Social Media and Biometrics Make Undercover Work Impossible

Social media has been on the rise for years and is now a staple of most people’s daily internet usage. Since pretty much everyone now-a-days uses social media for connecting with people and sharing photos – odds are good that there are multiple photos floating around of almost everyone on the internet whether that person uploaded them there or someone else did.

Now, social media coupled with biometrics could spell trouble for undercover police activities. For people whose livelihood truly depends on their anonymity social media and biometrics are making undercover operations no longer an option.


There are plenty of apps on the market that use biometrics to easily identify people based on their internet photos. Anyone can easily and cheaply pick up rudimentary biometric software for their computers and particularly for their smartphones. Police use these apps regularly to ID people on the street and mine social media for clues and help find suspects. The social media sites themselves use these apps to help you “tag” people in photos you upload. So if law enforcement is using these apps, doesn’t it make sense that criminals are too?

~TeCHS

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Cellebrite, the Smartphone Data Grabber

A new device on the market has been causing quite a bit of commotion. It’s called Cellebrite Cell Phone Extraction Device (UFED) and it is a rugged hand-held device that is used to grab information from cell phones and GPS devices. The manufacturer’s web site touts the Cellebrite as a solution for cell phone repair centers to be able to transfer a customer’s cellular data from their broken phone to a new phone.

You would be surprised at how much data a smartphone really stores and exactly what can be accessed with a device like Cellebrite. The news has been talking quite a bit about this device since it recently surfaced that Michigan State Police have been using the tool to access cell phones during traffic stops. Hopefully devices like this will stay in the hands of trustworthy people and only be used with the consent of the phone owner.

~TeCHS

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Cool New Tech : The M-DISC

CDs and DVDs are vulnerable to damage from environmental exposure and from normal use. Their lifespan is actually only about 10 years, even though most people tend to believe that they will last forever. A new type of disc has recently been released that can be read on with a standard DVD player but will store the data contained on the disc for about 1,000 years!

The new disc is being called the M-DISC and is created out of thin layers of a rock-like material composed of inorganic and organic metal and stone compounds. The M-DISC has been thoroughly tested in a number of extreme environments and still performed like it was brand new; even after being dipped in liquid nitrogen and then transferred to a container of boiling water.

These cool new discs are on sale now. Check them out!

~TeCHS

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High-Tech Fraud : Phishing

The systems that give everyone access to a wealth of easily accessible information and commerce also gives tech-savvy criminals an almost endless supply of people to victimize. Police department just cannot keep up with the amount of cyber crime and identity theft going on in the world today. Cybercrime has become an even more profitable industry than drug trafficking and it is incredibly difficult to nail down and prosecute the perpetrators.

It is a constant challenge to law enforcement to keep their tools and technology up to date to try to catch these criminals or attempt to stay ahead of them. If they can catch the people committing the crimes, it is often way too expensive to prosecute them. Say the thief stole $1,000 using a stolen credit card number; it will cost taxpayers around $15,000 to properly investigate and prosecute the criminal. In most of these cases the victim is reimbursed by the issuing bank and the case is basically closed.
One of the most common forms of high-tech fraud today is known as “phishing,” where a criminal sends a fraudulent email which coerces the victim into giving up their personal or financial information over bogus web sites that mimic popular bank or online commerce sites. Some of today’s phishing schemes are so convincing that they can even fool the people who are the most vigilant. Tricking someone into logging into what they believe is their eBay account or PayPal or their bank – saying their account is suspended or something of that nature.

Most of these criminals and this type of victimization can be totally avoided if people would just be a bit more diligent. Take a look at your credit score every so often, shred all sensitive documents that you no longer need, secure your home mailbox with a lock and key, don’t click on links in questionable emails, and other easy steps of this nature. These days it can really pay for people to be just a bit more paranoid.

~TeCHS

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More On Cybercrime Techniques

Common Cybercrime Techniques

1.) Phishing e-mails mimicking online businesses or banks in an attempt to fool people into freely giving out confidential personal and financial information. URL Obfuscation is the part of the phishing scam that really plays on human error and our brain’s ability to “fill in the gaps” automatically by sending a victim to a fraudulent web site address that looks almost exactly like a real address (i.e. www.pay-pal.com versus www.paypal.com).

2.) Pharming is another form of phishing that “poisons” a person’s computer’s DNS cache and redirects visitors from a real web site to a bogus mirror site. Every web site has its own internet address and the Domain Name System (DNS) translates the IP address into the host name. A DNS cache poisoning changes the entries in the computer so when the legitimate site is typed in, the victim is sent to a fraudulent web page instead.

3.) Trojan Horses are malicious software files that infiltrate your PC by hiding in seemingly innocuous files. Some Trojans, called “keystroke loggers,” record every one of a person’s keystrokes and send that information back to the attacker.

4.) Zombie Computers and Man-In-The-Middle Attacks are part Trojan and the malicious software that is installed on the victim’s computer allows that person’s PC to be controlled remotely by their attacker without their knowledge. The Man-In-The-Middle attack is frequently partnered with an “Evil Twin” which is a fake wireless internet hot spot connection that looks almost like a legitimate service. When the victim attempts to connect, the criminal launches a transaction to get the victim’s credit card information in the form of a standard pay-for-access deal to use the wireless internet.

~ TeCHS

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Safeguarding Yourself From Cybercrime Don’t become a victim!

What You Can Do To Safeguard Your Information:

1.) Keep your computer’s spyware and antivirus software up to date and scan your computer regularly.

2.) Make sure you have firewalls up and running at all times. Whether it’s the built-in Windows firewall, your router’s firewall or a 3rd party firewall software; or all of them in combination if you really want to make sure they are working.

3.) Always be wary of emails asking for your personal or financial information. Don’t click on links or open emails that seem suspicious to you at all. Even one simple click can open your computer up to a criminal – installing malicious software and stealing your information.

4.) Keep an eye on your assets and your credit and check on everything on a regular basis. Make sure to report any odd or suspicious activity immediately.

5.) Always shred documents you do not need, don’t just throw them in the trash. Criminals do sift through your trash looking for pertinent documents.

If Your ID Is Stolen:

Immediately file a fraud alert on your credit report by calling Equifax (888-766-0008), TransUnion (800-680-7289) or Experian (888-397-3742). After you have filed your report, call the issuers of any credit cards that may have been affected.

~TeCHS

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