January 2017 Edition

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Welcome to this month’s edition of McCann Cyber Investigations: Insight Delivered. This month’s articles cover topics including a non political look into the facts and context for several election hacking storylines, as well as an overview on one of the most dangerous types of malware for you and your organization. Find those and much more below…

  • Ransomware on the Rise

    Cyber criminals are coming for your data and money. The FBI reported an increase in cyber attacks, specifically ransomware. Hospitals, school districts, state and local governments, small businesses, large businesses, academic institutions, and law enforcement are all among the top targets for these attacks. Organizations face the possibility of immense losses due to ransomware attacks, but you as an individual are also susceptible to devastating loss from a cyber breach. With the growing rise and developing complexity of ransomware attacks it is important to understand exactly what they are and what you can do to protect yourself and your organization. Ransomware is a dangerous form of malware that locks you out of your desktop, laptop, or phone. This malware comes in two varieties: lockscreen ransomware and encryption ransomware. Lockscreen ransomware displays a full-screen message that blocks access to your device or files. The message typically claims you committed an illegal + READ MORE

  • The Web of the Darknet

    In past editions of this newsletter we have provided an overview of the Darknet and all it entails, as well as a deeper look into the anonymous network’s history. So what exactly can you find on the Darknet, and why does it matter to you and your organization? There’s a surprising mixture of resources and communities available, ranging from harmless forums and communities to anonymous criminal enterprises. We’ve curated a short list highlighting noteworthy resources within the network, including particular services relevant to you and your organization’s safety. Illegal Products – The rise of the Darknet formed a golden opportunity for illegal enterprises to flourish. Crime circuits like massive child pornography rings had been largely snuffed out by law enforcement, relegating them to small individual endeavors. The Darknet becoming publicly accessible provided a new way for massive criminal structures to circulate content and products without leaving a trace. The network + READ MORE

  • Election Hacking – Indirect vs. Direct

    Mainstream media coverage of the “hacking” of our recent presidential election remains focused on the sensational aspects surrounding the problem while providing little in the way of factual background.  Even stating that the election was “hacked” glosses over pivotal details and provides little usable insight to the average reader.  In this brief article, we’ll try to provide more facts and context devoid of any political persuasion. It’s never our aim to be partisan as we firmly believe that cyber security transcends political affiliation.  With these niceties dispensed, let’s turn to what we know about the “hacking” of the election. Several storylines dominate the attempts by outsiders to influence the election through multiple methods.  The most well-known of the attempts surrounds the compromise of email accounts at the Democratic National Committee (DNC).  Sadly, the potential vulnerability with DNC systems was observed by the F.B.I. who in turn contacted IT staff at + READ MORE

  • Yahoo Yet Again

    Yahoo recently disclosed a new security breach on December 14, potentially affecting more than one billion accounts. The breach first began back in 2013 and is believed to be separate from the similarly massive cybersecurity incident Yahoo announced back in September. Data stolen may include user names, email addresses and passwords. This second data breach not only raises concerns about Yahoo’s lack of security, but highlights how vulnerable everyone’s information is. One of the main questions resulting from recent corporate data hacks concerns what is being done to protect consumers. Our general counsel Marc Miller provided expert commentary below regarding the current state of consumer legal protection and how the various entities involved shape the evolution of law. Many interested parties including consumers, IT professionals, lawyers, and government regulators must grapple with complex issues in the aftermath of incident. Although a wide variety of issues arises in a data security + READ MORE

  • Solicitation of a Minor

    One of our forensic expert Nick’s toughest cases to date involves the sexual abuse of a minor. It serves as a warning to parents to keep a close eye on the people your children associate with, as well as a lesson on how to preserve evidence in any form of criminal situation. The victim was sixteen at the time of the case and came to know an older adult through a friend. The adult began a relationship with the victim by inviting them and the friend over to play video games. The adult provided them alcohol, cigarettes and anything else the children wanted. After a connection with the victim formed through the mutual friend, the adult began meeting only the child. Once a significant period of time passed the child trusted the adult, who began offering the victim money for provocative pictures and videos. This progressed into the adult paying + READ MORE

  • Self Sabotage

    Cases involving estranged or divorced spouses are always delicate. The situation only escalates when one of the parties worries the other is spying on them to gain leverage. Our forensic expert Brett handled a case involving a client who was convinced their estranged spouse put spyware on their mobile devices. The client requested a full forensic examination of the devices to determine if they actually contained spyware and if the spouse installed them. The spouse likely had easy access to the devices, meaning it would have been easy for them to download spyware without the client’s knowledge. Spyware is a form of malware that is secretly downloaded onto an electronic device. While you can intentionally download it onto a device as in this case, spyware is most commonly downloaded as part of other program downloads or by corrupted links within emails. Most spyware record device usage and data while staying + READ MORE

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