The Tech Cor­ner

The Tech Cor­ner is a weekly tech­nol­ogy news and ad­vice col­umn pre­sented each week cour­tesy of Melvin McCrary at Ga. Com­puter De­pot in Cedar­town.

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

In­ter­net of Things

Af­ter in­stalling In­ter­net-en­abled sur­veil­lance cam­eras, net­work at­tached stor­age devices, or other home au­to­ma­tion devices, you learn that they are con­stantly phon­ing home to a peer-to-peer (P2P) net­work run by the Chi­nese man­u­fac­turer of the hard­ware. Most of th­ese will not al­low block­ing this with­out soft­ware or hard­ware mod­i­fi­ca­tion.

Foscam is one of sev­eral Chi­nese com­pa­nies that come with peer-topeer net­work­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties baked in. This fact is not ex­actly spelled out to the user (al­though some of the mod­els listed do say “P2P” in the prod­uct name, oth­ers do not).

Th­ese P2P - based cam­eras have a set­ting to dis­able P2P traf­fic (it is en­abled by de­fault), Foscam has ad­mit­ted that dis­abling the P2P op­tion doesn’t stop the de­vice from seek­ing out other P2P hosts. This P2P func­tion is built into most cam­eras and de­signed to by­pass fire­walls and can’t be switched off.

Fraud­sters Tap Kohl’s Cash for Cold Cash

Scam artists are us­ing hacked ac­counts from re­tailer Kohls.com to or­der high-priced, bulky mer­chan­dise that is then shipped to the vic­tim’s home.

While the crooks don’t get the stolen mer­chan­dise, the unau­tho­rized pur­chases rack up “Kohl’s cash” that the thieves quickly re­deem at Kohl’s lo­ca­tions for items that can be resold for cash or re­turned for gift cards.

Turns out, the crim­i­nal wasn’t af­ter the mer­chan­dise at all. Rather, the pur­pose of chang­ing her email ad­dress was to drain the ac­count’s stored Kohl’s cash, a form of re­bate that Kohl’s of­fers cus­tomers — cur­rently $10 for ev­ery $50 spent at the store. Two fraud­u­lent or­ders to­tal­ing $1400.00 yielded $220 in Kohls cash to­tal, which is emailed once the or­der is con­firmed.

Trane Com­fortLink II Ther­mo­stat

Cisco re­searchers found that Com­fort Link devices al­low at­tack­ers to gain re­mote ac­cess and also use th­ese devices as a jump­ing off point to ac­cess the rest of a user’s net­work. Trane has not yet re­sponded to re­quests for com­ment.

One big prob­lem is that the Com­fortLink ther­mostats come with cre­den­tials that have hard­coded pass­words. By de­fault, the ac­counts can be used to re­motely log in to the sys­tem over “SSH,” an en­crypted com­mu­ni­ca­tions tun­nel that many users al­low through their fire­wall. The two other bugs Cisco re­ported to Trane would al­low at­tack­ers to in­stall their own ma­li­cious soft­ware on vul­ner­a­ble Trane devices, and use those sys­tems to main­tain a per­sis­tent pres­ence on the vic­tim’s lo­cal net­work.

On Jan­uary 26, 2016, Trane patched the more se­ri­ous of the flaws ( the hard­coded cre­den­tials). Ac­cord­ing to Cisco, Trane patched the other two de­fects as part of a stan­dard up­date re­leased back in May 2015, but ap­par­ently with­out pro­vid­ing cus­tomers any in­di­ca­tion that the up­date was crit­i­cal to their pro­tec­tion ef­forts.

Skim­mers Hi­jack ATM Net­work Cables

ATM maker NCR is warn­ing about skim­ming at­tacks that in­volve key­pad over­lays, hid­den cam­eras and skim­ming devices plugged into the ATM net­work cables to in­ter­cept cus­tomer card data.

In an alert sent to cus­tomers, NCR said it re­ceived re­li­able re­ports of NCR and Diebold ATMs be­ing at­tacked through the use of ex­ter­nal skim­ming devices that hi­jack the cash ma­chine’s phone or In­ter­net jack.

“Th­ese devices are plugged into the ATM net­work cables and in­ter­cept cus­tomer card data. Ad­di­tional devices are at­tached to the ATM to cap­ture the PIN,” NCR warned. “A key­board over­lay was used to at­tack an NCR ATM, a con­cealed cam­era was used on the Diebold ATM. PIN data is then likely trans­mit­ted wire­lessly to the skim­ming de­vice.”

Safe­way Self-Check­out Skim­mer

Se­cu­rity ex­perts dis­cov­ered skim­ming devices at­tached to credit and debit

card ter­mi­nals at self- check­out lanes of Safe­way stores in Colorado and pos­si­bly other states. There is a sim­ple how-to video made by a fraud­ster who is sell­ing very sim­i­lar-look­ing over­lay skim­mers for Ver­i­fone point- of- sale devices; The de­vice can be at­tached very quickly (and re­moved quickly as well). The de­vice in the video is just a shell, and does not in­clude the POS PIN pad reader or card reader.

47% Spike in ID Theft Due to Tax Fraud

The U.S. Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion (FTC) to­day said it tracked a nearly 50 per­cent in­crease in iden­tity theft com­plaints in 2015, and that by far the big­gest con­trib­u­tor to that spike was tax re­fund fraud. The an­nounce­ment co­in­cided with the de­but of a beefed up FTC Web site aimed at mak­ing it eas­ier for con­sumers to re­port and re­cover from all forms of ID theft. It is en­cour­ag­ing to see the FTC urg­ing con­sumers to re­quest a se­cu­rity freeze on their credit file.

Em­sisoft Re­leases a De­cryp­tor for Hy­draCrypt and Um­breCrypt Ran­somware

Emisoft has re­leased a De­cryp­tor for the Hy­draCrypt and Um­breCrypt ran­somware in­fec­tions. Both of th­ese in­fec­tions are part of the CrypBoss Ran­somware fam­ily, whose source code was leaked last year.

Lat­est Tes­laCrypt Ver­sion uses the .MP3 Ex­ten­sion

A new ver­sion of the Tes­laCrypt ran­somware was re­leased that con­tains some mi­nor changes. The ver­sion num­ber is still 3.0, but the ran­som notes have been re­named and the file ex­ten­sion for en­crypted files is now .MP3. There is still no way to de­crypt this lat­est ver­sion of Tes­laCrypt.

Google, Se­cu­rity

In honor of Safer In­ter­net Day, Google is giv­ing away 2GB of ex­tra stor­age for com­plet­ing their Se­cu­rity Checkup. This checkup will walk you through a se­ries of checks to make sure you are us­ing Google in the most se­cure man­ner pos­si­ble.

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