Wednesday, September 27, 2017

4 Surprising Lessons from Former Cybercriminals - By Roxanna Ramzipoor

4 Surprising Lessons from Former Cybercriminals - By Roxanna Ramzipoor
They say that crime doesn’t pay, and that’s often true – but some former hackers have enjoyed lucrative afterlives as security consultants, once they’ve finished their jail time. Others have drawn on their experiences to write novels. Many ends up authoring nonfiction for consumers and business owners looking to protect themselves from…well, people like the author.
To some, the ethical merits of hiring former fraudsters to do security work are debatable. Regardless of your moral proclivities, though, it’s hard to deny the former criminals’ expertise. Here are four surprising lessons that these cyber criminals-turned-good-guys have to teach us.

1. Stealing your identity is easy.

Actually, it’s embarrassingly easy. In his book The Art of Invisibilityformer hacker Kevin Mitnick says that an average hacker can commit identity theft using a computer or mobile device in just 60 seconds. Most “private” information is accessible through databases maintained by information brokers. Mitnick, who’s known as the “world’s greatest hacker,” says that most fraudsters can use these databases to access social security numbers, birthdates, addresses, and phone numbers. This personal information can then be leveraged in account takeover (ATO) attacks.
And it doesn’t stop there. You probably remember when John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chair, fell victim to a hack that claimed his emails, which were then leaked throughout the campaign – but Mitnick says that with the right training, a 14-year-old could have committed that attack. Hackers aren’t usually the sophisticated, high-tech characters we see in movies, he explains. Just about anyone is capable of manufacturing a legitimate-looking link that, once clicked, exposes the victim’s information.

2. When it comes to online safety, people are the weakest link.

Though hackers may disagree on the best methods for duping a victim, they all agree on one thing: human fallibility. Cybercriminals often attribute their success to their victims’ carelessness, regardless of whether those victims are businesses or individuals. In his book Kingpinhacker-turned-security-consultant Kevin Poulsen describes how a group of cybercriminals exploited careless businesses and their employees to steal credit card numbers.
As these criminals discovered, internet security systems can be consistently dependable, but the people operating them sometimes can’t. The hackers of Kingpin – and Poulsen himself – relied on social engineering to carry out their dastardly deeds. Instead of spending time and resources building programs to infiltrate personal or corporate accounts, the cybercriminals simply tricked people into handing over private information.

3. Online safety is impossible to guarantee.

How do you make sure your data is safe online? Former cybercriminals get this question a lot. The more information people store online, the more they fear that a fraudster might get ahold of it. As reformed hacker Mark Abene explains, it’s a catch-22: as technology gets better, fraudsters get better at what they do. So, how do you guarantee your safety online?
Former hacker Kevin Mitnick says that short of completely erasing your online presence, it’s impossible to 100% guarantee online safety. And to completely disappear online, you’d have to take three difficult steps: first, scrub your devices of their IP addresses; second, obscure your hardware and software so fraudsters can’t figure out what device you’re using to get online, and third, create anonymous email accounts that aren’t associated with your social media, online payment programs, gas or electric bill, student loans, or anything else.

4. Understanding cybercriminals is the key to beating them.

Robert Schifreen, a former hacker and author of Defeating the Hacker, says “[t]here’s no such thing as an unhackable network.” But by understanding how cybercriminals operate, he explains, businesses and ordinary users can beat them at their game. The bottom line is that hackers and fraudsters want to maximize gains while minimizing effort. What does that mean for businesses and consumers? You can deter fraudsters by making their lives just a little more difficult.
Former cybercriminals agree that there’s no way to guarantee your privacy online, but they also cite one reliable method for keeping would-be fraudsters at bay: multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication secures your data by requiring more than one piece of information to confirm your identity, like a PIN and a password, or a passphrase and an answer to a personal question. Cracking this extra layer of protection requires more effort than a typical hacker is willing to invest.
Businesses that require employees to use multi-factor authentication are less likely to suffer data breaches. That’s why reformed cyber criminals insist that companies and lay people use it to secure their data. In fact, Kevin Mitnick goes so far as to say that Podesta may have prevented the email hacking scandal just by enabling multi-factor authentication on his mobile device. No one can say for sure whether that’s true, but why take the chance?


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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Walk a Mile in my shoes

Walk a Mile in my shoes


Walk a mile in my shoes is a relatable topic. Everyone has a god gifted life and one should be happy with what the Almighty has given them. But it doesn't seem that many people are happy with their life.  Others personal life intrigues them and they start prying into others personal space. It is not a right thing to do before you are completely aware of what the other person's life is!

We as Indians are good at judging people and jumping to conclusions. We don't need a court of a judge to give the verdict. We are our own judges who can enter personal space of people and sneak peak into others life. You won't understand the pain of the person and it might be easy for you to make public discussions about something that is personal to them. Understand that everyone has their own life and we need to worry about our life because that is what should matter the most to us.  Never compare your kids with your friend's kid or Sharma ji's kids.  You were the one who worked hard for your children. Support them by creating and giving them a better standard and quality of life for them. Comparing them will only break your children's morale and confidence. 

Never express unwanted sympathy for people with terminal illness.  You never lived their pain and their pain might be unknown to you but known to people who care them the most. They have walked through the terrible rocky roads full of struggles and pain. Help them by making them better instead of showing them fake sympathies. It is the most difficult situation in anyone's life.  

You all should walk a mile in someone's shoes before you get judgemental about someone. Stop poking your ugly nose into someone's personal area and leave them for their own good.  Trust me, life will be more beautiful if you mind your own business and let others mind their own business. Almighty has designed everyone's life in such a way that they get an equal proportion of everything. It's just that some unlucky ones get the most of it and live a terrible life. 

For all such people, trust me life will be beautiful once again. The sun shall shine brightly. The early birds would warble nice tunes for you. It will rain happiness in your distressful life. It is a matter of time. Ignore the hate mongers who arrive in your life to cause problems. Just dump those negative energies outside your door. Accept what life offers you. Breath in Happiness and Breath out the negativities from your life. That is the best thing to do today, tomorrow and every day and you deserve to stay happy. SO, the next time when people talk about you, just go nearby them and say,
"Walk a Mile  in my shoes.."
This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda
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It's all because of blogging!

It's all because of blogging!


I agree that blogging has got in lots of significance in my life. Of course, it helped me in making my life less boring. I started blogging at a time when people didn't know the definition or perhaps the idea of a blog. In fact, when someone asked me about my hobby, I would smirk and find out ways to get rid of this question. Blogging was my hobby. I would research during my leisure time and find interesting stuff to read. It was during one of those leisure time that I discovered the idea of blogging. I agree it was no fun but yes I saw the emergence of new blogging communities that tried to build up a model conceptualizing blogs. Of course, many of these communities grew big and minting good money. For once, I never thought that blogging would be a good business for many in future. I come across people compiling stuff from multiple websites, changing the verbiage and constructing a brand new post out of it.  That is the new world of blogging. Some tag it plagiarism. Originality is something that has gone for a toss. No longer people love original stuff. 

Talking about the good old days, I really didn't know how and why I started this blog. This question perturbs me even after 11 glorious years of blogging. WHY? I had no intentions of making money out of it nor I did want to impress people or may be transform into a big writer or make a living out of blogging. No, I had no such plans but still why I chose to blog?  It was a random experiment. Just that I was good at writing essays during my school days and kids (my schoolmates) used to nag me to write compositions and essays. Since childhood, I never had this habit of saying NO. I am learning to say NO but I simply can't. That is one of the strength that I mention during my interviews when the Interviewer asks about my strength.  Well, the idea is simple. I write for myself. I love it, so I do. Isn't that simple enough?!

By the time I stepped into my final year,  I saw an unusual trend. People who used to mock at the very idea of blogging started creating blogs and I even know many who are successful at it. Brands started approaching these so-called Online Blogging communities and started paying them big to make the bloggers write about topics.  I somehow believe that the blogging started to get commercialized during this period. I witnessed a healthy rise in the number of active blogger participation in these contests. Some of them even crossed boundaries and limits to ensure they won the contest. I remember the days where whenever I logged into Facebook, I would get chat messages on the messenger asking me to write nice comments on their blog posts and share them on my profile.  I admit I did this for some but eventually, I got irked. It was during that time that I, with my two other friends started an online community blog named 'The Writers Lounge' that advocated collaborative writing and it was created for the love of writing. People who loved writing and reading good articles were always welcomed. Our doors were always opened for them and Sandeep Balan and Asbah Alaena played a vital role in it.  We grew up into a good team but as they say that everything has an end. Our dearest Lounge faded too quick. I have many fond memories associated with that web space. Be it the creation of Sandeep Malan or the StepMan, a spoof series based out of co-founders Sandeep Balan and yours truly (StepMan for Ste) or be it Excellence in Writing or any other creative writing, we loved it all. I would find the opportunity to come online and visit that place even if I had a limited internet access.  Oh, Wait! there was fun too. 

But I started abhorring the idea of writing for brands then. It felt like dictating terms and conditions but yes, I stay guilty too. Even I have participated in many of those contests and even won some. My first even blogging victory was some Surf Excel contest where I won a consolation prize of a wireless mouse that I still have! The idea of genuinely writing comments on blogs dimmed. I gradually started growing into a butterfly from a caterpillar as I stepped into the corporate life that welcomed me with lots of challenges. I understood that this was a different world and to make most of it, I had to focus less on blogging. But still, whenever I had an opportunity, I did write and made the most of it. With each passing day, I started getting more chat pings on Facebook, with people asking me to write comments, like and vote for them. Some would even tag me on their facebook posts. Many unknown strangers would send friend requests on Facebook and the very next moment they would send invitation to like their Facebook Blog page. Amazing, Isn't it? Some would get more creative and tag a bulk of bloggers on Twitter. Thanks to Twitter for lifting the character limitations on images and some bloggers make good use of it. Some bloggers do have their own Bloggers broadcast list on Whatsapp where they would regularly update by sending messages whenever they posted a new blog story.  I should agree that bloggers get more creative. We, as bloggers, should learn to explore opportunities whenever available. 

The entire essence of blogging as an area of improvement for writing has collapsed. Blogging may fit into a category of media but remember that blogging is something that is going to be the best thing in future. Brands will keep flooding, looking for bloggers, shelling out money. That's how blogging has evolved from the early 2000's till now!
Never stop pinging me to like your blog posts or read it, I admit I'm busy these days but that doesn't stop me from reading your stuff.  When I look behind, I laugh at myself that something I started as a random experiment has earned a lot for me in these years. I have met the best of people, best of writers, earned great contacts, made best friends and what not.  It's all because of blogging!




Written as part of Indispire
Top post on IndiBlogger, the biggest community of Indian Bloggers
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Rush Hour Karting pledges to raise $25000 for the Hurricane victims

Rush Hour Karting raise fundings for Hurricane Victims US East Coast
Rush Hour Karting to raise funds for the  Hurricane victims
The past few weeks have caused major turbulence in the US east coast as well as the Carribean islands and other islands in its vicinity.  The positive note about these natural calamities is that many people are coming together to support each other,  even when they are in different regions.

Rush Hour Karting in Garner, North Carolina is dedicating the entire month of September to raise funding for the Hurricane victims.  All the proceeds from this fundraiser will be presented to the American Red Cross for relief efforts. Their goal is to raise $25,000 and we all can help them share the word.
Rush Hour Karting, located in Garner, N.C., is dedicating the entire month of September to raising funds for Hurricane Harvey victims. Starting immediately, one dollar will be donated to the Red Cross for every race purchased. Additionally, racers can get their second race free by donating $12.

 "It is our responsibility as business owners to stay involved and assist those in need, not just in our community, but in EVERY community that is in dire need of help.  And the devastation in Houston, Corpus Christi, and all of southern Texas and Louisiana, requires all of us to come together, and use our resources to get involved, any which way we can.  And, even though we are a business which entails fun and entertainment, even though we are 1,500 miles away, we still must strive to make a difference for the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  We are still one great and beautiful nation together. So come, race, have some fun, and know that we are still helping and thinking of our brothers and sisters that will get back on their feet, and be riding go-karts also, very soon!” – Adam Saad, Owner / Operator, of  Rush Hour Karting said on 8/31/2017

About Rush Hour Karting
Since 2005, Rush Hour has been known to have the fastest karts in North Carolina. No matter what it’s like outside, it's always racing time at their indoor facility. With their European designed carts going around 40 mph over 1/3 mile track with hairpin curves and high-speed straights, this indoor racing is not like your typical family fun park. After the indoor karting rush, cool down at their sports tavern! All food is made in-house, and they're known to have some of the best gourmet burgers in town!

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

The 89 year old Child!

Not all would disagree with me if I say that there is a child in each one of us. But unfortunately, due to mounting stress and pressure, the child in us ceases to grow. Yes, that's a virtual child that lives in our body. Life is such that it steals away the happiness and joy by making out life more stressful. We get obsessed with our job and that eventually alienates us, weakening the bond with our family.  

That's my baby sister with my grandparents in the year 1993

Man is a social animal but eventually, circumstances change him. He toils hard for his family but ironically doesn't spends time with his family. That's  most disheartening! We travel places to keep our family happy but sadly Old age is the time when we actually get to spend time with our loved ones.  Grandparents play an important role in every individual's life.  My father lost his mother when he was just 4 and his father in his late teens.  Those days, clicking photographs were expensive. To be honest, I don't even know how my paternal grandparents looked like. So, for me, my only grandparents were my Mom's parents. I was lucky enough to be blessed with a loving grandfather who kicked the bucket when I was just 9. My sister was 3  then! She can't even recollect any fond memories linked with him. But I remember my nana fighting with my tuition teacher for hurting me once when I was class 1. He would carry me on his shoulder and walk till my tuition house. Miss Gracie, my tuition teacher would scold my grand pa for carrying me on his shoulder. But poor grandpa would only nod his head as he didn't understand English nor Hindi. I miss him a lot! The day when I got to know about my grandpa's death, tears didn't cease to stop flowing from my eyes. At a tender age of 9, I was attached to him and I cried till my tear glands dried. I realized that I had to live without him and I was not prepared for it.   The disadvantage of having working parents was that we as kids get attached to someone who shows us, extreme love. It might be anyone who would fill the void left by our working parents. My grandpa stepped in and filled that void and loved me.  I have spent the initial days of my life on my grandpa's laps. 
The little boy in Blue tee is me standing close to my grandpa on my sisters 1st birthday
As days moved on, and as we grew up, we decided to bring our grandmom with us. That was the phase when my baby sister was growing big and there has to be someone at home to support us. It was the same time we shifted to a new house, to a new locality that was not familiar to us. GrandMom was in her late 70's then and pretty much active. She would help my mom with the household chores. She would never stay at one place for more than 5 minutes. I still have fond memories of my grandmom taking care of me during my illness.  It was one of the most stressful days of my life.  I would never forget my mom and my grandmom's role in my recovery. Their involvement actually expedited my recovery and I bounced back well within 1 month. But as days progressed, she became weak. Uncle took her him and then on we used to visit her twice every month. She would hug us and kiss us every time we visited her.  Such was her love for her grand children. These days she hardly recognizes us. It gives me immense pain to specify that she can't even recognize her own children. She would sit on her bed and randomly talk to imaginary friends and her dead siblings. She would cook food for the imaginary guests and participate in harvesting activities in our imaginary farm. She turned into a child at an age of 89.  Tears roll down my cheeks every time we visit her. One day, she made me sit beside her and put her hands on my cheek. A ray of hope surfaced within me and a transient state of happiness made me think if my grandmom recognized me. She thought I was her friend's son and enquired me about her friend. Tears welled in my eyes. How innocent! 


I am not in India anymore but I have always loved her and love her even if she can't recognize me.  After all, she is my grand mother and I understand that she is important to me.  Every time I visit her, I show her our old photographs and videos featuring us so that she could identify us. But Alas! all our attempts to bring back her lost memory seem futile. Even now, our other cousins do the same. She needs someone to talk to her. The 89-year-old child who raised us then now needs us to talk to her.
If I could spend a day with my grand mother, I would do it by talking to her and narrating about the good time we spend with her. I would share all the videos, photographs and everything that would bring back her old memories. But the chances of that happening are too slim!

That is the billion dollar smile that my grandmom wears :) So cute!
You are  the root that carried us,
We are just the fruits of the seed that you sowed years back
Thank you for everything you did for us
All the love you showered upon us
will speak loud and even louder
We love you, Grandmother.  Thank you for everything,
If your memories didn't fade, 
I am sure you would hug us and kiss us,
But sadly you don't recognize yourself,
Knowing us is a distant dream.
May God keeps you sound and safe.
Love you loads and lots, my dear granny!
 I look forward to hear from you how would you celebrate Grandparents Day. Do share a selfie with your grandparents on Sept. 10, 2017 on Twitter or Facebook with #LoveJatao & tag @blogadda to win a goodie from Parachute Advansed.





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