APT28 has already attacked travellers in hotels throughout Europe and the Middle East
APT28 uses various hacking techniques, such as “EternalBlue” and “Responder” sniffing passwords from Wi-Fi traffic
Indian organisations must have strong security controls in place to detect attackers
India, August 12, 2017: A Russian hacking group “APT28” is targeting the hospitality sector globally and the Indian hotels and resorts must have strong Wi-Fi security in place to safeguard travellers’ data from being stolen, a cyber security company said on Friday.
APT28 has already attacked travellers in hotels throughout Europe and the Middle East in a campaign that dates back to July this year, according to the US-based company FireEye.
APT28 uses various hacking techniques, such as “EternalBlue” and “Responder” sniffing passwords from Wi-Fi traffic.
“One of the most concerning aspects of this operation is the victims included hotel guests who didn’t do anything wrong. They didn’t click a malicious link or open an attachment they shouldn’t have. They simply used the Internet over Wi-Fi in their hotels,” Subhendu Sahu, Acting Country Manager for India, FireEye, told IANS.
“Indian organisations should have strong security controls in place to detect attackers who compromise traveling employees’ systems and then follow them home like an unwanted souvenir,” Sahu added.
FireEye has claimed to have found a malicious document named “Hotel_Reservation_Form.doc”, sent in spear phishing emails to multiple companies in the hospitality industry, including hotels in at least seven European countries and one Middle Eastern country.
APT28 used EternalBlue and Responder to spread laterally through networks and target travelers to steal usernames and hashed passwords.
According to FireEye, APT28, in an incident in 2016, gained initial access to a victim’s network via credentials likely stolen from the hotel Wi-Fi network and hacked the victim’s Outlook Web Access (OWA) account.
Once inside the network of a hospitality company, APT28 seeks machines that control both guest and internal Wi-Fi networks.
“Cyber espionage activity against the hospitality industry is typically focused on collecting information on or from hotel guests of interest rather than on the hotel industry itself, though actors may also collect information on the hotel as a means of facilitating operations,” FireEye said.
“Business and government personnel who are traveling often rely on systems to conduct business other than those at their home office, and may be unfamiliar with threats posed while abroad,” it added.
Travelers must be aware of the threats especially when in foreign countries and take extra precautions to secure their systems and data.
“Publicly accessible Wi-Fi networks present a significant threat and should be avoided whenever possible,” FireEye warned.
There are also other hacking groups targeting travellers apart from APT28, including “South Korea-nexus Fallout Team” (also known as “Darkhotel”) and “Duqu 2.0”. (IANS)
Bangladesh has experienced a double-digit growth in Internet use every year in the past 15 years and almost half of the social media users in the country are women and teenage girls
The Office of the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) of the ICT Division hired cyber security consulting agency Four D Communications to conduct the recent training of the 10,000 girls
Senior officials say the government is keen to spread cyber safety awareness across the whole country
Bangladesh, June 12, 2017: Bangladesh has begun training thousands of school girls to protect them from being blackmailed or harassed online following an alarming rise in cyber crimes.
The Information & Communication Technology (ICT) Division of Bangladesh’s Ministry of Post, Telecommunication & Information Technology recently finished conducting a pilot project in which female students from urban areas were taught how to keep themselves safe if they faced online threats.
“Most of the victims of cybercrime in our country are young girls. So, we decided to spread awareness among the girls first. In this pilot project, over 10,000 girls from 40 schools and colleges took part in our workshops and we got a massive response. Now we have our target to take this campaign across the whole country involving 40 million students in 170,000 schools and colleges,” Zunaid Ahmed Palak, State Minister for ICT told VOA.
Bangladesh has experienced a double-digit growth in Internet use every year in the past 15 years and almost half of the social media users in the country are women and teenage girls, but authorities say they make up about 70 percent of cybercrime victims.
Mishuk Chakma, a cybersecurity expert of Dhaka Metropolitan Police said the boyfriends of the Facebook-using girls often trick them into posing for intimate photographs or videos.
“Later, when their relationships are on the rocks, their former boyfriends post the photos and videos in the social media to emotionally blackmail the girls. Such photos and videos often trigger troubles in the lives of the girls after they get into new relationships or get married,” Chakma told VOA. “In such a situation many marital relationships are getting into troubles and even in a few cases the girls are taking extreme steps like attempting suicide.”
Sahana, a 15-year-old who took part in an ICT-organized workshop, said she feels she has benefitted from the training.
“I shall verify one’s identity in many ways before I accept his or her Facebook ‘friend request’ now. Now I have also learned that I should not disclose much of my personal information on Facebook,” she said. “Also, I am quite confident now that none can harass or blackmail me on Facebook.”
Sometimes the criminals are superimposing faces of the girls, who are known to them, onto the bodies of nude models or adult film stars to blackmail and defame the girls, Chakma said.
“Cyber harassment of girls and women can be effectively curbed if the spread of awareness among the social media users increases,” he said.
The Office of the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) of the ICT Division hired cybersecurity consulting agency Four D Communications to conduct the recent training of the 10,000 girls.
Abdullah Al Imran, managing director of Four D Communications, said apart from learning how to defend themselves online, the girls also learned how to bring cyber criminals to justice.
“Very surprisingly we found that as much as 93 percent of the girls who participated in the training did not know that Bangladesh already has an ICT Act to help cyber harassment victims. We also taught them where and how they would seek help in case they were harassed or blackmailed online,” Imran told VOA. “Girls mostly from urban areas took part in our pilot project. I am sure, in smaller towns and rural areas the Internet literacy level among girls is even lower and they are more vulnerable there.”
But Lawyer Tureen Afroz, an advocate in Dhaka’s Supreme Court, said to deal with the growing cybercrime the government should amend further the Information and Communication Technology Act, 2006 or ICT Act to make it up to date.
“Indeed it’s a good initiative that the government is trying to educate the girls and raise awareness among them about the growing trend of cybercrimes. But, the government also needs to revamp the judiciary to achieve higher rate of success in fight against such crimes,” she said. “We are still unable to make the best use of smarter electronic evidences to pin down the cyber criminals in the court of law.”
Senior officials say the government is keen to spread cyber safety awareness across the whole country.
Abul Mansur Mohammad Sharf Uddin, who heads the government’s cyber safety awareness campaign, said his department is busy on a blueprint to expand the campaign.
“For the students, the contents on Internet literacy, which will be included to the national curriculum, will be ready soon. We want to introduce the course not just in schools and colleges, but also in over 100 universities of the country. We will also raise teachers across academic institutions of the country who will conduct cyber safety training classes for students locally,” Sharf Uuddin said. (VOA)
April 09, 2017: Social media is not only confined to building relationships these days but on the other side of the purview, it has unfolded into a platform to hoist a voice on issues which is of an individuals’ concern. However, a bizarre trend on social media insinuates that trolling women on the internet has become a leisure exercise for most of the misanthropists. Women are prone to the heightened rates of physical threats and harassment which is deemed as ‘common’ to their male peers in general.
Moreover, anonymity is also the reason which allows abuse to flourish in cyberspace. Out of the myriads of reason in the rear of amorality at virtual space, one of them could be apprehended as the tendency to spurn the opinions propagated by women on social media and retaliation by men owing to the bigoted behavior.
A study conducted by Pew Research center states that Women are predisposed to see online harassment as traumatic as compared to men. Nearly four-in-ten (38%) women who experienced it found it extremely or very upsetting compared with 17% of men.
Besides, the survey by Pew research also concluded that half of those harassed online do not know who is behind the online harassment. 38% said it was a stranger and 26% said they didn’t know the real identity of the person.
I, Naina Mishra (Reporter, Newsgram) spoke to Mr. Jitendra Mohan, President of Asia-Pacific Association of Psychology and Editor-in-Chief of Indian Journal of Psychology concerning the rampant problem in cyberspace.
“The Internet is a very uncertain system which has overtaken the other system of communication. Many people feel much empowered by disparaging the other person whereas it becomes a paralyzing situation for the person who receives it. I believe women are the basic foundation of our culture but such things are only preached and not implemented in our society. Some of the people who use the internet are poorer people and feel greater about themselves when they hurt someone on the internet. However, Greatness lies in respecting yourself, respecting others and communicating at a higher level,” said Jitendra Mohan on the violent behavior of men towards women on the internet.
Mr. Mohan further accentuated by saying, “How we react to our sisters and how we react to the girl who is a stranger to us is imbibed right in the beginning of the childhood. The sense of taking women as granted carries on for an indefinite period of time and manifested on the internet.”
The handicap of hostility plays a major role. When they do not get a chance to speak directly they find hidden means to display their anger, says Mr. Mohan.
Hurting women is a classic example of the low self-concept, bad child rearing and low values of culture. Trolling, hurting, sending bad messages happens in the wake of anonymity and no sense of fear of getting caught.
Opportunely we find women not accepting this medium of communication and they have started reacting to it, which is a right thing to do. Not accepting such hostile invasion on their individuality is very important.
“Trolling is condemnable and people who take up such activities should get their cognizance and abnormality checked. A man is great when he respects a woman and not by hurting women” remarked Mr. Jitendra Mohan, Professor Emeritus of Psychology.
He also presented a message for the women who find it difficult to sustain in virtual space.
“Trolling affects the victims’ life in many depressing ways. She does not have to succumb to the attacks. She needs to understand that she is being vilified by the wrong people. Her body, mind and her way of life cannot be attacked by anybody because it is defined by her. Do not let anyone intervene in your private affair. It is better not to confront to the hooligans. Bullies make you stronger. Reiterate – You can’t dictate me, you can’t define me and by no chance can you demolish me.”
Sight of Violent Trolling-
Excerpts from the victims by Pew research survey;
Kavita Krishnan, a well-known Delhi-based women’s activist was attacked sadistically during an online chat subjected to violence against women on ‘rediff.com’.
“One person, with the handle @RAPIST, started posting abusive comments. He then asked me where he could come to rape me using a condom”told Kavita to BBC News.
Sagarika Ghose, a popular journalist who anchors prime-time bulletins on CNN-IBN and writes for a leading newspaper was threatened regularly with the gang rape and stripping on Twitter.
“Targeting me for my journalism is fine. But when it is sexist and foul-mouthed abuse which insults my gender identity I get incredibly angry. In the beginning, I used to retaliate, but that would lead to more abuse”told Sagarika Ghose to BBC News.
Another incident of the kind was reported recently where the History Honors student of Miranda House College returned home from the concert in an upbeat state of mind, just to find semen stains on the pants she had been wearing. She then recalled a man standing behind her at the show and touching her, however she at first overlooked it thinking it to be accidental. After a while, she realized that the guy didn’t back off until then. The matter further soared and alarmed by an “odor”, she pushed him away.
Internet – such a brilliant conception. Wouldn’t it have been great if we were able to uphold the very essence of it in an optimistic sense? The first few years saw an unfettered world of internet exclusive of the hostility and crimes, however, such is not the status now. Trolling women on the internet has become a new cult and many of us tend to appreciate it and derive sadistic pleasures out of it. Little do we realize the consequences of lewd remarks passed on to someone’s face, body, profession or even for that matter – opinions of a woman which are unaccepted by the intolerant men.
Living in a country where freedom of speech is appreciated, it is disheartening to detect such a condemning outlook towards someone’s thoughts and actions.
New Delhi, December 6, 2016: A day after the Supreme Court sought responses from three internet search engines on sharing videos related to sexual offences and cybercrime on Facebook, a Delhi-based law firm has formulated recommendations to help users avoid being a target of online abuse or harassment.
Besides increasing cases of sexual assault videos being uploaded online, there is also an increasing issue of people facing cyber abuse and harassment.
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In a new report, Software Freedom law Centre, a non-profit legal services organisation, said an internet user should thoroughly screen the personal information shared online.
“Be very careful about what personal information you make publicly available and refrain from providing any information apart from that which is absolutely essential for its purpose. Do not feel obligated to fill out all fields when registering online and avoid providing identifying information such as birth-date and place in required fields,” the report said.
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“Dedicate an email ID for social-media purposes that is dedicated solely for use while signing up and/or using social media services. Do not use this ID for personal communication purposes and avoid uploading photographs that identify you or your location,” it added. Instead of using real given name, using a pseudonym maintains anonymity and keeps one safe. Also, keep a tab on information others post about you and if something concerns you about privacy, let your friends and family know about it.
“Use strong passwords with a mix of different types of characters, including alphabets, numbers and special characters and change them periodically. Also, review your service providers’ privacy policies,” the report added.
A bench of Justice Madan B. lokur and Justice Uday Umesh lalit on Monday sought responses from – Google India, Yahoo India, Microsoft Corporation (India) ltd. and Facebook — by January 9 on NGO Prajwala’s plea seeking a defined place where one could report such rape videos and seek their blocking.
The court’s notices for response came during the course of hearing of a letter by Hyderabad-based non-governmental organisation Prajwala along with two rape videos. Two videos submitted in a pen drive showed a man raping a woman and another man filming it.
The NGO’s lawyer Aparna Bhat said videos of sexual offences are shot and posted online, and pleaded for court directions to them to take steps to curb cybercrime. (IANS)