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PODCAST: The coming spike in ‘GPS jamming’ and ‘GPS spoofing’

If you’re like me, you’ve become obsessed with using GPS to find your way around town. Personally, I’d peg the accuracy of my GPS usage, locally and while on business travel, at roughly 85 percent, which is pretty darn good.

GPS isn’t infallible, of course. Just ask the woman in Port Jervis, New York who, on Nov. 5, blindly obeyed GPS, and drove her car down a muddy bank into the Neversink River. She’s not alone. GPS-myopic drivers have steered vehicles into bodies of water, up staircases, into buildings, onto golf courses and even off cliffs.

Relacted article: How Russia’s election meddling relates to power grid hacks

But here’s something to consider: could a GPS hack have factored into any of these mishaps? I learned about the two primary forms of GPS attacks — GPS jamming and GPS spoofing — from speaking with Vlad Gostomelsky, a security researcher at Spirent Communications.

Precise time, location

Gostomelsky explained how GPS is a worldwide network used for positioning and timing. A number of satellites encircling earth send timing signals to each individual receiving device, like your smartphone. Your iPhone or Android device uses these signals to calculate your precise location at a precise time.

“GPS is really important because we use it to get an exact time for financial transactions and for  server logs,” Gostomelsky says. “And it’s used extensively for navigation both for car GPSs and for smart vehicles.” …more

PODCAST: Why ‘machine learning’ is perfectly suited to mitigating network breaches

By Byron V. Acohido

The essence of  “machine learning” is that ML is perfectly suited to extracting value from large sets of data.

Thus, whether you realize it or not, ML has come to intersect with just about every aspect of daily living. ML today is used pervasively to profile our online behaviors. When we search for something on Google, make a purchase on Amazon, stream a movie from Netflix, post to Facebook, or Tweet, all of that data is stored and analyzed. And now ML advances are being applied to vehicle and driver data to rapidly steer us (pun intended) towards everyday dependence on driverless vehicles.

But there is another arena where one would expect ML to be making a much larger impact than it has to date: cybersecurity.

Related article: 2018 – Year of the CISO

Consider this: the typical corporate IT system is a sprawling amoeba generating large sets of data, minute-by-minute, day-by-day, from dozens of disparate systems. Hidden in this tumult of network logs are the fingerprints of threat actors actively stealing and disrupting – or getting into position to do so. …more

MY TAKE: How I came to cover two great ‘beats’ in my journalism career

By Byron V. Acohido

I’ve had the great good fortune to spend most of my career as a “beat reporter” covering two astounding beats.

The articles you see here on LastWatchdog are the work of my second great beat, which I’ve been immersed in since approximately 2004: cybersecurity. Or to put a finer point on it, I live and breathe developments having to do with the for-profit leveraging of the Internet, by both good guys and bad guys.

A journalist couldn’t ask for a richer topic. Cybersecurity affects how we live, work and play. Cybersecurity, at this moment, underpins the profound shifts in culture, economics, politics and national security we are all experiencing.

Related: Univerisity of San Diego lists LastWatchdog as top cybersecurity blog for 2017

Related: VPNMentor includes LastWatchog as Top 20 security blog

I’ve won my fair share of recognition for my work as a journalist. This can be attributed mainly to practicing the craft professionally since 1977, and being blessed to work alongside iconic mentors and inspiring colleagues. I reached the pinnacle of my profession covering my first great beat, aviation safety, for the Seattle Times. I was awarded the 1997 Pulitzer Prize for Beat Reporting for my coverage of a deadly design flaw incorporated into the rudder actuator of Boeing 737 jetliners.

That said, two recent acknowledgements of the work I’m doing here at The LastWatchdog on Privacy & Security are top of mind at this moment. I’d like to thank the University of San Diego for naming LW as one of the top cybersecurity blogs of 2017. And my gratitude also goes out to  vpnmentor.com for placing LW on its list of Top 20 online security blogs of 2017. …more

MY TAKE: The way forward, despite overwhelming cyber threats

By Byron V. Acohido

NEW YORK CITY – Cyber Connect 2017 cybersecurity summit that just wrapped up at the beautiful Grand Hyatt located adjacent to Grand Central Station here in the Big Apple. I got the chance to be on the other side of the interview, sitting down with John Furrier and David Vellante, co-hosts of The Cube. We did it live; here’s the recorded stream.

Q&A: How the ‘PKI ecosystem’ could be the answer to securing the Internet of Things

By Byron V. Acohido

Google is making a big push to compel website publishers to jettison HTTP and adopt HTTPS Transport Layer Security (TLS) as a de facto standard, and it’s expanding use of this important encryption technology.

Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) and its successor, Transport Layer Security (TLS), are the underpinnings of secure online transactions. They come into play in the form of digital certificates issued by Certificate Authorities (CAs) —  vendors that diligently verify the authenticity of websites, and then also help the website owners encrypt the information consumers type into web page forms.

This robust protection gets implemented by leveraging an encryption and authentication framework called the public key infrastructure (PKI.) This all happens in the blink of an eye when you visit …more

Q&A: Savvy companies discover why locking down ‘privileged access’ boosts security

By Byron V. Acohido

Now is a terrific time for organizations to begin getting a much better grip on who has what level of access to sensitive nooks and crannies of the company network.

Wider, deeper use of Internet-centric systems has boosted corporate productivity to remarkable levels. Yet the rapidly growing complexity of corporate networks has also opened more opportunities for hacking – and threat actors continue to take full advantage. Breach attempts—and successful hacks—continue to rise steadily, despite billions spent by the corporate sector on the latest, greatest security systems.

That said, there is one area where savvy companies are making giant leaps in improving their security postures: getting incrementally smarter about identity and access management, or IAM.

IAM refers to the policies and technologies that …more

GUEST ESSAY: How safeguarding user credentials can lower cyber insurance premiums

By Dean Thompson

According to Lloyd’s of London, a massive global cyberattack could result in economic losses as high as $53 billion.

Given that, it’s no surprise that an increasing number of businesses are adding cybersecurity coverage to their liability insurance. But as businesses rush to insure, the cost and precise scope of coverage of these policies are coming under under scrutiny. A key question is whether or not non-malicious human activity is covered.

On one hand, cybersecurity policies that do not cover human error – which would include falling victim to sophisticated phishing schemes, visiting Trojan-infected sites, or even deferring patches or updates – would be of far more limited value.

That’s because, according to a recent Verizon study, 81 percent of breaches …more