Cyber Security Today – Don’t believe everything online, another open database of personal information and cheating on exams

Don’t believe everything online, another open database of personal information and cheating on exams.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Monday September 16, I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for
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With federal elections scheduled for this October in Canada and November 2020 in the United States, some people are worried about the social being abused by domestic and foreign threat actors spreading fake news. There’s something you can do about it, a tech expert told a Canadian audience on Friday: Be skeptical of everything you see online. That was the advice from Shuman Ghosemajumder, chief technology officer for Shape Security. You should think about where your news comes from, and who sends you tweets and links. In an interview with me he said thanks to fake videos soon people may not be able to trust their eyes on what they see on the Internet. So it’s important people confirm that information comes from legitimate sources, like mainstream media. We can’t rely on artificial intelligence alone to spot fakes. You can read more about the panel he spoke on and my interview here. 

Have you ever used a web site to buy or sell a vehicle in the U.S.? Your name and email address may be among the database of 198 million records that were left open on the Internet by a site called Dealer Leads. The database was discovered by a researcher at a firm called Security Discovery over the summer, but it’s taken until now to figure out who the owner is. Dealer Leads runs a number of car-related web sites, including classified ads sites for buying and selling vehicles, that uses data from visitors and subscribers to create sales leads for car dealerships. It isn’t known how long the database was open before Dealer Leads sealed access. Information like names and email addresses are used by scammers to deliver malicious email.

Police in France have arrested a 20-year-old man for trying to blackmail thousands of people around the world with sextortion emails over the past few months. According to the ZDNet news service the suspect sent out massive spam campaigns to people with claims the sender had sensitive images of then engaging in various sexual acts. He demanded about $550 or the images would be released publicly. The suspect appears to have tricked at least 50 people who paid a total of $22,000. Usually these threats are phony and the attacker has no images. Separately it was reported that people in Ireland are seeing a wave of sextortion email.

Some education boards forbid students from wearing smartwatches when taking exams in school for fear they could be used to look up answers. However, what does a smartwatch look like? The solution, says the head of a U.K. investigation to exam cheating, is to ban all watches during tests. The BBC says the final report found the most common form of cheating us using a mobile phone. Perhaps a bigger problem is people pretending actually leaking exam questions online. That’s what led to the investigation. Overall, however, the report found exam cheating in the U.K. is rare.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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