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The Lockdown

Thycotic’s Cyber Security Blog

5 Scary Data Breaches – What is your Nightmare Cyber Hack Attack?

Written by Joseph Carson

October 31st, 2017

Bad stuff happens. Bad, b-a-a-d stuff. It happens in the real world, and now it happens in the cyber world too. And it’s only a matter of time before—gasp!it happens to you.

I’m talking about a gruesome hack-attack. You may get targeted directly by hack-monsters lurking online; or you may become the helpless victim of a third-party attack. This is where a trusted organization, like a retailer or your doctor’s office, is breached, and your personal sensitive information is stolen and buried, deep within the dark, dark web, where no one can hear its screams.

Can you protect yourself from the creepiest of attacks? Sometimes you can, if you’re smart. But sometimes the cyber-attack is out of your control—so best be prepared.

Some of these attacks are happening right now…

I’m going to share with you some of the most horrifying hack attacks lying in wait for an unsuspecting victim. Some are happening right now. Others lie in the not-so-distant future. I’d love you to share some of your horror stories with me too. In fact, if you can scare me, I’ll feature your story right here in The Lockdown.

#1 The Mental Hack Attack: Lose your smart phone and you lose your mind

You’ve misplaced your smart phone. You call it from another phone—but you never hear it ring. Never. Ever. Again.

Your mind races. How will you get that information back again? All your secrets, your banking apps, your contacts…all gone. It’s like being isolated on an island with no resources. Your phone, after all, was an extension of yourself. You feel like you’re losing your mind.

I want you to know that this need never happen again. You can, and must, back up your smart phone regularly. Back-ups take the terror out of phone loss.

 #2 The ‘I can’t get in’ Hack Attack: When losing your password is like losing the keys to your house

Here’s a fact that will make your blood run cold: Over 80% of data breaches involve a stolen or weak password. And what do you use to protect your devices and accounts? That’s right, passwords.

Would you give a stranger the keys to your house or car?  Did I hear you whisper “No”? Yet, in the online world, this is exactly what you do when you click on a link and enter your username and password into a form without thinking twice.  That form could be a malicious form, and you’ve just lost a precious password.

Treat your password like the keys to your house; don’t dangle them around like it’s an open house.  Protect yourself by sending your information only to trusted sources that you can verify as such, even if it means doing a Google search first. It pays to be suspicious of ‘normal’ looking requests.

#3 The Voice Hack Attack: Hey Alexa **** my ***, oh no, stop Alexa stop, please…nooo!

Have you heard this chilling tale? A child had an innocent conversation with Alexa and accidentally ended up ordering a doll house. When the incident was discussed on a radio talk show, all the homes ‘listening’ started ordering doll houses too.

Voice activation is becoming part of our daily lives with everyone searching for directions, looking for the best places to eat, ordering music and movies to watch.  So, is it not possible that the most hair-raising moment of your live could inadvertently be triggered by the voice command?  What words are you afraid to utter in front of your personal voice assistant?  Would you watch a horror movie with your voice assistant nearby?  Imagine driving your autonomous vehicle while talking with your partner who triggers a command telling your vehicle to “turn right now”.

And will you think twice about what you’re saying on the phone from now on?

#4 The Smart Home Hack Attack: The RansomScare vacuum cleaner, refrigerator, coffee maker…

Have I told you about this house that’s inhabited by ghosts? The lights come on in the nursery when no one’s home. The vacuum cleaner switches on and starts creeping around the living room. Then suddenly—the temperature starts to drop. Wait, those aren’t ghosts! That’s just a smart home.

With each passing day we’re bringing more smart devices into our home and forcing them to do the chores we once had to do ourselves.  But with these devices connected online and talking to each other, how long before a cyber-criminal takes control of your house from across the world?  Will smart devices be the new RansomScare—pay the bitcoins or this smart vacuum cleaner is going to suck the life out of you?

Protect your smart home by being relentless about cyber security.

And don’t panic. I’m not going to leave you alone and in the dark. Check out my 6 Simple Steps to Online Safety to help you stay safe online.

#5 The AI Hack Attack: Artificial Intelligence gets too smart, and machines make machines

Did you know that even Elon Musk is haunted by the possibilities of artificial intelligence? He’s concerned that AI could run amok, and that the machines we have programmed become so clever they are able to overcome us one day.

It sounds like a futuristic nightmare, but AI is just around the corner. AI will become part of our everyday lives, making decisions for us and maybe even telling us what to do.  Are you ready to take orders from a robot? Will Skynet really happen, and will robots overcome humans?

Can you scare a cyber security expert? I invite you to try

Come, scare me. Describe a nightmare hack-attack scenario, real or imagined, and share it in the comments below. If you can scare me, a cyber security expert who loves finding solutions for the most challenging hacking stories, I’ll write a blog about it and feature your story on The Lockdown.



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