Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Evils of Social Engineering

Very recently one of my friend's email account was hacked which was linked to various social networking sites and banking sites. It is sad because it causes lot of panic and pain plus the hacker has the complete control of the account and can do whatever he/she wants with that account. I am going to discuss what you can do avoid getting into such troubles and if you do manage to land up in the trouble what you can do minimize the level of attack.

The Problem:

In most of the cases such kind of attacks are carried through persuading people into clicking on some web link or downloading an email attachment or filling out a form which has been sent through a trusted resource. This type of technique is fairly common and very commonly known as Social Engineering. No Anti Virus software or a firewall can protect you against this kind of attack because there is no flaw in the type of software you are using that needs to be exploited for such attacks. These attacks thrive on persuading people to believe in what they see, for e.g. if a guy receives an email where the title reads "Nude pictures of Anna Kournikova", there is no chance in hell that he will not open that email and click on the attachment that accompanies it :). There are plenty of such examples where people give free stuff over the internet by just asking your bank account information, now always remember every offer or scheme has a price attached to it, nothing comes for free. The price in this case is the money in your bank account or your dear ones bank account.

In my friend's case the attacker sent a form to be filled with two simple fields in it Username and Password, ( you can click on it and see for yourself but be careful in posting your username and password in it. If put in any bogus username and password in it you'll realize that the password is being visible in clear text. That should raise an alarm right there before you hit the submit button.

When I was growing up I used to watch WWF and Stone Cold Steve Austin was my fav and I used imitate his slogans which read "Don't Trust Anybody" DTA. Today I realize that on internet it has become so very true ;)

To learn more about what Social Engineering is have a look here:

The Solution:

Like I stated above Don't trust anyone on the internet. No one is interested in giving you free gifts or heavy discounts so stop believing such offers. If you do get some suspicious email from your friends or family before blindly following such emails check with that person whether he/she has actually sent you that email or that link.

We all love playing games and quizzes on facebook/orkut and other social networking sites. While facebook is courteous enough to tell you before click on any application that you're personal information will be shared but still people don't really care. There have been incidents in the past where someone got hacked because he/she was playing some online game through these social networking sites.

Friend Finder on these sites is another such resources for attackers because you reveal your personal email account information on a social networking site to let it query your friend list for your personal account. Imagine if this information gets into bad hands what will happen, that person will query your friend list for sure but not for the purpose the it is intended for. Hope you know what I mean :)Always be careful in providing your bank information over phone or on any website which is not owned directly by the Bank.

If you still manage to get yourself hacked and you come to know that the hacker is using your account to hack other people or he/she is using your personal information to post fake things about you on social networking sites or he/she is able to get to your bank account since your eamil account was linked to that account then you should report it immediately to the local/regional cyber crime department. You can never imagine what an attacker has in mind and what he/she can do with your email accounts.

Every country has their own Computer Emergency and Reponse Team (CERT), and they are more than willing to you out. Secondly, block all the accounts which were linked with your personal email account. Try reaching out to your contacts on these accounts and make them aware that your account has been hacked so if hacker tries to contact them using their account they should know that its not you who is asking for money :)Hope this information helps you in staying safe while browsing on the internet or playing online games through social networking sites.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Morale Police or a buncha Jerks??

These days some people might be afraid to go out and enjoy their evening in pub or a bar not because they have a fear of terror attack ( that is something which cannot be counted out though) but because of some very ethical people who unethically beat up guys/girls sitting in a pub/disc under the name of morale policing. There could be other ways of letting people know of our age old Indian tradition where women is supposed to be at home but these genius minds refuse to take any of those and rather feel that beating up helpless girls is the coolest way to let the world know who's the boss. WTF??
I want to ask this Morale police where were they when innocent people laid their lives in Mumbai terror attack? Why were they hiding inside their houses with the little tail between their legs? Does the morale police only mean beating up innocent people just for the reason that they are drinking in a pub and let go the terrorists who are drinking the blood of the whole society.
We are living in the 21st century and talk about growth of our country but if we continue to have such jerks in our society there is very little chance of us moving forward in the right direction.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Time is NOW!!!

After a discussion with my friend on why reading books is important I couldn't help but publish my thoughts. Now don't take me wrong I am not talking about school books, there's no escaping them, unfortunately :(, but I am talking about those philosophical books. My friend always talks big that one day he will start doing something about the society we live in, wow sounds interesting isn't it, but when asked when is that one day gonna come he said wait for the right time....yeah sure. He wants to become a philanthropist one day I don't know whats stopping him doing that right now.
I am not against reading books and i'm certainly not amongst those who go mad on books;) I have been told by my friend that he reads these books to get the philosophical ideas, but where are you using those just big talks and no actions? Sure its fair enough to get these ideas and try to see what other great achievers have done with their vision, but its not fair to steal their ideology and make fake statements in front of others. People wait for the right time....c'mon now you work at Microsoft at the age of 25, earn big bucks, you have good status and image in society what else do you need? Go and ask Bill Gates did he wait for the right moment to he created the moment for himself, did Sachin Tendulkar wait for the right moment to land in the Indian he forced the selectors to include him by his impressive batting skills. I can go on with several other examples like these but that's not my point is ok to read books and get philosophical ideas, but it is NOT ok to talk about them when you have no vision to use them.
Anybody can talk big when there are people around...but how well you complement your talk with your actions is what that sets you apart from ordinary people. So if you are one of those who really want to do something and have the potential to turn things around but are waiting for the right moment....please realise that YOUR TIME IS NOW!!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Abandaon the search for truth.....

Many questions are left unanswered in this human mind, some people take up the task to solve those mysteries, some just lay back thinking they will never get to know what they want to know so why waste time.One of such questions is the Existence of God. Some people don't believe in the existence of God, some just blindly put all their faith in God. So is it really true that there is some super natural power out there who is known as the Creator, Keeper and Destroyer of this entire world? Well, I don't know and I'm not here to make you believe that God does/doesn't exist, I ain't a priest or a preacher :)
The question arises why do people go to Asharams or Baba's to attend their pravachan? Do they really teach us the meaning of life...? C'mon my parents have been telling me the same things since my childhood and I'm sure most of the parents do the same. They tell you difference between what's good and what's bad....and what does these Baba do...they take an extract from Geeta/Ramayan (kudos to them for taking the pain to read it) and shed it out on the innocent people like whatever they say is the most matter of fact thing. People who cann't find small things of their daily life believe these Baba's can help them finding the existence of God.
So the message goes...."Abandon the search for truth and settle for a good fantasy" ;)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Finding the true meaning of life...WTF???

I see many college going people, of some 20 odd age, writing various interesting things in their profiles on social networking sites (alright...orkut to be precise). What really amazes me is when people write stuff that has nothing to do with them in the remotest of way. BTW Just for the records, peeking through people's profile is not my habbit, but reading through the *about me* section is fun ;)
The recent one actually made believe that people will almost write anything to pretend what they are really NOT. It read this "I'm still trying to find the true meaning of life", O'cmon now gimme a freakinn break, are you at 60 whose life has been ripped apart and who still doesn't have a clue about it?? Someone has to ask this person is he really concerned what life truly means, or he's just trying to gain attention of some of his *college mates*, if you know what I mean. When people of some 20 odd age say they are trying to find the true meaning of life, 99% are just trying to pretend that they are indeed touched by the mere thought of this whole Life concept. What they fail to realise is that they are wasting their invaluable time in such stupid thoughts, amen. If they really wanna know what life is all about, step out of the self-protective shell and see the bad world, there are people on the road who don't have shelter or food, ask them what life is all about. There are little children who are being deprived of education, ask them what they think of life.
Life can be a very complex thing like a woman if you waste your time in understanding it, so stop wasting your time in finding the meaning of life and instead start enjoying it!!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Giant Ants Crawling....

At 8 o'clock in the night on my way back home, I see giant ants crawling...errr I mean vehicles moving at a pace slower than a passing by bicycle. This is not just once or twice but almost everyday, and don't be surprised, I'm talking about the IT city or the so called Silicon Valley of India....yeah you're right *Bangalore*.
There are traffic jams everywhere, and by look of the things moving along I wonder if the State Government is even bothered to take a sneak peak through its window. Bangalore is taking a beat down at the hands of the IT industry and also at the hands of its reluctant government, who just refuse to step up and do something about it. If they are really doing something then I bet after 20-30 years we can surely see minor improvements. The way people deal with this situation is even worse, look at those bike riders who don't even leave the footpaths (which I think is primarily built for pedestrians). Seeing the way vehicles passing by, missing each other by merely an inch really freaks me out. I love driving cars but if they say in Bangalore "No Thanks" ;)
I am sure situation can handled in a much better way, than it is being handled now (if it is being handled et'll). I recently heard government coming up with a new rule "Even days, cars with even number should be on the roads and vice versa", not sure to how much extent this will succeed. The way I see it, if I'm rich I'll buy two cars with both even odd numbers, if I'm poor I wouldn't care anyway, and if I'm a middle man and can afford a car worth 2 or 2 and a half lacs I'll probably buy two Tata Nanos with that much amount. There has to be some more intelligent thinking which can atleast control the increasing traffic jams if not reduce it. Although the problem is much bigger than what we see but it is not unsolvable.
Till the time there is any foreseen change, my advise to all the IT aspirants eyeing a job in their dream company in Bangalore, beware of the Giant Ants Crawling!!! ;)