October 12, 2021
On September 14, the US Department of Justice announced that it had resolved an earlier investigation into an international cyber hacking campaign coming from the United Arab Emirates, called Project Raven, that has reportedly impacted hundreds of journalists, activists, and human rights defenders in Yemen, Iran, Turkey, and Qatar.
But in a bizarre twist, this tale of surveillance abroad tapered inwards into a tale of privacy at home, as one of the three men named by the DOJ is Daniel Gericke, the chief information officer at ExpressVPN.
Which, as it just so happens, is the preferred VPN vendor of our host David Ruiz, who, as it just so happens, has spent much of his career explicitly fighting against government surveillance. And he has some thoughts on the whole thing.
September 26, 2021
Internet safety for kids is hard enough as it is, but what about Internet safety for children with special needs?
How do you teach strong password creation for children with learning disabilities? How do you teach children how to separate fact from fiction when they have a different grasp of social cues? And how do you make sure these lessons are not only remembered for years to come, but also rewarding for the children themselves?
Today on Lock and Code, we speak with Alana Robinson, a special education technology and computer science teacher for K – 8, about cybersecurity trainings for children with special needs, and about how, for some lessons, her students are better at remembering the rules of online safety than some adults.
September 13, 2021
A recent spate of ransomware attacks have derailed major corporations, spurring a fuel shortage on the US East Coast, shuttering grocery stores in Sweden, and sending students home from grade schools. The solution, so many cybersecurity experts say, is to implement backups.
But if backups are so useful, why aren't they visibly working? Companies with backups have found them misconfigured, or they've ended up paying a ransom anyways.
On Lock and Code this week, we speak with VMware technical account manager Matt Crape about backups, a complex defense to ransomware.
August 29, 2021
No one ever wants a group of hackers to say about their company: “We had the keys to the kingdom.”
But that’s exactly what the hacker Sick Codes said on this week’s episode of Lock and Code, with host David Ruiz, when talking about his and fellow hackers’ efforts to peer into John Deere’s data operations center, where the company receives a near-endless stream of data from its Internet-connected tractors, combines, and other smart farming equipment.
August 16, 2021
When Luta Security CEO and founder Katie Moussouris analyzed the popular social "listening" app Clubhouse, she found a way to eavesdrop on conversations without notifying other users. This was, Moussouris said, a serious and basic flaw, so, using her years of expertise, she documented the vulnerability and emailed some information to the company.
Her emails went unanswered for weeks.
Today, on Lock and Code with host David Ruiz, we speak to Moussouris about Clubhouse, vulnerability disclosure, and the imperfect implementations of "bug bounty" programs.
August 2, 2021
The 2021 attacks on two water treatment facilities in the US—combined with ransomware attacks on an oil and gas supplier and a meat and poultry distributor—could lead most people to believe that a critical infrastructure “big one” is coming.
But, as Lesley Carhart, principal threat hunter with Dragos, tells us, the chances of such an event are remarkably slim. In fact, critical infrastructure’s regular disaster planning often leads to practices that can detect, limit, or prevent any wide-reaching cyberattack.
July 19, 2021
On April 1, a volunteer researcher for the Dutch Institute for Vulnerability Disclosure (DIVD) began poking around into Kaseya VSA, a popular software tool used to remotely manage and monitor computers. Within minutes, he found a zero-day vulnerability that allowed remote code execution—a serious flaw. Within weeks, his team had found seven or eight more.
In today's episode, DIVD Chair Victor Gevers describes the race to prevent one of the most devastating ransomware attacks in recent history. It's a race that Gevers and his team almost won. Almost.
July 6, 2021
At 11:37 pm on the night of September 20, 2019, cybercriminals launched a ransomware attack against Northshore School District in Washington state. Early the next morning, Northshore systems administrator Ski Kacoroski arrived on scene. As Kacoroski soon found out, he and his team were on a race against time—the ransomware actively spreading across servers holding data necessary for day-to-day operations. And importantly, in just four days, the school district needed—by law—to pay its staff. That was now at risk.
Today, we speak to Kacoroski about the immediate reaction, the planned response, and the eventual recovery from a ransomware attack. Tune in to hear Kacoroski's story—and any lessons learned—on the latest episode of Lock and Code, with host David Ruiz.
June 21, 2021
Ransomware attacks are on a different scale this year, with major attacks not just dismantling the business and management of Colonial Pipeline in the US, the Health Service Executive in Ireland, and the meatpacker JBS in Australia, but also disrupting people's access to gasoline, healthcare, COVID-19 vaccinations, and more.
So, what is it going to take to stop these attacks? Brian Honan, CEO of BH Consulting, said that the process will be long and complex, but the end goal in sight should be simple: Put the cybercriminals responsible for these attacks behind bars.
Tune in to learn about how ransomware can dismantle a business, what governments are doing to fight back, and why we need better cooperation within private industry, on the latest episode of Lock and Code, with host David Ruiz.
June 7, 2021
In 2016, a mid-20s man began an intense, prolonged harassment campaign against his new roommate. He emailed her from spoofed email accounts. He texted her and referenced sensitive information that was only stored in a private, online journal. He created new Instagram accounts, he repeatedly made friend requests through Facebook to her friends and family, he even started making bomb threats. And though he tried to sometimes mask his online activity, two of the VPNs he used while registering a fake account eventually gave his information to the FBI.
This record-keeping practice, known as VPN logging, is frowned upon in the industry. And yet, it helped lead to the capture of a dangerous criminal.
Can two VPN "wrongs" make a right? Find out today on Lock and Code, with host David Ruiz.