Cybersecurity

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Do You Know How to Spot a Teenage Cyber-Hacker?

A recent study led by Thomas Holt, cybercrime expert at Michigan State University, looks at teen cybercriminals and has found that low self-control is a key predictive factor in whether teens engage in cybercrimes such as hacking. Holt says that many stereotypes of hackers may not be accurate when it comes to teens committing cybercrimes. Holt also says that there's "value in teaching kids that cybercrime will get you in trouble and here's what you can do to protect yourself."

Experts who study the future of work and technology trends expect that teenage cyber hacking could become a problem in the future. Research suggests that there will be a growing need for more "juvenile crime rehabilitation counselors," who can help student cyber-hackers to put their tech talent to more productive use in the not-too-distant future.

School Records Tempt Hackers

Education Dive reports that school records are some of the most sought after data files on the black market. Each school record fetches $250 to $300, making schools, especially small ones with few cybersecurity resources, tempting targets for hackers. In the past three years, schools have been hit more than 500 times by cyber thieves.

Facebook Offers a Wealth of Information to Identity Thieves

Identity theft has exploded in part because of how people use social media, says Frank Abagnale, a former con artist who later became a security consultant and now works with the FBI. "When we interview people who commit these crimes and ask them what's the No. 1 source they go to when they steal someone's identity, they say their Facebook page," he said. One tip of advice he mentions is that you should avoid posting demographic information such as birthplace and birthdate on any social media profile.

Bots Causing Havoc on Social Media

Automated bots are taking over social media, says Arkose Labs, adding that more than half the logins and a quarter of new social media account applications are fraudulent. These fake accounts have implications for those fighting against cyberbullying and misinformation. The company reviewed 1.2 billion third-quarter transactions across platforms, including gaming and e-commerce, and determined that about 75% of fraud on social media was committed by bots.

The Case Against Borrowing Charging Cables and Public Outlets

Charging cables for smartphones, tablets and laptops can expose the devices to cyberattacks and shouldn't be shared, experts warn. The cables, as well as public USB charging stations in places such as airports, can be infected with malware or modified to give hackers access. “Being careful about what you plug into your devices is just good tech hygiene,” says one expert. “Think of it in the same way that you think about opening mail attachments or sharing passwords. In a computing context, sharing cables is like sharing your password, because that's the level of access you're crucially conveying with these types of technology.”

With these risks, it might be time to consider investing in a portable power bank.

Hacker Attacks on Schools Are On The Rise

The Associated Press reports that schools using education technologies are becoming targets of cyberattacks that disrupt digital lesson plans and could potentially compromise data. Schools "may be considered easy targets because they're a little bit more open than your traditional corporate culture," said Sean Wiese, chief information security officer for North Dakota, where a malware attack last year affected a large number of public schools.

Reading, Writing and Cybersecurity

The shortage of cybersecurity professionals in the IT workforce has prompted some K-12 schools to add classes in cybersecurity strategies and practices to their curriculum. Some high schools even offer professional certification and college credit, or allow students to serve apprenticeships to their district with cybersecurity needs. Not only do these classes help educate students on becoming smart digital citizens, it could also spark interest in pursuing a career in that field.

GPS Can Make Your Car an Easy Target for Hackers

According to Motherboard, hackers can use GPS trackers to gain access to a car with location tracking GPS services, and turn off its engine while it is in motion. An anonymous hacker, who operates in Asia and Africa, told that he was able to break into thousands of iTrack and ProTrack accounts using the initial default password given to customers. This is a reminder to change the password from the default one that comes with your car!  

Fraudsters Target Mobile Apps

A recent article in Adweek reports that from 2017 to 2018, the number of fraudulent apps increased more than 150%, according to a DoubleVerify report. Since 2017, invalid ad impressions on mobile devices has doubled year-over-year. Security experts are calling on developers and app stores to help fight fraud in the mobile space.

Mueller Report: Russians Relied On US Social Media For "Trolling"

Special counsel Robert Mueller's recently released, 400-page report includes details regarding Russia's Internet Research Agency (IRA) and its coordinated use of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to reach millions of Americans leading up to and after the 2016 presidential election. IRA-controlled online accounts were used to coordinate rallies, push deceptive memes and posts, and interact with influential conservatives in an effort to impact political conversations and fuel social divisions worldwide. These finding are perhaps the best case made yet for digital literacy classes to include misinformation in their curriculum.

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