Cyber Security Today: Nov. 30, 2018 — Lots of cyber prosecutions; Dell resets passwords

It’s been a busy week for law enforcement, with three news items about cyber prosections. In addition, Dell had to admit to a security breach.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Friday November 30th. To hear the podcast, click on the arrow below:

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Tired of getting fake pop-up messages warning that your computer is infected with a virus and offering to fix it for a fee? Well, maybe you’ll get fewer of them for a little while. That’s because police in India this week arrested nearly two dozen people there for being part of the scam. The fake messages went to computer users in a number of countries including the United States, the U.K. and Australia.

The FBI and a number of cyber security companies said they have shut down a huge digital ad fraud scheme that infected over 1.7 million computers around the world. The scam generated fake clicks on ads, so criminals could defraud online advertisers of tens of millions of dollars. Eight people from Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine have been accused of being behind the con in a U.S. indictment.

Another U.S. indictment has named two men from Iran as allegedly being behind the creation and distribution of the SamSam ransomware. Over the past couple of years it badly hit the city of Atlanta, a number of U.S. hospitals and the University of Calgary. The university had to pay $20,000 two years ago to get the software keys to unlock its scrambled computers.
So, good news on getting the message out to criminals that police are looking for you.
There are links to more details on these charges on my story for today’s podcast at

Finally, this week’s disclosure by Dell that hackers got some customer information after a security breach is a reminder to listeners to have safe and different passwords for any website you register on. Dell says a hacker may have accessed customer names, email address and passwords – but those passwords were hashed, which means they were encrypted. Assuming Dell used strong encryption, those passwords should be safe. Still, Dell is forcing customers to pick new passwords. The company hasn’t said how its defences were breached. It’s another example of how even the biggest companies can be victims, and why you have to also take precautions with your passwords.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening. I’m Howard Solomon

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
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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