Olympic’s 2012 – What Do We Do Now?

What an amazing year this has been especially for anyone who has been fortunate enough to have witnessed the coverage of the 2012 Olympics. For those of us who live in London it has been even more special. I know people who intentionally went away during the Olympics and did they miss out. They will in all probability never have the opportunity to experience anything like this again.

I was fortunate enough to be living in Cape Town when South Africa hosted the World Cup Rugby in 1995 and managed to get tickets for all the games played in Cape Town including the opening game between South Africa and Australia at Newlands Rugby Stadium (Cape Town). This was a great game to open the tournament as it set the momentum for future games. What helped to make the World Cup such a huge success (especially for South African supporters) was that South Africa went on to win final against New Zealand at Ellis Park in Johannesburg.

The London Olympics created compelling viewing and watching the British athletes excel and win so many medals in both the normal and the Paralympics garnered great support both locally and internationally. Not only were the British performances outstanding (as seen by the number of medals won) but so was the attitude that the athletes displayed both on and off the sports fields The coverage was equally fantastic. The question now is how does Britain maintain the momentum and best use this success in the future.

The celebrations in South Africa in 1995 were equally inspiring especially when President Nelson Mandela wearing a Springbok jersey with the number 6 on the back handed the Web Ellis Trophy to Francois Pienaar the South African Rugby Captain. The whole country celebrated but unfortunately the new found unity did not last long.

I do not propose to have the answers but do hope that the people entrusted with the future development of sport in the UK are able to build on this momentum. There certainly appears to be a new found desire from the British people to get more involved in playing sport at what ever level .


























































































































































































Social Media Phishing Attacks

We have recently been alarmed by the fact that Russian hackers were able to access 6.5 million user passwords from the Social Media sites LinkedIn and eHarmony. The problem was caused by the apparent fact that LinkedIn was using outmoded cryptographic methods that failed to effectively secure this sensitive data. The result was that LinkedIn supposedly emailed people who they believed had had their passwords breached. I appear to have been one of the “lucky people” not to have received an email from LinkedIn. The truth is how do we confirm that the emails were actually sent from LinkedIn as this is one method used by hackers to obtain further information from you in order to access information such as your bank details.
 The question is how do you confirm that your password has not been breached?  LinkedIn has requested that anyone with a LinkedIn account should change their password just to be safe. As a result, hopefully most people are now in the process of changing all of their passwords.
Phishing attacks can contain links that, when clicked on, install malware on your computer, which is why it is advisable to never  click on links in emails to change or verify your accounts at any site. LinkedIn in itself is not the target of the people behind the attacks but in what the LinkedIn password list can lead to for their benefit.
” LinkedIn has since put a new form of security in place that includes techniques called “hashing” and “salting,” which sound like something from a Food Network show but are actually ways to add additional information to a password to make it far more difficult to decode. This is good news for those anticipating a future relationship with LinkedIn, but the company’s security gaffe leaves some existing users in an uncomfortable position. For the LinkedIn password is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the way many people manage their online identities.” (Source:  Paul A. Gilster)
One of the issues with having many user names and passwords is remembering what they all are. It is easy to have the same password for every community and or site that we belong to. Remembering multiple user names and passwords is one thing. If you are unable to do so, where can you keep them without hackers being able to access them?
SentryBay have a secure solution called E-Wallet and this allows you to safely save user names and passwords along with bank details and any other personal information that you care to save. e-wallet is password protecting and can run on your desktop or on a USB key. e-wallet has an added feature in that you can encrypt and decrypt data in the same secure environment.

Protecting Yourself From Phishing Attacks

Phishing attacks — online trolling for personal information in order to raid your financial accounts — are soaring. According to cyber-security experts at RSA, phishing attacks jumped 37 percent last year and have proven to be exceptionally costly, with the average attack resulting in $4,500 in stolen funds.

There are still 5 simple ways to catch a phishing attempt before it catches you (Source Kathy Kristof) . Specifically:

Don’t click. If your bank or credit card company sends a warning message saying that your account has been compromised and you need to click through an emailed link to “verify your account information,” don’t. Banks and credit card companies don’t communicate that way. Neither does the IRS. If there’s a problem with a bank or credit card account, they’ll call you.

Go direct. If you get one of these emails and are worried that there may be a real problem with your account, open up a new browser window, go directly to your bank site and sign in there. Chances are, you’ll see something along the lines of: “(Your bank) DOES NOT send emails instructing you to click on a link to enter your personal information.” When you sign on without trouble and there’s no other message from your bank saying that your account is compromised, you know that it’s not. Delete the email that caused you to worry, but remember it — and the fact that it was a scam — for next time.

 Don’t try to “win” anything. Phishing is done with more than emails. Contests are big: “Win a free iPad!” or “Get a $500 Target Gift Card!” The come-ons are all over the web. All you have to do supposedly to get this awesome swag is click on a link that is likely to take you to a toxic site. Increasingly, these toxic sites embed a virus into your computer that allows the crook to capture your every keystroke. That means it gets all your passwords and user IDs for your bank and brokerage accounts. You know you’re really not going to get something for nothing, right? So don’t pretend you will. When you see the word “free,” think “danger.” Don’t go there.

Don’t panic. The other brilliant scam that can pull you into the vortex of a toxic site is the pop-up warning: “Your computer has been compromised! Click here to download a security fix!” When you click, you open the gates of your computer to all sorts of nasty viruses. If you don’t panic, you won’t click and you won’t regret it later.

Get security. If you don’t have security software on your computer, now is the time to invest in it. Good services like SentryBay will set you back about $30 a year for 3 licences. If you compare that to the $4,500 you could lose in a phishing attack, it’s a bargain.


Football and Cyber-Criminals

This might sound odd to compare Football Players to Cyber-Criminals as you would be correct in assuming that they are very different people. In truth they have nothing in common.

Where there is a common element is that there are times where they are both doing something in order to influence a third party to make a decision/s that will benefit them. Lets look at a couple of different examples and the benefits to the influencer.

The primary purpose of the tackle is to dispossess the opponent of the ball, to prevent the opponent from gaining ground or to stop them from carrying out what they intended.

How often do we see a footballer deliberately make a tackle look a lot worse than it really is, a term oft used is to “dive”. The purpose behind this action is to try and influence the referee to award him a penalty (if he has taken a “dive” in the penalty area) or get a free kick and or to get the referee to penalise the offending player further by giving him either a yellow or a red card.

A Cyber-Criminal’s purpose when sending you an email either trying to get you to send him your personal information or pointing you to a false web site with the same goal and that is to try and find ways to obtain as much personal information about you with the intention of  using this information for devious means.

The methods and intentions are different, as are the outcomes and end results are used differently. The Footballer wants to create an unfair advantage in order to score goals and to ultimately win the game. The Cyber-Criminal wants to capture your personal information for illegal means and financial gains.

First IBM PC

1981 - IBM 5150 PC

I recently came across an article that was reflecting on the very first IBM PC and thought that it might be of interest. If IBM had never developed the Personal Computer and we had continued to work with mainframes would we be experiencing the current Phishing and Malware attacks today? We can never answer this question but I am sure that the Cyber – Criminals would still be trying to “steal” our personal information in some form or another.

Here is some text from the original article:

“The system has much to commend it, both for serious and fun applications, since it can grow from a fairly expensive cassette-based configuration to a full-blown twin disk/colour graphics machine that offers the competition a fair run for its money. It almost goes without saying that the computer is well made, keeping up IBM’s legendary reputation for quality.”

IBM kept their plans to launch a personal computer very quiet and swore key people and companies to secrecy. Microsoft were very involved from the very beginning and initially the PC was only sold in the US. At the time IBM were not able to comment on whether or not the PC would be sold in Britain.

IBM also mentioned that “the whole design is very pleasing and all the parts clearly belong together. Everything is designed with a first-time user in mind. IBM has gone overboard to make the system as easy as possible to configure and use.”

The author made some final comments mentioning that this was probably the most professionally put-together system that they had ever seen. the only thing that they felt was missing was a wide selection of packages but they felt that the whole world and it’s grandmother would be frantically trying to fill that gap.

We have certainly come a long way since 1981 what with Smart Phones and Tablets being all the current rage and we are more and more reliant on these products for our day to day lives.