A Distributed Denial of Service Attack (DDOS) hit the internet yesterday, tossing several networks offline. Leo says this happens all the time as robot computers are drafted to clog networks with phoney requests. What's disturbing about this particular attack is that it's using not only computers, but it's taking advantage of smart devices used in the home (called the internet of things), like routers, DVRs, smart refrigerators, and even internet enabled home security systems.
Tyler does a lot of social media through YouTube and Twitch and he's been hit by a DDoS attack. Leo says that those attacks are easy and are usually done by a troll who has an axe to grind. But they can't go after Twitch, so he's attacking his personal IP address. Leo says to call the ISP and request a new address. Running through a VPN will prevent it since it's an encrypted tunnel and they can't see the IP.
Kevin's mom went to a website and got a virus alert. She then called the phone number on it and they had her install something, which gave them control over her computer. Leo says that's a common scam. They probably installed a virus and maybe even turned her computer into a bot. The worst part is that they took her money and now have her credit card number. She realized her error and called him, though, and Kevin has since changed her passwords. She has trouble remembering passwords. Leo says many do and they end up using the same password over and over.
A Hollywood hospital was hacked a few weeks ago and was essentially unable to operate. The hackers demanded 40 Bitcoins, which comes to about $17,000. This is considered "ransomware," where the hackers get you to run malicious software through a bogus updater like Flash that appears to be legitimate. This malicious software encrypts all data and threatens to delete everything unless you comply with the demands within a certain time frame.
T-Mobile user data was acquired by hackers this week when credit bureau Experian was compromised. Hackers got customer names, addresses, drivers licenses, social security numbers and more. According to T-Mobile CEO John Leger, 15 million people including new applicants requiring a credit check from September 1st, 2013 through September 16th, 2015 were affected. Customers will get two years of free credit monitoring and identity resolution services from Experian.
Last week, Chinese hackers targeted GreatFire.org in a DDoS attack, and now are attacking GitHub. DDoS stands for "Distributed Denial of Service," and this attack brings down a website by hitting it with lots of bogus requests from thousands or even tens of thousands of computers distributed all over the world. GreatFire.org was spending $30,000 a day in bandwidth trying to keep up with the excess traffic.
The way they are getting this to be a distributed attack is by commandeering users of Baidu, a popular search engine in China.
After getting caught putting a piece of malware called Superfish on all their laptops, Lenovo has offered apologies and released a removal tool with which to remove it. Leo says that Lenovo had been putting malware on its machines that makes it possible for a 'man in the middle attack' to reroute customer's personal traffic to Lenovo so that it can insert ads. Leo says that's inexcusable and nobody should ever buy a Lenovo brand computer again.
A sophisticated malware attack has robbed hundreds of banks in 30 nations, including the US, Russia, Japan, and Europe. According to a report from Kaspersky Labs provided to the New York Times, upwards of $300 million dollars was stolen, which could make this one of the largest bank heists ever.
Hackers broke into the Anthem Health database to obtain names, birthdays, addresses, and Social Security numbers of customers. An estimated 80,000,000 records have been lost. After the hack, there have been phishing scams circulating and phone fraudsters calling people to obtain financial information. If you do get an email from Anthem, do not click the links, go directly to the Anthem website. If you get a call from someone claiming to be from Anthem, hang up and call them back using their posted phone number.
Karen is having an issue with an online stalker who has hacked into her computer and has been deleting her files and other things. Leo suspects that Karen isn't really being hacked unless she has incurred the wrath of someone who can do that. More likely, what may be happening is that she's got malware and she probably should format the hard drive and reinstall Windows from a known, good source.