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Deepfake Videos and Potential Consequences

There is a new trend of videos online that are getting the attention of technology companies and the US government. Deepfake is the name associated with a form of video manipulation where it appears someone is doing or saying something they never actually did or said. The technology is still new, but is evolving quickly.

Hollywood has been able to manipulate video for a long time, think about Forrest Gump shaking hands with JFK in 1994. The difference is this new technology automates the work that used to take thousands of hours for a design team to manipulate frame by frame. This new software learns the face of a person and can superimpose it onto another body while the person is talking or moving. The videos being produced right now still look like they have been manipulated, but the technology is improving quickly. As the technology advances, the software needs less and less reference imagery to learn the face of the person being superimposed.

Google created a database of 3,000 deepfake videos and released them to companies developing software to detect fake videos. There is no detection software on the market at this time. The Pentagon is also doing research to try to stay ahead of this trend. They are creating deepfake videos at the University of Colorado that they can later use to develop technology to detect fakes. There are some telltale signs of a fake video that have not yet been solved. In the fake videos it is common to see pixelating or artifacting where the video has been manipulated. The people in the fake videos do not blink, because the software has not yet been told to make people blink. The biggest red flag is the audio does not match up or sound like the person. This software only deals with the imagery of the video, so in many of them it’s obvious that the audio is not right.

It is widely believed that these issues will be worked out, and criminals will be able to use this format convincingly in the near future. The fear is a convincing video of a politician or world leader could be created to say or do something that other world leaders would react to. The upcoming 2020 US election is also on the top of everyone’s mind as this technology advances quickly.

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Posted by Charles Wright in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Small Business, Virtualization

Security Checklist

Over the last few months, I have shared many tips and suggestions on how to protect the data in your network environment.  This week, I am providing a basic checklist with the minimum items that every organization needs to implement.

To put things in the proper perspective, policies and procedures are the foundation of a successful security program.  The reality is most organizations today are extremely vulnerable and need to start a defensive program immediately vs. taking the time to build strong policies and procedures.  This checklist is not a substitute for a good security program, it is only presented as a starting point.  Once these items have been implemented, you need to proceed with developing your security program.

  • All operating systems need to be patched on a regular basis. This includes items such as routers, firewalls, and anything that has access to or can be accessed from the Internet.
  • All servers and workstations need to have a current anti-virus/malware solution implemented and updated regularly.
  • A business class firewall must be installed and updated regularly. Business class firewalls are not the devices you plug into your network and then to the Internet.  They need to be properly configured to assure maximum benefit.  The features included in a business class firewall are:
    • Antivirus Engine: AV protection at the edge of your network.
    • Intrusion Detection and Intrusion Prevention Services (IDS/IPS)
    • DNS Filtering: The ability to stop users from going to known, bad sites that contain malware or inappropriate material.
    • Application Filtering: Prevent unauthorized applications’ access to the Internet.
    • Network Segmentation: Ability to create multiple internal networks for wireless and wired connections.  Devices connected to your network that do not need access to your internal resources, such as your server, should be on their own network segment.  Examples of networks that should be segmented are: guest wireless access, environmental control systems, such as your heating and air conditioning system, postage meters, etc.
  • Backup Solution: The backup solution should include two key items.  The first is for a quick recovery of data.  The other consideration should be for a catastrophic event, such as your server, or if your facility is no longer available.  Consideration must be given to where your backup data will be stored (on-site/off-site) and how fast you can recover from an event.  Several event scenarios should be considered.
  • Develop a culture of security. Your users need to understand the important role they play in protecting your business’s and your clients’ data.

In the next few blogs to follow, I will be going deeper into building a security program.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Recent Posts

But I’m Too Small?

It is hard to believe, but there is a myth still shared by many small businesses and individuals.  The myth is “I’m too small for anyone to attack my business.”  This myth is far from reality.  A review of the target distribution data provided by hackmageddon.com shows that for 2019, the number one group being attacked is the individual (27%) and the number two group is multiple industries (14.3%), which is the small business group.

31% of all the cyber-attacks are designed for the individual and small business.  There is a logical reason for this.  Big business is taking cybersecurity seriously.  They have made it difficult for the criminals to break into their systems.  Criminals typically don’t want to work hard.  They have developed easily deployable tools to find those organizations that believe they are too small to be attacked (I call them “the low hanging fruit”).  At minimum, even if you don’t think you have anything worth stealing, your data has value to you.  Imagine not being able to access the data on your computer system.  That is the goal of ransomware, which continues to be one of the greatest threats to most organizations.  The reason for the steady increase in ransomware attacks is because it is an extremely successful tool to exploit money from their victims.

Implementing the best security tools won’t guarantee you will not experience some type of a cyber-event, but ignoring the facts and doing nothing, guarantees you are more likely to experience a bad day.

There is a minimum number of things that every business should implement that will minimize the threat of a cyber-attack such as ransomware.  The cost of these security tools has continued to drop and is now affordable for most small and medium sized businesses.  Quanexus has developed our Q-Stack which is a layered security approach to protect against cyber-threats.

Request your free network assessment today. There is no hassle, or obligation.

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Posted by Jack Gerbs in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Physical Security, Recent Posts, Small Business, Wireless

Layered Security with Q-Stack

Our CEO, Jack walks through the layered security steps Quanexus uses to protect your data.

 

Posted by Jack Gerbs in Cybersecurity, Information Security, Physical Security, Recent Posts, Small Business, Wireless