A nightmare is usually defined as,” a frightening or unpleasant dream”, and while we tell children that there are no such things as ghosts or bogeymen, there are real cyber nightmares that have happened and could happen. Some of the most significant events in recent years that have caused many people to cower in fear are discussed below.
If there is one thing that has been in the news for literally years now, is that the 2020 US election was a major target for foreign entities across the globe. Casting doubt on the validity of the election was intended to sow dissent and cause chaos-it has succeeded. Allegations of missing votes, improper counting of ballots, miscounting, or even stealing and destroying votes have all been put forth as reality by several groups. Using social media platforms, these agents caused immeasurable damage and chaos amongst US citizens.
Microsoft detected cyberattacks targeting people and organizations in the presidential election predominantly from groups operating in Russia, China, and Iran -although accurate attribution is a very difficult thing to prove with 100% accuracy. Both candidates’ campaigns were targeted, including social engineering/Phishing attacks on campaign staff, vendors, and consultants.
Vulnerable Children’s Devices
As a parent, we worry about our children and go to great lengths to protect them. Sometimes the tools we use to protect them make them even more vulnerable. Researchers at the Münster University of Applied Sciences in Germany found vulnerabilities in several different children’s smartwatches, allowing for the tracking, listening to voice messages, and reading text messages. These weaknesses could allow for exploitation of the communication channels to such an extent, that a malicious individual could send voice and text messages purported to be coming from parents. The potential for abuse is beyond scary, and despite responsible disclosure, some of the manufacturers have still not addressed all the concerns.
Do you have a cellular phone? Of course, you do. You may even be reading this on your phone now. Phones have become ubiquitous around the world, and nearly every phone has the ability to connect to other devices (headphones, speakers, etc.) through a wireless technology commonly called “Bluetooth”. Bluetooth is generally limited to a range of fewer than 10 meters or 30 feet, but for most users, this is plenty of range. For example, you wear headphones on your head, and your phone is in your pocket. Bluetooth is extremely popular and has been a target for abuse for many years.
In September of 2009, the Bluetooth SIG organization announced a vulnerability that could affect hundreds of millions of devices around the globe. The flaw could allow an attacker to connect to a device without any authentication. While you may not care if some criminal listens to your favorite Swedish Death-Metal band, this vulnerability could allow someone to access data on your cell phone. Most people have a lot of information and personal items on their phones, including passwords and photographs of family and friends – some of which you may not want to be published on the internet. Additionally, many laptops have a Bluetooth device that you may or not even be aware of.
Technology and the tools we use can be an incredible thing, bringing music, information, and instant communication to our lives. But that same technology can also expose us to more risks, dangers, and cause nightmares for people around the world.
For more information on these nightmares: