Weekly Tech News Roundup 10/7/2017

What is going on with Medicare? Beds are burning thanks to cellphones. Jaden K Smith is not a hacker.

In this story over at Benaylett.com, we find that an operator on the “Dark Net” is selling information direct from the medicare database.

It was something that people in the infosec business have been warning about for some time now with the revelation that someone has direct and live access to the Medicare system and can pull records from the database with enough information to help conduct identity fraud.

The value of this information is set at around AUD$30 indicating how valuable this information is which is around ten times the value of other compromised data for sale on the dark web. Even though the breach has been passed on to the Federal Police it still drives home how poorly prepared government departments are when it comes to protecting the data they collect on Australia citizens.

With allegations ranging from complacency to outright incompetence being leveled at Medicare, the rhetoric escalated when Alan Tudge MP flagged any criticism leveled against the breach as “Scaremongering from the Labour party”only further highlights the unwillingness to take cybersecurity seriously.

When citizen data is given up and collected without the ability to opt out it is not unreasonable to expect that all information is protected with the best security policies that money can buy.

Charging devices and beds make a bad combination.

In this story from Pop Sugar the issue of people charging phones and tablets in bed has been raised yet again with revelations that 72% of kids and 89% of teenagers have at least one device in or near their beds. Often in situations that could result in the charger, cable or device overheating increasing the risk of fire in the child’s bedroom.

There have been documented cases of fires, scorching of soft furnishings and serious burns prompting calls from fire departments and health experts to evaluate where phones and tables are charged.

My recommendation is to ensure that children are not allowed to charge any devices in the bedroom and all charging equipment is genuine to further avoid the risk of charging equipment causing fires.

There is no facebook hacker called Jayden K Smith.

In the age of heightened cybersecurity awareness we are at risk of over-reacting to hoax messages that cause more problems than they solve.

Your friends mean well to forward this message on…

“Please tell all the contacts in your messenger list not to accept Jayden K. Smith friendship request. He is a hacker and has the system connected to your Facebook account. If one of your contacts accepts it, you will also be hacked, so make sure that all your friends know it. Thanks. Forwarded as received.
Hold your finger down on the message. At the bottom in the middle it will say forward. Hit that then click on the names of those in your list and it will send to them.”

The truth is there is no Jayden K Smith that is a Facebook hacker (and I do not believe that there is a Facebook hacker capable of compromising your account simply by accepting a friend request).

This is an old (and annoying) form of hoax message with other scare campaigns dating back to before 2004. Forwarding on these messages are only assisting the hoax to spread.

If you ever get a message out of the blue asking to be forwarded on to all of your contacts, alarm bells should be ringing. If alarm bells are ringing, you should at least do a little research or ask a knowledgeable computer person or family skeptic before blindly spraying this message out to your contact list.

If you do get a message from a well meaning friend, kindly and gently direct them to hoax-slayer.com or snopes.com so they can learn how to identify the hoax.

You might have not stopped the last message from going out but at least you may have stopped the next one.

For more on the Jayden K Smith hoax, go to this Hoax-Slayer entry.