Open Internet

Down with Doxing: What to do to stop it

Your data matters - simple tips to keep it sage from a new wave of cybercriminial

Down with Doxing: What to do to stop it

Your data matters - simple tips to keep it sage from a new wave of cybercriminial

Down with Doxing: What to do to stop it

Your data matters - simple tips to keep it sage from a new wave of cybercriminial

Doxing. Have you heard of it? If not, here's why you might want to get up to date and some simple tips to keep protected. Essential personal data protection reading.

Open access to data - friend or foe?

The accessibility of information today is one of our most empowering freedoms. But it can also fuel malicious personal attacks, known as doxing or doxxing. We're about to take you through what doxing is, how criminals do it and how to prevent it.

What is doxing?

Doxing is maliciously revealing personal information online, for example, posting an anonymous blogger's real name or address. Doxers aim to punish, intimidate or humiliate their target by finding out sensitive information and using it against them, like selling your credit card details or threatening to burgle your home.

The never-ending black hole of personal information that is the internet means anyone with the time, motivation and interest can weaponize your personal data. And doxing is a growing problem.

How does doxing work?

These are the most common ways doxers grab data to expose someone.

Tracking usernames

When someone uses one username across multiple platforms, doxers can follow the trail.

Phishing

Phishing scams are fake emails luring victims to click through to a malicious site where attackers may steal sensitive information.

Stalking social media

Geotagging your photos? Sharing your work location? Doxers can use this to build up a picture of your life and even to deduce the answers to your account security questions.

Is doxing that bad?

Yes. Doxing can have catastrophic consequences.

In 2015, hackers forced entry to dating site for people in committed relationships, Ashley Madison, stealing 32 million users' data. They demanded payment to return the records but didn't get it, so published all the data online, causing professional and personal harm, and probably a divorce or two. And then in 2020 Ashley Madison's attackers came back for more.

Doxing knows no bounds. There are no clear good or bad sides. After an anonymous UK-based security researcher saved the world from a powerful cyberattack, the media outed his real identity and address, leaving him open to a revenge attack from the cybercrime group he went out to stop. Marcus Hutchins' story is one of a kind.

Protect yourself from doxers with this checklist

Recent research shows more of our data is being sold to organizations and criminals. Cybercriminals could use almost all of it for doxing or cyberbullying.

Credit cards and banking log-ins are the most in-demand. They're used for extortion, phishing schemes and straight-up money theft. Meanwhile, doxxers use personal account access to cause reputational harm. How do you stop it happening to you? This anti-doxing checklist has everything you need to stay safe.

Keen to learn more about doxing and how to prevent it?

Kaspersky, in collaboration with endtab.org, has just released a free doxing training course. You'll learn about the dangers of dox attacks, how to protect against them and what to do if you're a victim.

Read more

Unravelling the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic cyberattack mystery

Unravelling the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic cyberattack mystery

Is the Olympics hacker heaven? Tech highs and lows

Our video picks: Olympic Games – tech success or failure?

As the Olympic torch begins its journey to Tokyo 2021's opening ceremony, we ask, is the Olympic Games a chance for technology to shine or a data breach waiting to happen?

Tech successes and failures at the Olympic Games

In ancient Greece, the Olympics began some 3,000 years ago as a sporting event to honour the god Zeus. As the iconic torch sets off on its journey to the Tokyo 2021 opening ceremony, we ask if the Olympic Games is where new technological standards are set, or a breeding ground for emerging cyber threats.

Tech successes and failures from Olympic history range from robotics to autonomous vehicles, to merciless malware that tried to start a cyberwar.

Highlight: Did this drone display steal the show?

Good Morning America shows us how new drones from Intel will change medal ceremonies forever.

Highlight: Tokyo’s high-tech plan for 2020 Olympics

With the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games just around the corner, here's a snapshot of the incredible technology the organizers will use to make the event smoother and more enjoyable for everyone.

Lowlight: One of the most deceptive hacks in cyber history?

If successful, the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics' cyberattack would have left a geopolitical disaster in its wake. hacker: Hunter Olympic Destroyer is a three-part series exploring the mysterious motives behind the attackers, why it's one of the most deceptive cyberattacks in history and the 'extraordinarily brilliant' response that stopped it in its tracks. Watch the full 2018 Olympic cyberattack series.

The Olympic Games is one of the biggest stages on Earth to champion technology in all forms. But with more than sports at stake if things go wrong – think, mountains of personal data and even competitors' health – how can businesses and organizations make sure this event and its tech is safe for all to enjoy?

Read more

Meeting the organization fighting to kill fake news

Meeting the organization fighting to kill fake news

Meeting the organization fighting to kill fake news

Read more

Human or animation - which is which?

This Unreal Engine tool lets you animate realistic digital humans

Human or animation - which is which?

This Unreal Engine tool lets you animate realistic digital humans

Human or animation - which is which?

This Unreal Engine tool lets you animate realistic digital humans

Read more

What data secrets can 185 hard drives tell you?

A live Q&A with Félix Aimé and Marco Preuss

What data secrets can 185 hard drives tell you?

A live Q&A with Félix Aimé and Marco Preuss

What data secrets can 185 hard drives tell you?

A live Q&A with Félix Aimé and Marco Preuss

Join presenter Rainer Bock to explore the great privacy challenges we face today, and what we can do to protect ourselves.

Join the privacy debate

Online privacy is more important than ever right now. Given the digital world's meteoric expansion, the ever-evolving threat landscape and murky data privacy court cases, this is the perfect time to brush up on what we're up against and how to stay safe.

Rainer Bock meets cybersecurity experts from Kaspersky's Global Research and Analysis Team, Marco Preuss and Félix Aimé. They discuss the critical stalkerware threat, programs that fight unwanted data sharing, and a bold privacy experiment involving 185 used hard drives, USB sticks and notepads.

Read more

Venezuela’s failed cryptocurrency experiment

Venezuela’s failed cryptocurrency experiment

Venezuela’s failed cryptocurrency experiment

Fighting hyperinflation with a state-backed cryptocurrency. What could possibly go wrong?

What happens when an authoritarian regime that controls every aspect of an economy creates a currency based on decentralization, free movement, and transparency? This is the explosive true story behind the world's first state-backed cryptocurrency.

A country-wide crypto experiment gone wrong

How many state governments do you know who'd put their faith in a cryptocurrency to level out hyperinflation and stop nation-wide riots? Not many, probably. And yet, that's exactly what Venezuala did to reinvigorate its economy amid financial carnage. Truthfully though, they didn't do too many of the hard yards. Instead, they supported entrepreneur Gabriel Jimenez to create the petro (₽), or petromoneda – the world's first state-backed cryptocurrency.

But as you can expect, when an authoritarian regime meets tech based on decentralization, there will be fireworks. As part of Tomorrow Unlocked's Coded series three, (now launching on Freethink) episode four focuses on entrepreneur and crypto-expert Gabriel Jimenez's journey from national hero to enemy of the state. Brace yourself for this one.

Read more

Into the hackers’ trap: Where Olympic Destroyer really came from

The final instalment of our series hacker:HUNTER Olympic Destroyer examines how Pyeongchang winter Olympics hackers put smokescreen to misdirect cybersecurity analysts. But through the fog, analysts realized the culprit wasn't who you might expect.

“Like placing someone else’s fingerprints at the crime scene.”

If successful, the 2018 Pyeongchang cyberattack could have cost billions of dollars, leaving a canceled Olympics and a geopolitical disaster in its wake. Their deceptive methods meant the cybercriminals nearly got away with it. Why did they want to point the analysts at another group? And who was behind it all?

Threat attribution – what is it?

Cybercriminals don't leave a calling card, but they do leave evidence. The art of finding and using that evidence to find the culprit is known as threat attribution.

Threat attribution is forensic analysis for advanced persistent threats (APTs). It analyzes the attackers' 'fingerprints,' such as the style of their code, where they attack and what kinds of organizations they target. Attacks can be matched with the fingerprints of other attacks attributed to specific groups.

Cybercriminals carry special ‘fingerprints’

Hackers have their own set of tactics, techniques and procedures. Cybersecurity experts can identify threat actors by studying these elements.

In February 2016, hackers attempted to steal $851 million US dollars and siphoned $81 million US dollars from the Central Bank of Bangladesh. The attack was linked to notorious cyber espionage and sabotage group Lazarus Group. Lazarus attacks casinos, financial institutions, and investment and cryptocurrency software developers.

Lazarus has certain targets and ways of attacking: Infecting a website employees of a targeted organization often visit or finding a vulnerability in one of their servers. These are the 'fingerprints' used in threat attribution.

Finding a needle within in a needle in a haystack

Crucially, Lazarus Group is long thought to be linked to North Korea. Olympic Destroyer included a piece of Lazarus's malware code, but the type of attack didn't fit. Its fingerprints better matched a cluster of attacks by another group with a very different agenda.

Watch the full video to see if you knew who the hacker was all along.

This APT might not have worked, but over the years, others have. To see what a successful APT looks like, watch Chasing Lazarus: A hunt for the infamous hackers to prevent big bank heists.

Read more

AI tech lets disabled gamers smash access barriers

AI tech lets disabled gamers smash access barriers

AI tech lets disabled gamers smash access barriers

By 2023, there could be over three billion gamers worldwide. But for some people with disabilities, taking part in this wildly popular passion can be frustrating to impossible. Now, one piece of tech is out to make slaying dragons and building civilizations accessible to all. Will it change the future of gaming?

The AI-powered voice of a generation’s gamers

Since the world's first video game 'Pong' appeared in 1958, gaming has evolved in ways never imagined. But game accessibility is still a problem for as many as 30 million people in the US, because they have an impairment that means they come up against accessibility barriers when gaming.

Fridai is changing all that. The voice-activated, AI-powered assistant gives advice on anything gamers with disabilities may need, from hands-free options to being reminded of the game's objective. In Defenders of Digital series two, episode four, Mark Engelhardt, Fridai's Co-founder and CEO, talks about how the technology uses AI to create a new interface between humans and machines.

Read more

Empowering African women against cyber-harassment

Empowering African women against cyber-harassment

Empowering African women against cyber-harassment

Online abuse and cyber-harassment mean a disproportionate number of women remove themselves from crucial discussions. One not-for-profit is making a change for women in East Africa.

Can women protect themselves from online harassment?

In the digital age, not only do we send videos to friends and sing online karaoke with those we've never met, many are using social media to fight for equality. But online harassment, image-based sexual abuse (also called 'revenge porn') and cyberattacks can stop women especially from being part of the conversation that leads to real change. These cowardly acts also leave victims feeling embarrassed, ashamed and alone.

Safe Sisters is a fellowship program empowering girls and women, especially human rights activists, journalists and those in the media, to fight online abuse. In Defenders of Digital season two episode five, Safe Sisters' Immaculate Nabwire explains a landmark Ugandan image-based sexual abuse case that inspires her, the digital threats women in East Africa face and how her team are fighting for change.

Read more

How to defend privacy in digital space?

How to defend privacy in digital space?

How to defend privacy in digital space?

Read more

Fighting police for openness on cell tracking

Fighting police for openness on cell tracking

Fighting police for openness on cell tracking

The history of surveillance is one of control. As monitoring technologies accelerate, one not-for-profit noticed a concerning rise in unethical police cell phone observation. Their objections led to new, stronger digital rights legislation.

Stingrays and cell phones: Is your pocket private?

Smartphones have improved our lives more than we could have imagined. We work on them, use them to take and store private photos and they know where we are at any moment. But with advanced surveillance techniques, phones have become a powerful way for law enforcement to observe and identify us, ethically or not.

Last year's change to remote life made us all digital. Are we now in danger of trading private digital data for convenient digital services? Check out Kaspersky's privacy predictions for 2021 and learn how this year is going to affect our privacy in cyberspace.

One Chicago not-for-profit, Lucy Parsons Labs, is demanding government agencies like the police and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) be more transparent about how and why they track people through their phones. Defenders of Digital episode three speaks with Lucy Parsons Labs' Executive Director Freddy Martinez about how law enforcement use technologies to covertly observe people, what it means for digital rights and how his team made US legal history.

Read more

The pandemic that changed it all – also digitally

While COVID seemed to make everything worse, some positive sides appeared, too.

The pandemic that changed it all – also digitally

While COVID seemed to make everything worse, some positive sides appeared, too.

The pandemic that changed it all – also digitally

While COVID seemed to make everything worse, some positive sides appeared, too.

We have all been in some kind of pandemic-changed life for months now. While the strictest lockdowns are being lifted, the next wave might already be coming back. But besides all the bad news which came up in our daily news ticker, there have been also many positive news and quite creative outcomes. So, enjoy some of the greatest positive outcomes during corona-crisis.

Read more

Sharing is Caring

How to make sure your digital comfort zone stays yours?

Sharing is Caring

How to make sure your digital comfort zone stays yours?

Sharing is Caring

How to make sure your digital comfort zone stays yours?

Ever "hacked" into someone's network and sent them weird messages to their printers? When I started university there were too many people not securing their internet, which meant a lot of fun for me and my friends, but not for the ones whose printers started coughing up 100 pages of "Set a password, i****!" at 1 am in the morning.

But nowadays we secure everything with all kinds of complicated passwords, and then we share our Netflix, Spotify or Amazon accounts with everybody. Which is nice, and if you trust the person there is no harm. In fact, 46% of people feel comfortable sharing their streaming services with their housemates according to a recent study by Kaspersky. On the other hand, 32% are sharing their accounts, although they are unsure about their safety, as they do not know about their friends' digital habits.

But how can you still keep your things private and your digital comfort zone secure?

Private versus public network

Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

Which a lot of my past dorm mates did wrong, was to connect to the dorm's internet and not set it as a public network. A computer is only as intelligent as the person sitting in front of it, and if you set the network as a private network, it won't restrict people from accessing your information or devices.

Passwords for everything!

Yes, we all hate passwords and still they save us not just from nosy siblings, but also from insecure connections, and cybercriminals. If you tend to forget your passwords, then you may want to try out a password manager. They can be a real help, especially when it comes to sensitive information.

Educate yourself

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash

Treating yourself is great, but you have to educate yourself before that: check the security settings on your devices, and if you have no idea what you could do ask a friend or search Google. Especially when it comes to smart devices you have to make sure, nobody but you can access them, as they hold a lot of information about you.

Say “No!”

Photo by Lucas Sankey on Unsplash

There is no shame in rejecting your friends or housemates when they want you to share your services with them. Especially if they do not know the difference between a firewall and antivirus software or if they think Sunshine258 is a strong password. If you do want to help them out, you can set up their devices for them, and explain to them how important it is to stay safe and alert online.

Read more

Why do these farmers hack their tractors?

Why do these farmers hack their tractors?

No right to repair?

The other week, my car was at a technical check. It is a hybrid and they wanted to analyze the exhaust fumes. Yet, the car doesn't start the combustion engine before it reaches a certain speed - the software says so. It was quite entertaining watching them get more and more upset with my car - yet after 10 minutes they found what they had to do to let the software know that it needs to start the "dirty engine".

Read more

Venezuela’s failed cryptocurrency experiment

Venezuela’s failed cryptocurrency experiment

Overdrawing your bank account for a loaf of bread?

The inflation in Venezuela is increasing day by day. This means that doing your basic grocery shopping could lead to people overdrawing their bank account. A man who had plans to give the people their financial freedom back is Gabriel Jiménez. He is the entrepreneurial brain behind Venezuela's Petro, the system that sought to make history as the first state-backed cryptocurrency. He wanted to change the world, but instead, he had to flee his country.

Read more

COVID fake news and false hope

COVID fake news and false hope

COVID fake news and false hope

"Cybercriminals were quick to realize many years ago that people fall prey to hot topics," says Costin Raiu, Director of Global Research & Analysis, Kaspersky. And today's hottest topic is the pandemic.

Chapter 2 of hacker:HUNTER ha(ck)c1ne explores COVID-related phishing attacks, known as spear-phishing. These attacks skyrocketed by nearly seven times between February and March this year.

When the virus took force, and we were all frantic trying to help each other, cybercriminals found a way to wreak havoc. In September, Facebook announced an aid program of $100 million for small business owners affected by the pandemic. When the story was picked up by the media, hackers started fishing (or, more accurately, phishing) with the bait.

Hack the news

Cybercriminals published fake news saying Facebook would be handing out free money to everyone affected by COVID-19. On a site cleverly disguised to look like Facebook, you fill out a form that shares personal data like your address, social security number or a photo of your ID. You get a confirmation message that your application has been accepted and sit back and wait for the money to arrive. It never will.

The worst part? It's not the false hope, but what cybercriminals can do with this information: tricking friends and family members into sending money, credit card fraud or even identity theft

.

You've got mail

It's not just people like us who criminals are targeting - organizations are hit too. At work, you get sent an email you think is from someone you know or your manager. But when you click on a link or open an attachment, it downloads malicious software opening the door for hackers to access the corporate network. They download data to sell on the dark web, or encrypt it via ransomware and force the business to pay the ransom to stop it from being leaked.

Keep it safe

Photo by Adam Nieścioruk on Unsplash

Criminals have the resources to hit everyone, from society's most vulnerable people to lucrative targets like big businesses and government. "Clearly the world is not as safe as we would like it to be. We're surrounded by all kinds of new and different threats," explains Zak Doffman, Founder and CEO of Digital Barriers. "The access to COVID treatments is a nation-state wide competitive advantage."

In the face of this influx of threats, more kudos to the people keeping us and our data safe, like the Cyber Volunteers 19. To keep yourself safe, Kaspersky Daily serves up advice on spotting and protecting yourself from the Facebook grants scam.

Read more

Unravelling the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic cyberattack mystery

Unravelling the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic cyberattack mystery

Unravelling the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic cyberattack mystery

Looking forward to watching the Olympic Games in Tokyo? Here's a reminder of what happened at the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang

Barely noticed by the public, but an elaborate hacking attack hit the stadium, starting a cyber-political puzzle.

A cyber winter

It is February 9, 2018. The stage is set for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics' opening ceremony. But the organizers didn't realize one of the most deceptive cyberattacks in history was afoot.

This three-part series looks at the background to the Pyeongchang cyberattack, the Olympics IT team's stunning response and why it was so hard (and so risky) to find out who did it.

Read more

Meet the tech visionaries defending your digital world

Meet the tech visionaries defending your digital world

Meet the tech visionaries defending your digital world

Five digital defenders, one goal: Protecting us every day

The Defenders of Digital video series profiles tech experts who guard the digital world. We'll soon launch season two, but for now, these are the five people whose stories started it all. They're critical to our future: they make our digital world safe, free, open and functional. Who are they, and what motivates them?

Episode 1: Eva Galperin returns victims’ privacy

Eva Galperin was outraged by a hacker who abused women then threatened to compromise their devices if they spoke out. She has since become the most powerful voice in the fight against stalkerware, and in doing so, helped thousands of victims get their privacy back.

Episode 2: Einar Otto Stangvik identifies photo thieves

Security specialist Einar Otto Stangvik wanted to use his programming skills to do more than make money. He developed software to identify hackers stealing and sharing private photos from iCloud backups. One hacker turned out to be a prominent public figure.

Now Stangvik is onto an even more ambitious project that will help vulnerable children.

Episode 3: Salvi Pascual uncensors the internet for Cubans

Salvi Pascual knows the heavily censored Cuban media and internet well. When he moved to the US, friends started asking him to send them online content they wanted. It turned into a business, but getting around government controls had Pascual's team always on their toes. Soon, they'd developed a solution that's uncensored the internet for thousands of Cubans.

Episode 4: Giorgio Patrini finds fakes for humanity

Giorgio Patrini is fighting back against the constant threat of fake news.

'Deepfakes' is the disturbing phenomenon of videos or audio that use AI-based algorithms to substitute one person for another. Nearly indistinguishable from the real thing, they're used to harass, blackmail and commit fraud. But Patrini knew when technology creates a problem, it can also create a solution.

Episode 5: Kira Rakova gives us back privacy control

Kira Rakova believes our digital footprint is like a private journal. A breach of private online information is like publishing someone's diary without their consent. While there is increasing concern over personal data being used to manipulate and defraud, not everyone understands the risks and what they can do about them.

That's where Rakova and her team come in. They use privacy auditing to help people regain control of their data.

Watch out for Defenders of Digital series two

You've seen the first series of Defenders of Digital. Soon, we'll bring you a new series with changemakers from around the globe.

Subscribe to Tomorrow Unlocked on YouTube for the latest episodes.

Read more

The people fighting online child exploitation, one image at a time

Meet Susie Hargreaves and her team.

The people fighting online child exploitation, one image at a time

Meet Susie Hargreaves and her team.

The people fighting online child exploitation, one image at a time

Meet Susie Hargreaves and her team.

Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) hunts down child sexual abuse images online and helps identify children involved so that law enforcement can intervene. While the recent pandemic has triggered greater numbers of child abuse images, CEO Susie Hargreaves and her team are fighting back with a new piece of tech.

Defenders of Digital episode one: Internet Watch Foundation 

COVID-19 has fuelled a disturbing increase in child sex abuse material online. Our latest Defenders of Digital series begins by introducing Susie Hargreaves's team at Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) and explores their mission to make children safer. It also looks at how the pandemic has moved the goalposts and the new tech making a difference.

Where it all began 

Formed in 1996 in response to a fast-growing number of online child abuse cases, IWF's 155 members include tech's biggest names, such as Microsoft and Google. They're united by the common goal to rid the internet of child sexual abuse images and videos.

Online child abuse is a growing issue

The pandemic has made the issue of online child sexual abuse material more acute. During lockdown in the UK alone, IWF says 300,000 people were looking at online child sexual abuse images at any one time. What's worse, the material is always changing.

Self-generated content: A dark twist

IWF has recently seen a worrying rise in self-generated sexual abuse material, chiefly among girls age 11 to 13. The victim is groomed or coerced into photographing or filming themselves, which the sexual predator captures and distributes online. In the past year alone, the proportion of online content they're removing that is self-generated has risen from 33 to 40 percent.

New tech making the difference

There are encouraging developments helping IWF with their work. Microsoft's PhotoDNA analyzes known child exploitation images, finds copies elsewhere on the internet, and reports them for removal. It helped IWF remove 132,700 web pages showing child sexual abuse images in 2019. How does it work?

PhotoDNA scours the web for matching images

First, PhotoDNA creates a unique digital fingerprint of a known child abuse image, called a 'hash.' It compares that fingerprint against other hashes across the internet to find copies. It reports copies it finds to the site's host. It's a fast and ingenious way to shut down child exploitation.

Help stop child sexual exploitation: Report abuse images

Internet users who have stumbled across suspected child abuse images and reported them to IWF have been instrumental in starting a process that's led to many children in abusive situations receiving help. If you see an image or video you think may show child sexual exploitation, report it anonymously to IWF.

Want to learn how to better protect your kids when they're online? A free training course, based on the Skill Cup mobile app and developed with Kaspersky, is now available for parents to understand the challenges children face today.

Explore the course to better protect your kids online.

Read more

This NGO believes an online privacy utopia is worth fighting for

This NGO believes an online privacy utopia is worth fighting for

This NGO believes an online privacy utopia is worth fighting for

Algorithms are everywhere, but they are trained based on the beliefs of their developer. In episode two of our second season of Defenders of Digital, we learn about Homo Digitalis' work to expose algorithm bias that impedes digital rights for millions. The first corporate they catch might surprise you.

Ethical algorithm moderation

Algorithms can improve our experience online. But one not-for-profit is going beyond the code for the greater good. Founded in 2018, Homo Digitalis has over 100 members. They promote transparency in algorithmic programming and safeguards against discrimination by algorithm.

Because programmers – as humans – have biases, algorithms learn from those biases. When we hand power over to the algorithm, it may erode digital rights and impinge freedom of expression without us knowing.

Homo Digitalis has already called out one tech giant for their moderation process. It could have impacted millions. Who was it? Find out in Defenders of Digital season two, episode two.

Read more

Trust In Me

How Social Rating Impacts Your Mortgage Rate

Do we not all dread the moment when we show a friend a photo on our phone and they start swiping to see the next picture? And usually there is nothing alarming in our gallery – maybe a few hundred snapshots of us trying to (unsuccessfully) take a cute selfie with a pet. But on the other hand, all those pictures are backed up on a private cloud, such as iCloud or Google Cloud. Not just pictures: our search history, contacts, location data, social media activities or expenses are stored online, as well. The leaking of our data is not the biggest issue here, as we may secure it very easily with the right security software – the main problem which none of us seems to grasp is that we trust that this information will not be used against us.

Behavioral Data and Analytics

As most of you already know, every time we do anything online our data is being collected and analyzed in order to gain insights on our behavior. It is mainly used for ecommerce platforms, online gaming, apps, and IoT devices, to give users an ideal experience. In China retailer Alibaba uses the Zhima Credit system to create a social score where people can voluntarily choose being scored on their behavior. Citizens use it, as a huge number of them does not own a traditional credit history. A positive Zhyma score allows banks to score their credit risk. On the other hand, people with a positive score also have opportunities to get better deals in general. People use the Zhima Credit system because they are sure to earn high scores, and if they do not, they can still choose to conceal the information, right?

Are you trustworthy?

Once something is online it stays online, and it can and will be used against you. A recent international study by Kaspersky shows that out of 10.000 people, 30 pc already experienced issues because of social rating systems, like not getting a job or getting different prices for the same product online. I myself remember an issue my friend faced from an online retailer a few years back: There was this online shop I recommended to my friend, as you could order a bunch of cloths to try them on and only have to pay after you know which pieces you want to keep. While I could just create an account and shop ahead, my friend was denied the final step for ordering, and had to allow them getting insights into his SCHUFA score (SCHUFA: The General Credit Protection Association in Germany) or paying upfront. So, my friend's online behavior gave the online retail company the impression, that he may not be trustworthy or able to pay them, and therefore denied him the service I thought was regular. Professor Chengyi Lin, Affiliate Professor at INSEAD: "If we have a holistic view on individual's life and integrate it in one score that score could have a huge impact on all of these aspects, from financials, how you get a mortgage, getting your next job, to how you interact with others through a social setting."

“This stays between us, okay?”

We all have this friend who we trust and share everything with, and are sure, even without saying, that the information shared is confidential. But we also have this one friend, that no matter how often you tell them "This stays between us, okay?" a few weeks later everyone knows, because they share it with their best friend, and they share it with their best friend, and so on. This is kind of what happens online. No matter how many buttons we click to deactivate being followed or how many script blockers we use, online platforms have a lot of data about you, and are very fine with sharing them for the right amount of money with other platforms to present you the perfect ad. But the perfect ad or a different price are not the most troubling part. In November 2019 Facebook reported that a number of 128.617 demands for user data by governments all over the world were made in the first half of 2019 – a record high! So, you could land on the no flight list just for posting the wrong meme or befriending the wrong people on Facebook without really knowing why.

Share with caution

Just like you would not share everything with everyone in real life, you need to be cautious of what you share online. "Take a second, think about your own data. What are you willing to exchange for the value of your data?", suggests Prof. Chengyi Lin. It is not just likes or comments, but also your pictures: "Right now in the US a lot of protests are being monitored through a facial recognition system that could indicate on how police and others treat the protestors," (Chengyi Lin). Social rating is not really something we can escape as easily as we may think, as it will play a much bigger part in our future, than now. All we can do is be aware of the possible consequences and think twice, if we really have to post this fun picture from last night's party or that meme about how much month is left at the end of the money.

Read more

Data versus Trust

How much privacy can there be in the decade of data?

Your phone, your watch, your home – as long as it has a smart in front of its name it has your data. With every click you make, every location you track and every question you ask Siri or Google, your information is being harvested. The collection of users' personal information improves consumer experiences and delivered services, yet also poses additional online threats and risks. The past decade has demonstrated several cases proving that sometimes it is not only a risk, but a certain danger. With that in mind, what kind of privacy hazards could come our way in the 2020s?

Data Control

As we see it now, governments will continue to excerpt stricter control over user data and tighten security. This may be blamed on intensifying terrorism and instability in the world and worryingly wide access to users' personal information from businesses.

Data at Risk

Crowd walking over binary code

While the rationale behind the above is clear, enhanced access to user data naturally implies many risks, such as unauthorized access and consequently compromising privacy or even leaking information.

The biggest challenge posed to regulating parties will always be: constantly adapting regulations at the same speed new technologies are being developed. We currently don't see a huge trend in companies changing their behavior in dealing with user data. The only improvement is that users are being asked to give their consent over how the data is used, and it is now mandatory in many countries. We don't see any strong trend in adding real life security for protecting sensitive user data. Moreover, there's already a growing gap between regulation and real life practice. With the latter being much faster – we have toothless regulations as result.

Advice here is simple – try to limit your data-sharing patterns online. Avoid exposing your data and sensitive information unless it is necessary.

Cyber Battle for Privacy

The trends outlined above will clearly drive privacy protection technologies. Tech-savvy users will know their way around such solutions, with more technologies arising to circumvent them – inevitably extending the arms race in this area.

At the same time, users will become more proactive when it comes to their privacy, and this will influence higher demand for password managers, VPN services, tokens for two-factor authentication (2FA) and special privacy solutions. However, protection mechanisms like 2FA tokens and password managers are just at the endpoint, while attacks and misuse are often happening at the backend. These tools are good and needed to protect the local environment but do not protect against attacks and abuse of the utilized systems like the cloud for example. VPNs are useful to protect against data collection in certain scenarios - like real IP-addresses or geolocation - but still do not protect against voluntarily shared data by users with services like Google and Facebook etc.

Advice here is keep an eye on new ways to protect your privacy and use only trusted solutions. Invest your time in exploring the issue because security of your privacy is not just a new luxury – it is as essential as brushing your teeth every day.

Data Currency

Amusing online tests and other applications that gamify the processing of user data harvesting and collection will still be around as they bring engagement to owners and entertainment to users. However, while compromising their data – and this is why their enduring popularity should not stay unnoticed, nor underestimated.

Advice here is to, if possible, not take part in unnecessary applications of the kind and do not share your private information. Nothing comes for free, and if something does – it is mostly paid for with your discreetly collected data.

Fighting Public Manipulation

These attacks are happening for many years already – and there is no reason for them to stop. The upcoming decade will not only open yet another round in the political pendulum of global society due to a new US presidential election – new technology for fake visual and audio IDs already exist. These two factors will bring undesired attention and abuse from all sorts of parties. The good thing is that where there is action, there is also reaction – and we definitely can count on new methods to withstand the risks of public manipulation.

What does it have to do with privacy? If you're not vigilant, your data could be exploited in these manipulated visual and audio IDs. To protect yourself from this, do not expose yourself if you are not sure you are dealing with a proven and truly secure platform.

IoT vendors will start investing in security on a new scale

The last few years have been very turbulent for the cybersecurity industry. Hacks and specific malware, data breaches, geopolitical tensions and disinformation campaigns across the globe – you name it - have all caused challenges.

We think that this sort of activity will push vendors to a new level of collaboration for the sake of security. Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance have announced the creation of a new working group to develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among IoT products, with security as a fundamental design tenet. Hopefully, others will follow their lead.

In that sense, the 2020s will be an interesting decade filled with both challenges and opportunities.

Read more

Women in tech – start your career now

Women in tech – start your career now

Women in tech – start your career now

"Recently, a young woman approached me during my daughter´s cheerleading practice. She asked me what I do for a living. She'd been thinking about her future and had overheard me talking about cybersecurity. We spent some time talking about my role and my passion. At age 17, she was already concerned that being a woman in the industry might be hard." - Daniela Alvarez de Lugo, General Manager at Kaspersky.

What would you have advised her if you were in this situation?

This year for International Women's Day, people around the world are talking about how we can improve equality, so the next generation of girls can achieve whatever they want in their life and career. So, we asked women in tech business: How can we get there faster

Be brave and follow your passion

Luckily, we do not live in the 1960s anymore, where it was very unusual and nearly impossible for a woman to work in the tech or science branches. But even back then we do find success stories, like the example of Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson shows.

No doubt – the share of women working in tech is still sadly small. According to a research from Adeva, the ratio of women in computing jobs is around 25 percent and only 3 percent of female students would consider a career in technology as their first choice.

"Ten years ago, I would've warned her that in tech, she'd have to work harder than male colleagues. I would have said, 'Hide your emotions and adopt a chilled image.' But instead, I told her, 'Choose a career that makes you want to go for more every day. Your intelligence, hard work, passion and honesty will make you stand out.", says Daniela Alvarez de Lugo.

Daniela Alvarez de Lugo, General Manager at Kaspersky

Indeed, girls and young professionals should not be afraid of the numbers above, in contrary, they should encourage women to be part of the change. All they need is to hear about the career's opportunities and advantages.

"I believe gender equality will benefit all industries. Men and women have different needs, ideas and visions. Diversity is a way to improve and expand." - Vicky Piria, Racing Driver.

Vicky Piria, Racing Driver

Open up the doors in tech industry

Our society is getting more and more digital every day and we can't imagine living without technologies like our smartphone or computer. Accordingly, there are many tech companies worldwide and a lot of them are counting to the most successful organizations.

But in the cybersecurity sector, for instance, it can be hard for young professionals to enter, according to Noushin Shabab, security researcher at Kaspersky. "Many organizations recruit only experts. This leaves few opportunities for graduates and other newcomers who want to start their cyber security career. We need to create more internships and jobs for recent grads. But more important than hiring the same number of men and women is building a culture that lets women and men work and grow in a balanced, healthy and safe environment. If we love where we work, we enjoy and achieve more."

Noushin Shabab, Security Researcher at Kaspersky

Luckily, there have been organizations already, which have the mission to empower and support women with the access and community they need to succeed in tech business:

Let’s make a promise to the next generation of women  

Those working in tech, and particularly cybersecurity, know the importance of anticipating what's next and getting ahead of it. It may seem like we've been trying to solve the same problem forever, but the progress is there for all to see.

The task now is to see it through. Let's all play our part to promise today's children who are starting school that when they begin their careers in a few decades, the world will be a place where there are no limits on their ambitions. Please share this article over your social media, if you want to make an impact and empower the talents of tomorrow. You may reach the girl who will stop the cyber virus, which endangers the whole world in 2030?

Read more

How did lockdown affect creativity? TWELVE stories

Snapshots on creativity during the year that changed everything.

How did lockdown affect creativity? TWELVE stories

Snapshots on creativity during the year that changed everything.

How did lockdown affect creativity? TWELVE stories

Snapshots on creativity during the year that changed everything.

What does a pandemic do to our creativity? 2020 was a year of uncertainty and isolation, but many used life behind closed doors to create in new ways. From yoga-fusion to quarantine imaginations, TWELVE captures one-minute intimate stories from lockdowns around the world.

In a global pandemic, everything changes

Many things helped us through lockdown, but creativity was high on the list. In the wake of COVID-19, millions took to writing, singing, painting and other forms of expression to make the most of the time. If we couldn't be creative in our normal lives, how would it be behind closed doors?

In partnership with The Community Creatives, TWELVE captures creatives' lives during the COVID crisis. These one-minute, insightful short films are all about creation, connection and change.

Watch all TWELVE films: https://www.tomorrowunlocked.com/twelveminutes/

Keen to get involved? Sign up to make sure you hear about our next callout.

Read more