the application layer, and maintains data separation between different applications.

The Application Layer:  This is where you (the user) has a direct connection to the computer by inputting data, or making requests.  This layer is also responsible for resolving the availability of communication and sufficiency of resources for data input.  The protocols associated with this layer are HTTP, FTP, and SMTP.

The Presentation Layer:  As mentioned before, this layer “presents” the data to the Application layer, which is where its name originates.  It is also in control of the data translation, code formatting and conversion functions (i.e., receives generically formatted data and converst it to its original format).  The protocols associated with this layer are ASCII, EBCDIC, JPEG, GIF, and MPEG.

The Session Layer:  This layer’s operation is to create, organize, and disassemble between Presentation layer components.  In essence, this layer can open many “seesions” and will keep all of those “sessions” and their respective data separate.

Next session will be on the lower layers.

Cyber Threats 2012

As time passes by us the technology around use increases in power, strength, and capabilities.  And as this happens there are those who create those problems that either make our lives a living hell, or give us those cherished opportunities, to show what we are made of…hmmm!

A new technology come available as does a new threat.  The US Air Force Space Command has tasked the 624th Operations Center with the determining and protection from cyber threats.  They recently released their January 9th issue of the “Cyber Threat Bulletin”, which is information based on McAfee that lists the top ten cyber threats.  These threats are:

  1. Attacking Mobile Devices
  2. Embedded Hardware
  3. “Legalized” Spam
  4. Industrial Attacks
  5. Hacktivism
  6. Virtual Currency
  7. Rogue Certificates
  8. Cyber War
  9. Domain Name System Security Extensions
  10. Advances in Operating Systems

The number one problem is the threat of attacking mobile devices, with which I agree, as there are so many people bringing their mobile devices to work for the purposes of work and if not properly secured they are the potential single point of failure for the business.  I am rather surprised that the hacktivism is lower on the list as we hear so much of it happening these days.  Embedded hardware, within the last two years there was a very well known company that had embedded code into one of their manufactured product lines and they were caught with their hands in the cookie jar.  Major lawsuit for invasion of privacy, hmmmm.

As I have said before, being aware is only half the battle…the other half is both being vigilant and taking action!

Cyber Threat Bulletin