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The Hacker Chronicles: The Electronic Hitman

Written by Phil DuMas on Thursday, 12 September 2013. Posted in The Hackers Chronicles

The Hacker Chronicles: The Electronic Hitman

I am a hitman. Not the kind of hitman the movies have made so popular that men in their late 30’s wearing Ray Donovan lookalike jackets and shirts claim to be to impress girls, but an electronic hitman. I started by stealing credit card numbers, social security numbers, medical history and bank PIN numbers. Then I saw a story about a legal case in California where a city worker was being charged with surfing pornography up to 8 hours a day and was claiming that a rival that worked in IT had hacked his computer and put all that porn on it and he NEVER went to those web sites about people dressing up like animals and simulating sexual acts. Oddly enough, his defense worked and it got me thinking. Why not actually do what he “claimed” happened to him but take it a step further and totally infiltrate the victim’s life? Surely there was a market out there for that kind of information and control over a person’s life? Turns out I was right, but first I needed to “practice” on a target to find out just how far I could take this.

The Hackers Chronicles: Stage Fright

Written by Phil DuMas on Thursday, 15 August 2013. Posted in The Hackers Chronicles

The Hackers Chronicles: Stage Fright

It is 2:54 on a sunny Fall afternoon in Greenwich Village. In six minutes I will either be a very wealthy man or in a hell of a lot of trouble and on the run. This all started a month ago today when the love of my life Chris dragged me to my fourth Broadway show in as many weeks.

Man is it Quiet in Here

Written by Phil DuMas on Monday, 05 August 2013. Posted in The Hackers Chronicles

Man is it Quiet in Here

Man is it quiet in here. No whirring of fans, blinking lights or muted hum of hard drives being accessed; just the slightly oily smell of the air handlers and barely audible sound of air moving through the vents in the floor. This is a well-designed server room not unlike many server rooms I have been in. But this one is quiet and that is never good. Every server, firewall, workstation, wireless access point, switch, router and laptop are turned off and sitting mute waiting for me to resurrect them. Even the cell phones are sitting in a non-descript cardboard box with their batteries removed. This is not a Saturday or Sunday. This is a Tuesday afternoon in a financial services office of 92 employees that has been hacked. I am told by their CFO that it is costing them $12,000 per hour that they cannot access their files or receive email from clients or conduct business. I think to myself “it is a little more than that with the cost of my team to be here and clean up this mess” but I just nod. Past experience has shown that it is not good to prod a wounded CFO with a dollar bill. As I stand there soaking up the silence I get a silent nod from my Senior Security Engineer that we are ready to power up the first server. Our equipment is in place and we will be able to capture and analyze every bit that comes and goes to the server to determine if this server was the point of infection. We mount our drives, make duplicates of all the drives in the server for forensic analysis, mount the tools for the server for a virus scan and away we go…

A Life in the Day

Written by Phil DuMas on Tuesday, 16 July 2013. Posted in The Hackers Chronicles

A Life in the Day

It’s time to go to work. 10:13 a.m. on a Tuesday is as good as any I guess. I personally prefer to work during the day unlike my peers who like to ply their trade in the dark of night. Maybe it has to do with their mindset or the knowledge that what we do is supposed to be wrong and it affects how/when they work. Not me. I have no preconceived notions about what I do. I do it for the money. I throw my laptop into the car and head for a neighboring township full of juicy targets. You see, I am a hacker with a specialty just like any other professional.

I prey on doctors, lawyers, and accountants. I break into their networks, encrypt their data and hold them for ransom. I chose these targets for two reasons. One, I know their insurance will pay for it and two most don’t want the negative publicity nor the attention of certain government entities and would rather just pay to make their problem go away. The other thing I like about them is they are conveniently clustered together around hospitals and banks. The doctors’ offices are especially tasty morsels because you can go sit in the waiting room of one for two hours and scope things out and no one seems to notice. Even if they do you just say “I am waiting for my mother” and they go away.

Now for the real reason you are reading this; the “how do I do it” part. Remember that specialty I mentioned above? Well, mine is wireless. Specifically, I can breach almost any wireless network manufactured today. I drive through the business communities I want to victimize with a program running that gathers the names, locations and levels of security of all the wireless access points in the vicinity. I look over the list the program generates, choose the sites that have either no encryption or weak encryption and then I go to work. I have programs that can crack a WEP secured network inside of 3 minutes, 10 on a bad day. WPA networks are a little harder to crack and WPA type 2 is the hardest, but by no means impossible.

Your Network Copier/Printers Are a Major Security Risk

Written by Tim Jones on Monday, 11 February 2013. Posted in Cyber Security

Your Network Copier/Printers Are a Major Security Risk

Have you ever copied a patient’s ID, social security card or credit card? You, or someone in your practice probably has and if that printer is hooked up to your network, you could be posing a serious risk to your practice by making it very easy for a hacker to steal that data!

Most modern printers and copiers have internal hard drives. Most people don’t realize it, but every time you make a copy, or send a job to the printer, it is stored on that hard drive. This is so print jobs can be prioritized or queued for later, but it poses a serious cyber security risk.

"so we're good with our backups for this Mayan thing, right?"

Written by Phil DuMas on Thursday, 20 December 2012.

How to Make Sure Your Data Survives An Apocalypse

Comets, Y2K, Yosemite eruptions, Mayan prophecies, Zombie apocalypse, magnetic shifting poles and the rise of the Zierlings are all threats to your data. So how does one make sure that their data will survive into the next millennium if the world as we know it comes to an end?

This was the question between a friend and I after his CEO walked into his office on Monday and asked "so we're good with our backups for this Mayan thing, right?" After our giggling fit passed it kind of struck us as a great exercise to determine exactly how one would safeguard data for, say, 1,000 years?

Phil's Flub of the Month-Hiring an IT Service Provider that Can't Backup Their Claims

Written by Phil DuMas on Tuesday, 11 December 2012. Posted in Phil's Favorite Flub of the Month

Phil's Flub of the Month-Hiring an IT Service Provider that Can't Backup Their Claims

There are a lot of IT service providers out there and while they may all seem to provide the same services on the surface, not all IT companies are created equal! Unfortunately, the market is flooded with IT yes-men that will say anything to get you to sign on the dotted line. It's important to research your IT company thoroughly to make sure they have the skills to back up their claims, and the experience to give your business the specialized attention it deserves. It's my flub of the month: Hiring an IT service provider that can't backup their claims.

The Gifts They Really Want: Our Top Tech Picks for the Holidays!

Written by Phil DuMas on Monday, 10 December 2012.

The Gifts They Really Want: Our Top Tech Picks for the Holidays!

It's that time of year again! We present our top tech picks of the year so you can have a happy, tech-filled holiday season!

Lessons in Cyber Security: FIPS 140-2 Security Regulations

Written by Phil DuMas on Tuesday, 13 November 2012. Posted in Cyber Security

Lessons in Cyber Security: FIPS 140-2 Security Regulations

All security is not created equal but it can be hard to separate types and levels of security especially in the context of security professionals trying to make a sale. There are standardized levels of security established by the U.S. government to ensure that at the very least, government information is secure. These standards also set up a guide system for the private sector where companies can receive government validation at different levels as a seal of quality. One standard that has become somewhat well known among IT professionals is FIPS 140-2.

It's Possible To Protect Yourself Against A Denial of Service Attack

Written by Keith Vassalotti on Wednesday, 07 November 2012. Posted in Cyber Security

It's Possible To Protect Yourself Against A Denial of Service Attack

While reading CFO magazine recently I came across this article highlighting the recent cyber-attack on HSBC. After reading it and sharing it with our team it became more apparent that businesses may not be taking cyber threats as serious as they should. The saddest part of this particular case is that you can protect yourself against a denial of service attack.

Taking Security for Granted on Web-Enabled Televisions

Written by Phil DuMas on Tuesday, 09 October 2012. Posted in Phil's Favorite Flub of the Month

Taking Security for Granted on Web-Enabled Televisions

Internet ready TV's are taking over the marketplace. As a society that likes to be wired wherever we go, it's no surprise that being able to login from your couch is a popular notion. It's convenient and goes right alongside our national shift towards streaming video and away from traditional broadcasting. But there are downsides as well. When I see an Internet-enabled TV, I see a tiny computer with a giant monitor. And you all know that when I think computers, I think security risks. It's my flub of the month: Taking security for granted on your internet TV.

Phil's Flub of the Month - Maintaining a narrow focus while ignoring the bigger picture

Written by Phil DuMas on Wednesday, 26 September 2012. Posted in Phil's Favorite Flub of the Month

I'm sure you've heard the expression: Can't see the forest for the trees. It refers to people who get so caught up in the details that they fail to see the bigger picture. It happens all the time in business and in IT in particular. If you're too focused on one detail, one idea, one solution, you won't be able to see any other possibilities and it can hamper your success or even grind a project to a halt. It's my flub of the month: Staying so focused on something that you're missing everything!

Cybrix Group Joins Forces with DNE for SPAWAR Contract

on Wednesday, 08 August 2012. Posted in Cyber Security

Cybrix Group announced today that through a new partnership with Dynamic Network Enterprises, Inc. (DNE), they have been chosen to support the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Atlantic (SPAWAR) with network and security services.

Read the full Press Release here

Letting a Minor Oversight Power Down your Business!

Written by Phil DuMas on Monday, 06 August 2012. Posted in Phil's Favorite Flub of the Month

Have you ever scoured your desk, emptying all the drawers, looking for your glasses; Only to find they've been on your head the whole time? Or flew around your house in a huff looking for your keys, accusing anyone and everyone of hiding them; Only to discover them in your pocket? We all have! Sometimes it's so easy to miss something that's right in front of your face. When it's your glasses or your keys, you end up a little embarrassed or a little late, but when it's your business IT network, the consequences can be a lot worse. It's my flub of the month: Minor oversights that lead to major complications!

Phil's Flub of the Month: Tech Support From a Big-Box Retailer??

Written by Phil DuMas on Friday, 15 June 2012. Posted in Phil's Favorite Flub of the Month

We’ve all seen those commercials for the Geek teams at the various major big-box retailers. The ones where a team of secret tech agents emerge from an IT clown car to swarm your device and fix all of your problems calmly and efficiently. Sounds convenient right? One centralized location that deals with any number of IT issues on every device imaginable. From your boss whose Blackberry is broken to your grandmother whose printer has been proclaiming “Paper Jam!” since the late 90's -everyone goes there! So they must be reliable, right? Here is a reason you might want to think twice about heading over to the Geek Team for your computer repair, it’s my flub of the month: tech support from a big-box retailer.