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Beware of Shoulder Surfing

A person who is standing near as you fill out a form, enter your PIN number, or punch in your calling card numbers may be doing more than just waiting their turn. To help prevent shoulder surfing, shield your paperwork from view using your body and cup your hand over the keypad.
by Nitin Dewan

Use Caution Opening Email Attachments

Email attachments are a common tool for attackers because forwarding email is so simple. Users often open attachments that appear to come from someone they know or an organization they do business with. Almost any type of file can be attached to an email message, so attackers have more freedom with the types of viruses they can send. If your email program includes an option to automatically download email attachments, DON’T take it. Doing so could immediately expose your computer to any viruses included in the email attachments.

Facebook Password Reset Confirmation! Your Support.

WARNING: beware of email that claims to be from Facebook.

The subject line usually reads like this:
Facebook Password Reset Confirmation! Your Support.

The body of the email reads:
Dear user of facebook,

Because of the measures taken to provide safety to our clients, your password has been changed.
You can find your new password in attached document.

Your Facebook.

Attachment Converted: “c:\”


The attachment carries a payload of malicious software. Do NOT unzip the file.

Game Theory For Security

GameSec 2010 – Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security 22-23 November 2010, Berlin, Germany

Industry Gold Sponsor: Deutsche Telekom Laboratories
Industry Silver Sponsor: Frauenhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute

Technical co-sponsors: IEEE Control System Society, Internatational Society of Dynamic Games

GameSec 2010, the inaugural Conference on Decision and Game Theory for Security will take place on the campus of Technical University Berlin, Germany, on November 22-23, 2010.

Securing complex and networked systems and managing associated risks become increasingly important as they play an indispensible role in modern life at the turn of the information age. Concurrently, security of ubiquitous communication, data, and computing pose novel research challenges. Security is a multi-faceted problem due to the complexity of underlying hardware, software, and network inter-dependencies as well as human and social factors. It involves decision making in multiple levels and multiple time scales, given the limited resources available to both malicious attackers and administrators defending networked systems.

GameSec conference aims to bring together researchers who aim to establish a theoretical foundation for making resource allocation decisions that balance available capabilities and perceived security risks in a principled manner. The conference focuses analytical models based on game, information, communication, optimization, decision, and control theories that are applied to diverse security topics. At the same time, the connection between theoretical models and real world security problems are emphasized to establish the important feedback loop between theory and practice. Observing the scarcity of venues for researchers who try to develop a deeper theoretical understanding of the underlying incentive and resource allocation issues in security, we believe that GameSec will fill an important void and serve as a distinguished forum of highest standards for years to come.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to):
* Security games
* Security and risk management
* Mechanism design and incentives
* Decentralized security algorithms
* Security of networked systems
* Security of Web-based services
* Security of social networks
* Intrusion and anomaly detection
* Resource allocation for security
* Optimized response to malware
* Identity management
* Privacy and security
* Reputation and trust
* Information security and watermarking
* Physical layer security in wireless networks
* Information theoretic aspects of security
* Adversarial machine learning
* Distributed learning for security
* Cross-layer security
* Usability and security
* Human behavior and security
* Dynamic control of security systems
* Organizational aspects of risk management
* Cooperation and competition in security
* and more…

Revoking Security Access Is Not Enough

A California man has been arrested for interfering with computers at the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO) agency, which controls the state’s power transmission lines and runs its energy trading markets. Even though Lonnie C. Denison’s security access had been suspended at the request of his employer because of an employee dispute, he allegedly gained physical access to the facility with his card key. Once inside, Denison allegedly broke the glass protecting an emergency power cut-off station and pushed the button, causing much of the data center to shut down. Cal-ISO was unable to access the energy trading market, but the power transmission grid was unaffected.



Use a password in only one place.
Reusing passwords or using the same password all over the place is like carrying one key that unlocks your house, your car, your office, your briefcase, and your safety deposit box. If you reuse passwords for more than one computer, account, website, or other secure system, keep in mind that all of those computers, accounts, websites and secure systems will be only as secure as the least secure system on which you have used that password. Don’t enter your password on untrusted systems. One lost key could let a thief unlock all the doors. Remember: Change your passwords on a schedule to keep them fresh.

Census Campaign Warning

US-CERT asks users to be vigilant during the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2010 Census campaign and to watch for potential census scams.

According to the U.S. Census 2010 website, they began delivery of the printed census forms to every resident in the United States on March 1, 2010. The only way to complete the census is by filling in the form using pen and ink; in some instances, census takers will be visiting households to complete the form face-to-face. It is important to understand that the U.S. Census Bureau will not, under any circumstances, be providing an online option to complete the 2010 census form.

US-CERT encourages all residents in the United States to take the following measures to protect themselves:

•Review available information about the 2010 U.S. Census on the website.
•Familiarize yourself with what information the U.S. Census Bureau is collecting on the census form.

•Do not follow unsolicited web links of attachments in email messages.
•Refer to the Recognizing and Avoiding Email Scams (pdf) document for more information on avoiding email scams.
•Refer to the Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks document for more information on social engineering attacks.

Understanding Your Computer: Web Browsers

Web browsers allow you to navigate the internet. There are a variety of options available, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs.

How do web browsers work?
A web browser is an application that finds and displays web pages. It coordinates communication between your computer and the web server where a particular website “lives.”

When you open your browser and type in a web address (URL) for a website, the browser submits a request to the server, or servers, that provide the content for that page. The browser then processes the code from the server (written in a language such as HTML, JavaScript, or XML) and loads any other elements (such as Flash, Java, or ActiveX) that are necessary to generate content for the page. After the browser has gathered and processed all of the components, it displays the complete, formatted web page. Every time you perform an action on the page, such as clicking buttons and following links, the browser continues the process of requesting, processing, and presenting content.

How many browsers are there?
There are many different browsers. Most users are familiar with graphical browsers, which display both text and graphics and may also display multimedia elements such as sound or video clips. However, there are also text-based browsers. The following are some well-known browsers:

•Internet Explorer
•Safari – a browser specifically designed for Macintosh computers
•Lynx – a text-based browser desirable for vision-impaired users because of the availability of special devices that read the text

How do you choose a browser?
A browser is usually included with the installation of your operating system, but you are not restricted to that choice. Some of the factors to consider when deciding which browser best suits your needs include

•compatibility – Does the browser work with your operating system?

•security – Do you feel that your browser offers you the level of security you want?

•ease of use – Are the menus and options easy to understand and use?

•functionality – Does the browser interpret web content correctly? If you need to install other plug-ins or devices to translate certain types of content, do they work?

•appeal – Do you find the interface and way the browser interprets web content visually appealing?

Can you have more than one browser installed at the same time?
If you decide to change your browser or add another one, you don’t have to uninstall the browser that’s currently on your computer—you can have more than one browser on your computer at once. However, you will be prompted to choose one as your default browser. Anytime you follow a link in an email message or document, or you double-click a shortcut to a web page on your desktop, the page will open using your default browser. You can manually open the page in another browser.

Most vendors give you the option to download their browsers directly from their websites. Make sure to verify the authenticity of the site before downloading any files. To further minimize risk, follow other good security practices, like using a firewall and keeping anti-virus software up to date (see Understanding Firewalls, Understanding Anti-Virus Software, and other US-CERT Cyber Security Tips for more information).

School Sued for Spying on Students with Webcams

The Lower Merion School District has been accused of spying on students through webcams on their laptops.

“While certain rules for laptop use were spelled out … there was no explicit notification that the laptop contained the security software,” said Superintendent Christopher W. McGinley. “This notice should have been given, and we regret that was not done.”

“Despite some reports to the contrary, be assured that the security-tracking software has been completely disabled,” said McGinley.

Security Note: Beware of webcams and microphones on your computer. If they are connected, it is possible for someone to remotely control these devices. They can see you. They can hear you.

$59 Computer Scam

There is a “pump and dump” circulating about “The $59 Computer”. A pump and dump scam usually happens with penny stock trades. A stock that sells for pennies is purchased and hyped by a “research” firm. When the price goes up from the fraudulent hyping, the originator of the scam sells their stock. When they dump, the stock price takes a dive and the scammed investors lose their money.

The research firm hyping the “secret” stock is Stansberry & Associates Investment Research. The name of the company use to be Porter Stansberry, Agora Inc. Porter Stansberry was fined by the SEC for fraud.

“An investment newsletter’s publisher and its editor have been hit with $1.5 million in financial penalties after a U. S. federal judge determined they defrauded their own subscribers in a securities scam.”

They changed their name a couple times. On October 24, 2005 they changed to its current name of Stansberry & Associates Investment Research, LLC.

Beware of a newsletter that starts like this:
“The Biggest Revolution since the Internet?”
~MIT’s Technology Review New “$59 Computer”
Hitting Chinese Markets It’s not a laptop, PC, or any computer you’ve ever seen or used. But it’s now being used by more than 100 of the world’s largest corporations, the Canadian Government, and more than 10,000 small businesses. Its next stop could unleash billions of dollars – and transform one tiny U.S. company into a juggernaut.”