For the past few years, I’ve been documenting, screenshotting, and sharing examples of criminal campaigns on the three big social media platforms: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. I’m not that interested in speculating whether or not something is fake content, falsely amplified by nation-state sponsored threat actors (i.e. coordinated inauthentic behavior), but instead I’ve been focusing on two (a lot less media-sexy) themes:
- low-tier criminals using these platforms to promote their services
- so called “support scams” targeting mainly Facebook page owners
What is common across these two is the fact that they keep getting through social media platforms’ automatic filtering. I call this filtering – the good-willed type, not the censorship type – social media countermeasures. A term I think I picked up from Destin who runs Smarter Every Day YouTube channel, but I haven’t really seen it used. In a nutshell, social media platforms are trying to create countermeasures to prevent malicious behavior on their platform, and at the same time cyber criminals are developing counter-countermeasures to bob and weave their way around detection and filtering. Sometimes these criminals simply operate in a grey area not covered explicitly by a platform’s Terms of Service, making developing effective countermeasures even harder. Let’s take a look at few examples.
Continue reading “Social Media Countermeasures – Battling Long-Running Scams on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram”
I believe there’s a pretty clear consensus within the industry that ransomware should not be mistaken anymore to limit itself to just encrypting files and demanding payment for a decryption key. Dubbed by F-Secure “Ransomware 2.0”, now the standard practice for ransomware groups includes also stealing files from the target company in order to increase the leverage for ransom. Proper backups are an antidote to encrypted files but won’t help against the threat of stolen data being leaked.
Although this double extortion scheme has been the new modus operandi only since late 2019, cyber criminals are already looking for additional ways to apply pressure to their victims. This is where Ransomware 3.0 comes in.
Continue reading “What is Ransomware 3.0?”
Recently I was invited to KOVA Esports podcast to talk about cyber security, online privacy and identity management from the perspective of gamers and gaming industry in general. Hosted by KOVA’s General Manager Timo Tarvainen and joined by their streamer Teemu “Spamned” Rissanen, we had a great one-hour long discussion. This post covers my own notes about the things we mentioned, source links included, and further expands on some of the topics. Links to the podcast episode can be found on the bottom of the page. Enjoy!
Continue reading “Cyber Security in Gaming – Extensive Show Notes for KOVA Podcast X F-Secure”
WhatsApp being a closed source app, owned and operated by Facebook, there’s not much you can do to protect your privacy from that angle. You can, however, limit the amount of data you expose to other WhatsApp users. These are all the privacy settings and tricks for WhatsApp you should be using.
Continue reading “WhatsApp Privacy Settings”
Last year I took a first look at a phishing campaign that was interestingly targeting YouTube channel owners’ email addresses. The aim of the campaign was to guide people to fake YouTube sign in page and phish their login credentials. Note, this did not target YouTube accounts in general, but actual channels. These were my main findings:
- Despite being hilariously obvious, first four of these were not caught by ProtonMail’s spam filter
- Out of several YouTube channels I manage, only one has been targeted
- Same email was CC’d to others
- Unclear where they have found my email address
- Senders’ email service providers started as Russian. Little to no typosquatting involved.
- After few iterations, phishing content seems to have reached its final form (for now)
The campaign came in a burst, stopping as suddenly as it had started. Now after a couple of months it has started again, and it’s time to re-examine what has changed.
Continue reading “YouTube Channel Phishing, Part 2: The Enemy Evolves”
Continuing my seemingly never-ending quest of digging through privacy policies, this time I analyzed how the most popular wearables companies handle their customers’ data. Fitbit, Biostrap, Motiv, Oura and Whoop all are on the cutting edge of health technology, but are their privacy practices on par with that or not?
A fellow biohacker Alex Fergus provided me with the opportunity to publish my little research article on his website. Over the years he has published tons of information on fitness, sleep and – of course – health gadgets. Few days ago he published the most comprehensive red light panel comparison I’ve ever seen, analyzing everything from EMF levels to irradiance and LED flicker. Let’s just say he knows his stuff, so I’m excited to try to match his professionalism on that space with mine about privacy.
I believe it’s time for the biohacker community to start valuing their data more. In my guest blog post you’ll learn:
- What data do these wearables collect?
- Are they selling or exchanging data with third parties?
- Data retention – how long are they storing your data?
- What can you do?
- And more…
So head over to alexfergus.com and learn everything you need to know about wearables and privacy!
During past few months I’ve witnessed and been targeted by rather simple, but still interesting phishing campaign. Well, not me personally, but instead a YouTube channel that I run. This campaign has noticeably sped up in November, so I decided to take a closer look at these phishing emails and share with you my findings.
Continue reading ““YouTube channel will be disabled within 24 hours!” Phishing Campaign First Look”
(I got access to thinkspot beta and this was my first post on that platform. I decided to crosspost it here to increase awareness of thinkspot, and also because the issues I raise here are relevant on other social media platforms as well.)
Hi, I’m Joel, and I eat Privacy Policies for breakfast.
Continue reading “Freedom of Speech in the Age of Privacy Policies”
(Tämä on suomennos Bruce Schneierin vuonna 2006 julkaisemasta artikkelista “The Eternal Value of Privacy”. Käännetty ja julkaistu hänen luvallaan.)
Yleisin vasta-argumentti, mitä yksityisyyden puolestapuhujat kuulevat – ja tämä argumentti tulee yleensä niiltä, jotka kannattavat henkilötietojen tarkastuksia, valvontakameroita, tietokantoja, tiedon louhintaa ja muita valvontamenetelmiä – on tämä: “Jos et tee mitään väärää, niin eihän sinulla ole mitään salattavaa?”
Tässä on joitakin käteviä vastauksia: “Jos en tee mitään väärää, niin sitten sinulla ei ole syytä tarkkailla minua.” “Koska valtiovalta päättää mikä on väärää, ja he voivat vaihtaa väärän määritelmää.” “Koska sinä voit tehdä jotain väärää minun informaatiollani.” Ongelma näissä vastauksissa – vaikka ne toisaalta oikeita ovatkin – on se, että ne hyväksyvät yksityisyyden olevan lähtökohtaisesti jonkin väärän piilottelua. Se ei kuitenkaan pidä paikkaansa. Yksityisyys on ihmisoikeus, ja edellytys arvokkaan ja kunnioitettavan ihmisarvon ylläpitämiselle.
Continue reading “Yksityisyyden ikuinen arvo”
First things first: Instagram is owned by Facebook. As such, no matter your settings or how you operate the app, you can never obtain real privacy on the platform. There exists a decentralized, ad-free alternative called Pixelfed that seems to have been getting some praise, but without personal experiences I can’t say much about it. Still worth the look if you’re thinking about migrating from Instagram.
Alright, now on to the guide. Here are the concrete steps you should take in order to increase your privacy and security on Instagram.
Continue reading “Instagram Hardening – Private Profile is NOT Enough!”