Online Trail Illuminates Baton Rouge Gunman’s Path to Violence

Though the police here have released little information about Gavin Long, a deeper portrait is beginning to emerge, based on a large trail left online.

Many of these digital breadcrumbs — web posts, YouTube videos and podcasts — are tied to Mr. Long’s given name, or some version of a new name, Cosmo Ausar Setepenra, which he filed court documents in Missouri to adopt in May 2015.

There is evidence that he sought to do the right thing, pursuing higher education and serving his nation. There is also evidence of paranoid thinking, and an interest in shedding blood to advance the cause of oppressed peoples.

In an interview with a podcast host in March, Mr. Long identified himself as a member of the online community of so-called targeted individuals, people who believe they are being harassed with mind-control weapons and by armies of stalkers.

Read the whole article via The New York Times by clicking here.

It’s Time to Think of Cybersecurity as a Business Builder

Last year, CIO, CSO and PricewaterhouseCoopers released a new Global State of Information Security survey, which polled more than 10,000 executives from 127 countries about IT security. The results were a mixed bag, with security incidents up 38% over 2014 but corresponding budgets rising only 24%.

This finding reflects common corporate psychology that cybersecurity is a cost center and a drain on resources – a Cisco survey of over 1,000 executives also found that 74% of respondents in the U.S. said that the main purpose of cybersecurity is to reduce risk instead of enable growth. I’ve found that people tend to think of cybersecurity as costly, complex, inefficient, and a damper on productivity. Many people believe it may not actually work or mitigate risk. This can result in security measures being implemented piecemeal without any overarching policy, resulting in costly but poor integration.

See the whole article at by clicking here.

Fighting ISIS With an Algorithm to Predict Attacks

In a study published Thursday in the journal Science, Dr. Johnson and Miami colleagues Captureexplosionsearched for pro-Islamic State posts each day from mid-2014 until August 2015, mining mentions of beheadings and blood baths in multiple languages on Vkontakte, a Russia-based social media service that is the largest European equivalent to Facebook. Ultimately, they devised an equation that tries to explain the activity of Islamic State sympathizers online and might, they say, eventually help predict attacks that are about to happen.

Read the whole article from The New York Times here

Michigan utility downplays serious cyber attack

A water and electricity authority in the State of Michigan, Lansing’s Board of Water & Light, BWLneeded a week to recover from a ransomware attack that hit its enterprise systems recently.

The successful phishing attack on its corporate systems, which was first noticed on April 25, forced the utility to keep systems, including phone servers, locked down since then.

More on this story is available from Smart Grid News by clicking here.

Malware Suspected in Bangladesh Bank Heist

Investigators suspect that malicious software code allowing hackers to withdraw the money could have been installed several weeks before the incident. Malware gave hackers an inside look at the bank’s systems.

The hackers appeared to have stolen Bangladesh Bank’s credentials for the SWIFT messaging system, which banks around the world use for secure financial communication.

Investigators believe the attack was sophisticated, describing the use of a “zero day” and referring to an “advanced persistent threat.”

More from Fortune magazine by clicking here.

Insider threats cause more damage than big data breaches

Experian’s just released third annual Data Breach Industry Forecast report for 2016 predicts that big hacks will continue to grab the headlines, but small breaches will cause “a lot more damage.”

“Whether it’s a true malicious insider, or just employee negligence, 80 percent of the breaches we’ve worked so far in 2015 have been [caused by] employees … and I don’t think that’s going to change in the healthcare field and other fields,” says Michael Bruemmer of Experian Data Breach Resolution.

How malware peddlers trick users into enabling MS-Office Word macros

“One popular social engineering trick to entice users to enable macros, is to make the user believe that the document contains secret or confidential information, and that the user needs to take action to reveal this information,” Didier Stevens explained.

The Word document will contain a message that the content is hidden (or encoded, or encrypted, …) and that the user needs to enable the content (or the macros) to visualize it. This function will change the font color from white to black (thereby “revealing” the hidden information) and remove the header that instructs the user to enable the content.

Effectively, this function will make you believe that nothing out of the ordinary happened, and that your action simply allowed you to read the document. What you won’t know or notice is that a malicious payload is downloaded and executed in the background, and your computer has been compromised.

More from HelpNetSecurity by clicking here.


MIT algorithm emulates human intuition in big data analysis

Max Kanter, who created the algorithm as part of his master’s thesis at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), entered the algorithm into three major big data competitions. In a paper to be presented this week at IEEE International Conference on Data Science and Advanced Analytics, he announced that his “Data Science Machine” has beaten 615 of the 906 human teams it’s come up against.

The algorithm used raw datasets to make models, predicting things such as when a student would be most at risk of dropping an online course, or what indicated that a customer during a sale would turn into a repeat buyer.

Kanter’s algorithm seems to do a decent job of approximating human “intuition” with much less time and manpower, he hopes it can provide a good benchmark.

More from the Washington Post by clicking here.

Online Dating Made This Woman a Pawn in a Global Crime Plot

According to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, American victims of online romance scams elrodlost more than $87 million in 2014 (compared with just $50 million in 2011). The intimate details of one woman’s foray into an online relationship that resulted in victimization are fascinating…

Click here for the juicy details from Wired.

If you counted all the bits in one petabyte at one bit per second, it would take 285 million years.

nuff said!  it’s all about the data!