As another Halloween approaches, the line between haunted and being hacked grows dimmer every day. As we invite hundreds of connected devices into our homes, it’s likely cyber threats will become even more personal and scarier.
Of course, this was all predictable and predicted.
In a few years there'll be enough computers in your home that getting hacked and being haunted will be functionally indistinguishable.
— TOML Tiger (@moonpolysoft) September 14, 2014
Unlike ghosts, cyber threats definitely exist. Halloween gives us a chance to have some fun with our fears, while being creative. It also just happens to fall in the last hours of Cyber Security Month.
So if you’re sick of the usual witches, ghouls and werewolves, here are some simple cyber threat-inspired Halloween costumes.
Ransomware families have been exploding exponentially over the last half-decade. The way these sorts of malware take hold of your files and demand money to free them makes them particularly eerie. “It’s not significantly more difficult to defend against ransomware than banking trojans from five years ago,” Sean Sullivan, F-Secure Security Advisor told SCMagazine. “It’s just that the stakes feel higher because people having their pockets picked isn’t as dramatic as those being extorted at gunpoint.” Like a lot of malware and vampires, ransomware generally has to be invited into your PC by you clicking the button below.
Costume suggestions: A giant “Enable Content” button to pin on your chest, a set of fangs and blood dripping out your lips.
You can recognize a haunted house by its broken windows and hollowed-out doors. It’s harder to tell if you have a haunted PC, but a lack of updated system and security software is one sign that you’d better beware. Spook your friends and neighbors by dressing as some undead software bound to welcome in the hounds of hell.
Haunted Free Public Wi-Fi
Even before the KRACKAttacks disclosure, “we’ve never considered Wi-Fi to be secure in the first place.” And “free” or public Wi-Fi that isn’t password protected is especially vulnerable. That’s why Mikko Hypponen — our Chief Research Officer –has long pointed out that “Without a VPN, it’s trivial for anyone else using the same wi-fi to see big parts of your traffic.” Still, people are willing to do almost anything to get free Wi-Fi, even give up their first born. Spooky.
Costume suggestions: A “Free Public Wi-Fi” sign worn over dirty clothes with lots of holes. Bonus: Name your network “WannaCry“.
One of the worst things about being online is that as good as your cyber security, your private data depends on the sites and companies you trust. And even if you’re aren’t online, your data still might get compromised thanks to breaches like the one that happened to Equifax. And once your data is out there it can be used to compromise any accounts that use that data. This doesn’t scare you if you ALWAYS use strong passwords and NEVER reuse critical passwords or — even better — you use a password manager. But the average Halloween celebrant may not even know how terrifying you are.
Costume suggestions: Drape yourself in several of these doozies.
[Credit: Password Patterns, Predictability, And Psychology:
What ‘123456’ Says About You, WPengine.com, March 18, 2015]
A Hacked Soul
Increasingly our social media profiles are our identities, especially if we’re searching for a job or a date. Unfortunately these profiles along with the webmail we almost all rely on are relatively easy to hack, especially if you don’t secure them with strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication.
Costume suggestions: This is a chance to get creative. Print out a giant version your Facebook and replace your pics and posts with the kind of horrible, embarrassing things you’d think a hacker with a decent sense of humor might replace them with. Or you could just print out the email below that was used to hack John Podesta.
[Image by greyweed | Flickr]
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