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Social Engineering: A Major Threat to Your Privacy

Social Engineering

Protecting your privacy takes more than running a privacy-oriented Linux distro and using a password manager. Many security experts believe the weakest link in any system is the human that operates it. In this article, we’ll learn what social engineering is and why it is such a threat. Then we’ll look at some of the […]

Social Engineering: A Major Threat to Your Privacy was originally found on Blokt – Privacy, Tech, Bitcoin, Blockchain & Cryptocurrency.

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Social Engineering
Social Engineering

Protecting your privacy takes more than running a privacy-oriented Linux distro and using a password manager. Many security experts believe the weakest link in any system is the human that operates it.

In this article, we’ll learn what social engineering is and why it is such a threat. Then we’ll look at some of the social engineering attacks that bad guys can use against you, both online and offline. We wrap it up with a few tips for protecting yourself from social engineering attacks.

What is Social Engineering?

Merriam-Webster defines social engineering as the “management of human beings in accordance with their place and function in society.” That sounds a little creepy in itself. But in recent years, the phrase has taken on a more manipulative, sinister meaning.

Today, social engineering means something like “manipulating people to give you confidential information.” When we talk about social engineering here, this is the sense that we’re using.

Why Social Engineering is Such a Threat

Criminals use social engineering because it is easier than hacking into a computer system. Tricking someone into telling you something they shouldn’t is relatively easy. Most people are trusting of others.

It doesn’t matter how secure your computer system is. Or where you stashed your personal documents. Or how many guards are in front of your offices. Social engineering attacks sidestep all that.

Famous ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick often used social engineering attacks to get into “secure” computer systems.

“Anyone who thinks that security products alone offer true security is settling for the illusion of security.” – Kevin D. Mitnick, The Art of Deception: Controlling the Human Element of Security

Criminals use social engineering attacks, both online and offline. Now we’ll look at some of the most common types of attacks and what you can do to defend yourself against them.

Let’s start with some of the online social engineering attacks beloved by hackers.

“A hacker is someone who uses a combination of high-tech cyber tools and social engineering to gain illicit access to someone else’s data.”John McAfee

Some Online Social Engineering Attacks

Here are a few of the most common online social engineering attacks:

  • Phishing
  • Spear Phishing
  • Baiting

Phishing

According to the Department of Homeland Security website, a phishing attack “uses email or malicious websites to solicit personal information by posing as a trustworthy organization.”

You’ve seen this kind of attack. We all get emails from official-sounding organizations claiming there’s a problem with our account, or they need to verify our credit card information.

The goal is to get you to click on the link in the email. That link will take you to a legitimate-looking, but phony, website for the organization. The website will be set up to trick you into entering your credit card data, Social Security number, or whatever it is that the crooks want to steal.

Spear Phishing

Spear phishing is a type of phishing attack where the attacker customizes the phishing email using personal information about the intended victim. In December 2018, the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) published a warning about several spear-phishing scams.

These scams were meant to gather the information that goes on IRS Form W-2. The target for these scams was small businesses. The bad guys would use the information to open credit card accounts, file fraudulent tax returns, open lines of credit, and so on.

Spear phishing attacks rely heavily on Pretexting attacks. We cover Pretexting attacks in the next section.

Baiting

Baiting attacks are somewhat similar to phishing attacks. The difference is that baiting attacks offer the target something they want instead of resolve a problem. In these kinds of attacks, you might get offered free music, copies of new movies, or any other kind of prize. To get the prize, you would be required to enter whatever type of personal information it is that the crook is after.

Baiting attacks can also occur offline. One such attack involves leaving USB sticks lying around somewhere employees of a target company might find them. The chances are good that someone will pick one up and plug it into their computer, letting whatever malicious software it contains loose inside the organization.

Some Offline Social Engineering Attacks

Here are some common types of offline social engineering attacks:

  • Pretexting
  • Tailgating/Piggybacking
  • Vishing (Voice Phishing)

Pretexting

Pretexting is using some form of a lie to trick someone into giving up information they should not share. Pretexting attacks can be run both online and offline. They are often used to get the personal information needed to set up Spear Phishing attacks.

An offline example might be someone who calls you, pretending to be from a lawyer’s office. You’ve just inherited a lot of money from a distant relative. All you need to do is provide certain information to prove your identity, and the lawyer will wire you the money. The pretext for the call is the phony inheritance.

Tailgating/Piggybacking

Tailgating usually involves passing through some sort of electronic security system using someone else’s access. Someone following close behind you when you pass through electronic security might not be a fellow employee at all. Instead, they might be someone tailgating on your access to go somewhere they don’t belong.

Vishing (Voice Phishing)

Vishing, or Voice Phishing, is the offline equivalent of a Phishing attack. There are several versions of this attack, but all use the telephone system. They aim to get the victim to divulge a credit card number or some other personal information in response to an official-sounding phone call.

These scams usually use VoIP (Voice over IP) technology to simulate the automated phone system that a real company might use. Phone systems used to be considered safe and trustworthy, making people more vulnerable to Vishing scams.

How to Defend Yourself from ONLINE Social Engineering Attacks

We’ve looked at some of the more common online social engineering attacks in use today. But what can you do to protect yourself from them?

Here are some practices that will reduce your chance of getting scammed:

  • Don’t open unexpected email attachments. If you receive an unexpected attachment, the chances are good that it is malicious. Contact the company IT department (if at work). If not at work, contact the sender (if you know them). Find out why you received it before opening any unexpected attachment.
  • Look up websites on your own. Remember that phishing-type attacks usually direct you to a fake website. You can avoid their trap by looking up the website address yourself rather than clicking on a link in an email message or attachment. If you do find yourself on a website you are unsure about, check out the URL (the address) that appears in the browser address box. While it is possible to make an exact duplicate of a legitimate website, no two sites can have the same URL. Looking up the company in a search engine should get you to the real site.
  • Never reveal your password to anyone online. No legitimate organization is going to ask a user for their password.
  • Use a VPN for additional privacy when browsing the web.

How to Defend Yourself from OFFLINE Social Engineering Attacks

We’ve also looked at common offline social engineering attacks. Here are some things you can do to protect yourself from offline attacks:

  • Don’t give personal information to callers. This may have been safe many years ago, but is not now. If someone calls you and says they need you to confirm some personal information, hang up on the creeps!
  • Don’t let anyone tailgate you to get past security. Regular criminals or ex-employees have been known to use this technique to get back onsite and steal things or exact vengeance.
  • Always demand an ID from anyone who shows up asking you for information.
  • Never plug anything into your computer if you don’t know where it came from!
Blokt is a leading independent privacy resource that maintains the highest possible professional and ethical journalistic standards.

Source: https://blokt.com/guides/social-engineering

Blockchain

Economist: Ethereum and Bitcoin Look “Bullish” After Withstanding “Macro Beating”

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Bitcoin and Ethereum are down from their recent 2021 highs, but compared to their traditional market counterparts, have shown more resilience during the recent “royal macro beating.”

Here’s why one top economist and investor says this is incredibly bullish for the two titan cryptocurrency assets.

Royal Macro Beating Can’t Take Down Bullish Bitcoin And Ethereum

This week, the stock market plunged, and precious metals saw a sharp selloff as the macro environment remains uneasy globally. Yet somehow, amidst a “royal macro beating”, Ethereum and Bitcoin have held up comparably well.

Economist and trader Alex Kruger says the resiliency is “bullish” for Bitcoin and Ethereum. The two top crypto assets have been in an uptrend for a full year now, and the recent macro jitters have been the first major bump in the road since.

Related Reading | “Wonderful” Shark Tank Investor Shifts Portion of Portfolio To Bitcoin and Ethereum 

Bitcoin exploded from lows around $4,000 to $58,000 per » Read more

” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin at the high, while Ethereum fell to under $100 and has risen to $2,000 since. The more than 10x rise, however, might be nowhere near the finish line, and holding up so well here could be the catalyst that sends the cryptocurrencies higher through the resistance level.

bitcoin and Ethereum macro beating

Ethereum and Bitcoin have held up extremely well compared to the S&P 500 and gold. | ETHUSD on TradingView.com

The Changing Of The Guard To Crypto Is Underway

The stock market is on thin ice, and precious metals cannot be upgraded or updated, and have limited use in the future as a store of value compared to cryptocurrencies.

The digital gold narrative has been working, and the steepness of the gold selloff above shows how effective the narrative has been. Crypto prices holding up so well while gold plummets, could send even more capital flowing out of metals and into the scarce digital asset.

Related Reading | Mark Cuban Slams Peter Schiff: Gold is Dead, Bitcoin and Ethereum Are Today

Profit-taking in the currency overheated stock market will want to follow the money, wherever the grass is greener and profits are consistent. If that place is the crypto market, the flood gates of capital could finally be coming that helps to push Bitcoin to prices of hundreds of thousands of dollars per » Read more

” href=”https://www.newsbtc.com/dictionary/coin/” data-wpel-link=”internal”>coin, and tens of thousands of dollars per Ether.

The nascent technologies are only now coming into their own as financial assets, and institutional investors have begun to recognize the shift from traditional assets, to digital ones, and the ones who have been early thus far have been the most profitable.

Will Bitcoin and Ethereum continue to hold up this well, or will they ultimately succumb to the continuing macro beating going on across markets right now?

Featured image from Deposit Photos, Charts from TradingView.com

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Source: https://www.newsbtc.com/news/bitcoin/ethereum-bitcoin-macro-beating-gold/

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Blockchain

3 million active users help lift Audius (AUDIO) to a new all-time high

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As blockchain technology increasingly becomes part of the mainstream conversation, its integration with today’s most used technologies is bound to increase. This means that it’s only a matter of time before video streaming, digital music and social media see gradual blockchain integrations take place. 

Audius (AUDIO) is one project that is chasing the first-mover advantage in the music streaming sector. The music-sharing and streaming protocol facilitates transactions between creators and listeners, making it relatively effortless for users to distribute and monetize audio content. 

The project has received increasing attention for its approach to decentralizing the music industry and on March 2 the team celebrated reaching 3 million monthly active users. 

Data from Cointelegraph Markets and TradingView shows that the price of AUDIO surged 108% since the start of March from a low of $0.38 to a new all-time high of $0.79 on March 4 as the altcoin’s trading volume spiked from $3 million to a record $55 million.

AUDIO/USDT 4-hour chart. Source: TradingView

Staking incentives drive user adoption

The first major increase in users followed the project’s October 2020 launch and the activation of staking on the Audius platform in December. This enabled AUDIO holders to earn a 7% yield for tokens that were staked on the network while they listening to music and interacted with the protocol.

By the end of January, the platform had 1.8 million active users and a total of 122 million AUDIO tokens staked on the network. These figures have since increased to 3 million users and a total of 182.5 million staked AUDIO as the platform continues to integrate new features that incentivize community involvement.

VORTECS™ data from Cointelegraph Markets Pro began to detect a bullish outlook for AUDIO on Feb. 28, prior to the recent price rise.

The VORTECS™ score, exclusive to Cointelegraph, is an algorithmic comparison of historic and current market conditions derived from a combination of data points including market sentiment, trading volume, recent price movements and Twitter activity.

VORTECS™ Score (green) vs. AUDIO price. Source: Cointelegraph Markets Pro

As seen in the chart above, the VORTECS™ score for AUDIO hit a peak of 69 on Feb. 28, just before the start of a prolonged uptrend in price which was further identified by a VORTECS™ score of 80 on March 1. After pulling back over the next 3 days the score again spiked to 70, just hours before a significant rise in the price of AUDIO.

On March 5, the project revealed its plans to integrate non-fungible tokens (NFT) into the protocol as part of its effort to offer a full-service decentralized platform and expand its user base.

NFTs have become a hot topic in the cryptocurrency sector in recent months, and their integration into the AUDIO platform is likely to bring a renewed wave of interaction from users.

As blockchain technology continues to become more prominent in mainstream society, Audius appears well-positioned to become a leader in the streaming music space thanks to a rapidly expanding user base and a growing list of incentives that entice users to stay active on the platform.

The views and opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cointelegraph.com. Every investment and trading move involves risk, you should conduct your own research when making a decision.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/3-million-active-users-help-lift-audius-audio-to-a-new-all-time-high

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Bybit to Cease Services for UK Citizens Following the FCA Ban on Crypto Derivatives Trading

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The first consequences from the FCA ban on crypto derivatives trading in the UK are evident for the popular digital asset exchange Bybit. The company announced earlier that it will suspend its services to all customers based in the United Kingdom. 

  • Established in 2018, Bybit is a cryptocurrency exchange headquartered in Singapore with a reported user base of over one million registered clients. However, the firm will seize offering its services to UK-based customers, according to a recent press release
  • The statement informed that all UK users have to close all of their opened positions and withdraw all account balances by 8 AM UTC, March 31st, 2021. Following that date, UK citizens will be “restricted from accessing or performing any trading activities on Bybit.” 
  • Furthermore, the exchange will immediately restrict all new registrations using UK mobile numbers and/or IP addresses. 
  • Bybit’s decision is a direct consequence of a ban on crypto derivatives trading in the UK instituted by the country’s regulator – the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). 
  • CryptoPotato reported last year that the watchdog planned to prohibit the sale, marketing, and distribution to all retail customers of crypto derivatives and exchange-traded notes (ETNs).  
  • At the time, the FCA described such products as “ill-suited for retail customers due to the harm they pose.” It also outlined that traders are unable to determine a reliable value because of the extreme volatility in the market and inadequate understanding. 
  • Interestingly, though, even the UK population couldn’t stop the FCA from implementing the ban as a survey compiled by the watchdog suggested that over 97% disagreed with the decision. 
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Source: https://cryptopotato.com/bybit-to-cease-services-for-uk-citizens-following-the-fca-ban-on-crypto-derivatives-trading/

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