Typosquatters

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Of all the myriad of ways that we can be duped, scammed, or otherwise taken advantage of on the internet, “typosquatting” remains one of the easiest to stumble into.

Perpetrators of this scam will purchase site domain names that are very similar to popular pages that people visit, usually by changing the .com part of the web address to .cm. This preys on people who make typos, which is, suffice to say it – all of us.

These duped sites can range from being pop-up laden cesspools riddled with viruses or malware, to near-replicas designed to fool users into inputting login information that can be manipulated later.

So, who is doing this? While these types of tricks can occasionally be tied down to lone actors (given how easy it is to obtain a domain name), KrebsOnSecurity identified the marketing firm Media Breakaway LLC to be behind more than 1500 of these false .cm domains. The company is headed by one Scott Richter – a convicted felon who has been the target of several successful lawsuits for illegal spamming. Other companies related to Richter include Dynamic Dolphin and affiliate[dot]com, also related to email spam.

Just how many people are falling victim to these scams? More than 12 million in a 3 month time frame – amounting to a potential of 50 million per year, according to an analysis conducted by Matthew Chambers. Several of these visitors additionally were found to be coming from .gov and .mil sites in the USA, which are the official federal government and military domains. Many popular news sites, social media, banking, and music streaming sites have these malicious doppelgangers.

The actionable item to protect yourself in this situation ultimately boils down to a matter of double-checking the web address before you hit enter, or bookmark your most commonly visited sites.

For more information on this subject, feel free to reach out to us @CentryLTD on Twitter or any of our other social platforms.

Supply Chain Security Introductory Guide

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Having a secure logistics supply chain can save your company millions in terms of assets and reputation, and here at Centry, we have the know-how to help you. Two of the biggest certifications that we offer consultation on in our supply chain security program include the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) authorization and compliance with security standards of the Transported Asset Protection Association (TAPA).

What is AEO?

The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Program is an initiative of the European Union geared toward securing logistic supply chains against trafficking and financial fraud. Being an Authorized Economic Operator is beneficial – it is an open declaration that your company has a lower risk and threat evaluation.

Basically, traders who meet the criterion of the program are entitled to enjoy benefits of trade in international supply chains. Some of these benefits include things like easier admittance to customs simplification programs, fewer physical and document-based controls, priority treatment if selected for control, and reputational advantages such as recognition as a safe and secure business partner, improved relations with customs and gov’t authorities, and reduced theft and losses.

What is TAPA?

When you become a member of TAPA, you are taking a stance for your company with an internationally recognized leader of the fight against cargo crime. TAPA is a worldwide coalition of manufacturers, shippers, carriers, insurers, service providers, law enforcement, and government agencies. It is inclusive of every type of organization or company facing the problem of cargo crime within the transportation supply chain.

TAPA security requirements have expanded to global recognition as the industry standard for cargo facility and transport security, notably:

  • FSR (Freight Security Requirements)
  • TSR (Trucking Security Requirements)

These standards exist to help TAPA members reduce losses, and to provide a platform for more uniform conformance with state of the art security. Carrier hubs and depots that are TAPA certified guarantee with minimum security standards for manufacturers, and they are suitable for inclusion in contractual agreements.

Centry was recently appointed to be the TAPA Service Center in Thailand, becoming the main TAPA service provider in the country, supplying our services also to the general region of South East Asia.

Our supply chain security team supports organizations that are interested in enhancing the resilience of their supply chains by applying for international certificates and authorizations.

Who Can Benefit from this? ​

Our program is suitable for both organizations who are just beginning the journey toward a more secure supply chain, and organizations that have an established security resilience culture, but wish to improve it with objective knowledge. In order to ensure that the efforts of the organization receive the recognition they deserve, we support our customers in complying with the requirements of AEO, C-TPAT, ISO 28000, TAPA FSR and TSR certificates and authorizations.

Where to Begin

For businesses looking to begin the journey toward securing their supply chains, we provide our full spectrum of services that are aimed at guiding the customer through the whole process of certification and security– from preliminary discussions to the maintenance phase of the security management system.

Our primary objective is to support the creation of a system that suits the existing culture and processes of the organization. This begins with determining the desired outcome for the program, followed by examining the operations to understand the business and pinpoint the critical areas. When the key areas have been identified, we provide our expert knowledge to comply with the requirements of the certificate or authorization. This includes system upgrades, creation of documents, training of staff and third parties, inspections of third parties and ensuring compliance with internal requirements.

How to Extend Your Knowledge

For an organization with established security resilience culture, we provide objective and up-to-date knowledge and services regarding supply chain security. The service can be directed to specific issues or give an overarching view of the whole organization. It ensures that the team tasked to ensure supply chain resilience has the up-to-date information regarding key topics and solutions required to enhance the main business. The services we provide include: site and system assessments to ensure compliance with requirements, workshops and training sessions for key stakeholders, classroom sessions for larger crowds, e-learning solutions to ensure global coverage and intelligence services to clarify the opportunity and threat profiles for business objectives and areas.

As global supply chains involve long subcontracting chains, we provide third-party monitoring solutions. We conduct assessments and investigations on behalf of the organization to their third parties for an objective compliance evaluation against any security requirements.

All of these services can be included with Centry’s Security Manager as a Service -package. With it, the organization has the up-to-date knowledge available, when it is required.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact us at info@centry.global.

Bulgarian-Swiss Business Connection

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Last week, Centry supported the “Promoting business partnerships with Switzerland” forum, organized by the Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce (BSCC) in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) Stara Zagora.

The main objective of the forum was to boost and develop business relations between Bulgarian and Swiss companies such as those already part of the BSCC Partnership Platform and other Bulgarian producers and service providers who plan on working with Swiss companies.

The information presented on Bulgarian-Swiss business relations issues and the role of BSCC in establishing sustainable partnerships between these companies served as the foundation of an interesting discussion during the event.

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For more information about the forum, please follow this link to the BSCC website! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us on any of our social media platforms.

 

Valid Concern or Tap Anxiety? An Evaluation of Amazon’s Alexa Recording

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Alexa’s Infamous Recording

A couple weeks ago, a family from Portland, Oregon reached out to Amazon to investigate after they said that their home assistant device, “Alexa”, had apparently recorded audio of a conversation the couple was having and sent it to an acquaintance of the family who’s phone number was in their contact list. The acquaintance, a work colleague, immediately contacted the family to let them know that he received the recording, and told them to turn off their devices.

This led to a media frenzy, where countless sources questioned the security of home assistant devices, likening them to Orwellian wire-taps.

So, how did this happen?

When the family contacted Amazon concerning the incident, an engineer investigated the logs of the device and was able to confirm the recording and subsequent sending. The engineer suggested that the entire issue was a result of the device misinterpreting the sounds of the distant conversation as commands to record and then send the message.

The company’s official statement was:

“Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like “Alexa.” Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a “send message” request. At which point, Alexa said out loud “To whom?” At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, “[contact name], right?” Alexa then interpreted background conversation as “right”. As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely.”

Is this something to be genuinely concerned about?

In short, not really: the coverage of this situation was greatly sensationalized.

If you have ever “butt-dialed” someone from your mobile phone, this is not very much different of a circumstance. Accidental activation leads to a call or command.

Anyone who has one of these devices has probably heard it pipe up unprompted, whether it was from a distant conversation, the TV, radio, computer, etc. It’s important to remember that home assistant devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are still first generation pieces of technology – they are learning on the go, and there is bound to be a few hiccups along the way. Human speech interpretation is very hard.

Both devices have large, easy to see indicators of when they are listening for the keyword. Alexa has a bright blue circle that illuminates on the top, and Google Home also lights up.

However, if you are still worried, here are a few steps you can take:

  1. Turn on command tones in the app. This makes the device “ding” when it hears the keyword, letting you know that it’s actively listening.
  2. Don’t ignore it when it speaks– tell it to stop. Otherwise, it could continue mishearing commands.
  3. Protect your WiFi network. These devices are only as secure as the network they connect to.
  4. Check in the app to see if there are any stored recordings, and delete them.

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us on any of our social media profiles. For more content like this, subscribe to Centry Blog for weekly articles!

Remembering Mr. Rachid Boukhari

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It is with deep regret that we announce the passing of our fellow colleague, Mr. Rachid Boukhari, 52, who died peacefully in his sleep last Saturday.

Rachid had eleven years of military service in the French Foreign Legion unit 2 REP with experience in combat operations and training in remote environments. He was straight, hardworking, and honest, and his service naturally led him down a career path in private security where he ultimately came to work with us at Centry in 2014.

Rachid worked as a Project Security Manager and Security Expert in some of our most challenging projects in remote locations in Yemen and Algeria. He was always proactive and willing to rise to a challenge.

We remember with admiration one occasion where, late in the evening, Rachid was comfortable at home in France, when he received a call from one of our colleagues asking him to be in Algeria in the morning to provide protection to one of our clients. Rachid went above and beyond to make extremely short-notice travel arrangements, and at the crack of dawn the following morning, he was there in Algeria ready to help. This story is just one example of the exemplary commitment Rachid had to helping others, particularly his colleagues in Centry.

We will remember Rachid as a true comrade, whose professionalism, loyalty, and expertise will be sorely missed. Rachid’s wife and two children who he left behind will have our continued support as we all grieve this loss.  Rachid’s funeral is taking place today, June 1st, in Maubeuge, France.

GDPR: Day One

The European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) officially went into effect today. The new regulation exists to give citizens of the EU control over how their data is used. It’s extensive and comes with the promise of harsh fines if non-compliant companies experience a data breach.

Centry’s GDPR Guide, shown on the popular webcast This Week in Law, breaks down the who/what/when/where and why of GDPR for those who want a quick briefing of what this means and why it’s important.

Now, on day one, we are observing the first ripples in the pond of this new policy. Already, BBC has reported that some US-based news websites are unavailable in Europe as the new regulations have come into effect. Some of these include the New York Daily News, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Orlando Sentinel, and Baltimore Sun.

The above news sites are part of the Tronc media publishing group. Others under Lee Enterprises have been similarly affected. Freelance developer Owen Williams created a blog called GDPR Hall of Shame to provide a tongue-in-cheek illustration of the blunders some companies have made as they have taken the first steps of navigating the ruling.

One of the worst offenders is the social media/micro-blogging platform Tumblr, which requires users to manually deselect more than 300 boxes to prevent each entity from utilizing their data. There is no available option currently for mass selection.

Others are taking the change to data regulation in full stride. Microsoft has expanded their GDPR-compliant policy to protect all of their users, not just the ones based out of the EU.

If you have any questions or comments about GDPR, feel free to contact us on any of our social platforms!

For more content like this, subscribe to Centry Blog for weekly updates related to the security industry, cyber security, risk management, compliance, and global affairs.

Fake Social Media Profiles: What to do if You are Being Impersonated Online

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Impersonation on social media is rampant; whether you know someone who have received a message from a fake profile, or you have found your own identity personated on some platform online, it seems that there are precious few degrees between individuals and fake accounts.

When account setup is as easy as inputting a name and email, it’s no wonder that these false accounts are everywhere. And they will continue to be created, unless social platforms integrate stricter terms for signing up.

For now, all of the bots/impersonators of the world can continue to thrive in account creation as easy as 1-2-3.

Insta1Good enough for Instagram.

So, what can you do to prevent this from happening in the first place? The short answer is, unfortunately, nothing. But you can address the issue after these fake accounts have been identified, and it is important to do so. At best, impersonators may be a minor nuisance. At worst, they could damage your online brand.

Fortunately, most popular social networks have processes to report false profiles. Without further ado, here is how you can take action.

Facebook

If you see a profile impersonating you or someone you know, here are the steps you can take to address it.

Navigate to the fake profile, and on the lower right corner of the cover photo, there should be a symbol that looks like facebook dots.PNG .  If you select this, a drop-down menu will appear, from which you can select ‘Report’ and follow the onscreen instructions.

If you do not have a Facebook account and wish to report a fake profile in your name, you can do so by filling out this form.

LinkedIn 

The process for reporting a fake profile on LinkedIn is very similar to that of Facebook. Like Facebook, LinkedIn has the three-dots symbol on its profiles that will enable you to select the option to Report/Block. Then, in the reporting pop-up window, you’ll be able to detail the impersonation under “What do you want to do?” > “Tell us a little more”.

Twitter

Twitter’s policy is complex because it does allow parody accounts so long as they clearly state that they are not the individual that they are parodying, however, you can still take action against fake profiles in your name by filling out this form.

Instagram 

You can report fake profiles on Instagram either within the app or by filling out a separate form, which will require you to provide a piece of government issued photo ID, such as your driver’s license or passport.

Finally, after going through the reporting process for the false profile, be sure to let your friends and followers know that this impersonator account is not real and that they should not click on any links coming from it.

This article was written by Kristina Weber of Centry. For more content like this, be sure to subscribe to Centry Blog for weekly articles and follow us on Twitter @CentryLTD!