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Press Start Ltd Blog

Press Start Ltd has been serving the East Anglia area since 1996, providing IT Support such as technical helpdesk support, computer support, and consulting to small and medium-sized businesses.

Taking an Exploratory Stab at Spear Phishing

Taking an Exploratory Stab at Spear Phishing

Chances are you’ve heard of “phishing” a cybercriminal’s scam that steals data, access credentials and other sensitive information by fooling a user into thinking they are providing this information to someone who is supposed to have access to it. However, there are a few different kinds of phishing, based on how it is carried out. Here we’ll discuss the realities of spear phishing, and the risks it poses to your business.

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URL Manipulation and What to Do About It

URL Manipulation and What to Do About It

Most people know what a URL is. It’s the address of a website, typically starting with http:// or https://, and it is essentially the location of a web page or application that can be accessed through a web browser or application. Nowadays, URLs are being manipulated by actors for both positive and negative means. Let’s take a look at URL manipulation and how it could affect you.

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Hackers Target Major Sporting Events

Hackers Target Major Sporting Events

There are literally billions of sports fans in the world, and the popularity of these events brings in big money; and big money typically attracts hackers. Using all types of methods, there has been a history of hacking in almost every sport. Today, we take a look at some of the most famous hacks that have shaken up the sports world.

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Artificial Intelligence Can Be Useful To Hackers, Too

Artificial Intelligence Can Be Useful To Hackers, Too

Man matching wits with computer isn’t new territory. In 1830, a locomotive raced a horse to see which was superior in terms of speed and distance. 1956 was the first time a human played chess against a computer. Today, the time has come when an artificial intelligence has begun to break into a new territory that was dominated by humans for thousands of years: crime.

At a recent Technology Expo, a human hacker and a sophisticated computer that is capable of machine learning, each attempted to spear-phish as many victims as possible through Twitter. For two hours, both entities refined their message in an effort to be more effective against the target. At approximately 1.075 tweets per minute, the human was able to make 129 tweets, 49 of which were successful. The computer was able to make 810 tweets in two hours, which is about 6.75 tweets per minute. In that time, 275 victims were converted.

Even though humans had a higher attempt-to-victim percentage, the machine was able to get 5 times as many victims in the same amount of time.

In a Cylance poll held during ConFab, attendees were asked if criminal hackers will use AI for offensive purposes in the coming year, to which 62 percent answered in the affirmative. Even though no one could cite any specific incidents, the overwhelming consensus among experts is that hackers have already begun using AI. Like all high-tech crimes, AI is a global issue that changes fast and often, making it extremely difficult for law enforcement to find and prosecute perpetrators. Even when they’re able to identify offenders, they often run into issues where the laws and statutes are well behind the technology in question.

Another reason that identifying and combatting AI is so difficult is because there are constant debates among experts around the globe on what exactly constitutes as AI. Think about it like this: millions of people consult virtual assistants, like Siri and Alexa, every day. However, if you ask the majority of them if they were using artificial intelligence, they’d say ‘No.’ In reality, they are both examples of AI being put to use to enhance the lives of its users.

There are a lot of potential uses for AI by cyber criminals. For example, hackers could use machine learning capabilities to write programs that personalise emails with malware attachments. As that technology is developed, there will likely be a time when distinguishing actual email and phishing attacks is nearly impossible. Another probable use of machine learning and AI for hacking is drastically reducing the time and resources it takes to find and exploit vulnerabilities in software though automation.

For a small business, AI might may not be something that you need to concern yourself with - and perhaps it isn't, at the moment. However, AI is already being incorporated into many aspects of business with great success and many experts feel it will be very important in the near future. What do you think? Would you be willing to give AI a try? Let us know in the comments!

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Be Wary of Identity Theft this Christmas Season

Be Wary of Identity Theft this Christmas Season

The Christmas Season is a prime opportunity for hackers to steal considerable amounts of money and credentials from unwary shoppers, both online and in-store. When a lot of customers spend so much money, it’s inevitable that some of these credentials will be stolen by hackers seeking to snatch a credit card number or personal data. How can you protect yourself from a threat that’s not necessarily handled directly by you?

Take, for example, the data breach suffered by Target not too long ago. How can users protect themselves when their data is in the hands of a company that doesn’t handle it in the best way? The data breach, which happened around the Christmas Season, created to a large number of victims, all of whom could have experienced considerable risk of identity theft or worse. Imagine if you were one of these victims and you get a call after the Christmas Season that someone has stolen your identity; certainly not the jolliest gift of all.

There are a few ways for you to protect yourself while shopping for gifts for your loved ones. We’ll walk you through some of your options.

Make Sure Encryption is In Use
Before you plug in any information into a payment field, make sure that the website that you’re on is using encryption of some sort. By this, we mean that the data collected by the website or online store is distorted and protected against anyone who might be watching. If a site is equipped with HTTPS technology, hackers won’t be able to steal information, like your credit card information, quite as easily. Even if they do, the data will be so scattered that they will have to work much too hard just to make their efforts worthwhile. Make sure that you’re only shopping from trusted retailers as well, rather than some seedy spots on the Internet that you’ve never heard of.

Just Use Cash
If you don’t want to dangle your credit card information out on a line this Christmas Season, you can just use cash. Just don’t try to carry too much cash on you at any given time. After all, you might be able to dodge some online thieves, but you may not be able to completely mitigate the risks of theft or loss if you decide to carry around a lot of cash.

Use an Online Wallet
Have you ever tried using Apple Pay or Android Pay? You can use this app to act as a middleman for your payments - all you do is add funds to your online wallet, then use the app to make a purchase that’s relatively risk-free. The popularity of smartphones make this option much more appealing than it ever was before, but be sure to do your research to make sure that the retailer you’re shopping at actually accepts these methods of payment.

For more great tips and tricks, subscribe to Press Start’s blog.

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Press Start Ltd launches new website!

Press Start Ltd is proud to announce the launch of our new website at www.pressstart.co.uk. The goal of the new website is to make it easier for our existing clients to submit and manage support requests, and provide more information about our services for prospective clients.

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