What is phishing and spear phishing?

One of the most basic practices every cybersecurity guide will recommend is not to click on links and attachments contained in emails coming from unknown sources, and to think twice even if they come from seemingly trustworthy sources.

You think it’s unnecessary caution? Ask John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential elections campaign. This is exactly how he (or the operator of his email account) gave away his accounts credentials to hackers. The breach led to a series of damaging and embarrassing leaks which might have cost his boss her chance of becoming president. Continue reading

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What is encryption?

The main takeaway from the buildup of developments in the cybersecurity landscape is that privacy is becoming a commodity. The CIA is spying on your phone. Hackers are breaking into your home. Your documents, emails, messages, can be intercepted. And Congress is empowering ISPs to pry into your communications.

Long story short, nothing remains secret.

Under such circumstances, encryption becomes your best friend, your last line of defense in protecting your information. Continue reading

After the CIA leaks, cybersecurity should be everyone’s business

Last week, WikiLeaks dropped a bombshell on intelligence agencies by publishing a trove of classified documents dubbed “Vault 7.” The revelations gave a damning account of government surveillance powers and hacking capabilities.

It was also a testament to how vulnerable the increasing number of Internet-connected devices we own can make us. And if you think you shouldn’t worry about what hacking capabilities the feds have, think again. Three-letter-agencies aren’t the only ones who are looking for security holes in hardware and software.

As with every hack that makes noise, the Vault 7 leak is associated with new facts, old misunderstandings and some very important lessons. Here’s what you need to know about the latest batch of information that WikiLeaks has spilled into cyberspace. Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence has problems to fix

Artificial intelligence machine learning

While much of what you read and hear about Artificial Intelligence will turn out to be hype (that’s the case with practically every new, disruptive technology), there’s no denying that AI and machine learning will have an important role to play in how different industries and aspects of life and society around us will take shape in the coming years.

The trends and facts are certainly in favor of the AI fever. 2016 saw an explosion of funding and acquisition of AI startups. During the same year, Artificial Intelligence mastered many skills that were supposedly the exclusive domain of human intelligence, including a complicated board game, fighting (and causing) cyberthreats, and playing computer games—among others. Continue reading

What is Full-Disk Encryption (FDE)?

Full-Disk Encryption

If you think someone without your desktop login won’t be able to access your computer’s files, think again. Anyone with mediocre IT skills can take your your hard disk, plug it as a secondary drive to another computer, and extract your files.

So how can you protect your files from hackers?

One option would be to encrypt your sensitive files manually or avoid storing them on your computer altogether and lock them away in a safe cloud. An alternative is to use Full-Disk Encryption (FDE), a technique that scrambles everything stored on your computer and makes it only accessible to the person with the decryption key. Continue reading

How to protect yourself against WhatsApp’s non-present backdoor

Secure messaging app

In a controversial Friday 13th scoop, The Guardian unveiled a backdoor in WhatsApp, the popular messaging app owned by Facebook that has over 1 billion users and touts having unbreakable security.

Within a few hours of the Guardian report, the claim was debunked by other outlets, including this detailed piece in Gizmodo. While it is now clear that the backdoor is actually not a backdoor but a natural functionality of the messaging app, here’s what you need to know and what you can do to protect yourself from potential security mishaps. Continue reading

How to secure your smarthome gadgets

smarthome nest thermostat

The holiday season is a big time for consumer electronics and smarthome gadget sales. With so many advances and innovations that we saw in the Internet of Things in 2016, there’s a likely chance that one of those connected devices has found its way into your home, or that of one of your loved ones, this Christmas.

But while IoT devices make our homes more efficient, drive energy saving and reduce costs, you should also take note that IoT devices are a source of security headaches. A huge number of smarthome gadgets are developed without sound development practices and end up being used for evil purposes. Continue reading