Cyber Week in Review: Girl Scouts, Anti-Hacking Key, & Cell Phone Hacking

Media Division | July 21, 2017

Each week we bring you some of the top stories in the cyberverse…that is at least the ones that have to do with cyber security. There are seemingly infinite numbers of news sources available for the mainstream headlines, and too few about the underbelly of cyber crime, which weaves throughout all of our lives and affects everything we do.

But that brings us to the theme this week: the shortage of cyber security solutions readily available, some pending solutions and the ubiquity of attacks—even, it would seem, in the palm of your hand.

Here is this week’s cyber week in review.

The Girls Scouts are Coming

Usually, when the Girl Scouts knock on your door it’s to sell you boxes of those delicious cookies (who can say “no” to Thin Mints!?). But soon some of those very same Girl Scouts may help you lock the door…the doorways to breach your company.

Girl Scouts of the USA will soon release cyber security badges.  The announcement on their webpage explains, “Scout badges are insignia Girl Scouts earn and display on their uniforms to demonstrate their mastery of a given topic. Led by a panel of expert cyber security advisers, GSUSA and Palo Alto Networks expect to roll out the first in a series of 18 Cybersecurity badges to Girl Scouts throughout the United States in September 2018.”

This plan is brilliant on so many levels:

  • There is a worldwide deficit of cyber security professionals, expected to reach 3.5 million by 2021.
  • Experts have been lamenting and the US federal government have been subsidizing cyber security education. (Think: possibly free college for Girl Scout badge holders.)
  • Women are sorely underrepresented in tech, holding just 11% of cyber security jobs globally.
  • Girls Scouts help fill the void!

Leave it to scouts to be prepared for the future!

Your Personalized Key

Here’s where the past meets the future: what if you could unlock your email with a physical key? That would certainly make it tougher for someone to remotely hack, they wouldn’t have your key! Well, if you haven’t already heard of such a thing, it’s called “Universal 2nd Factor” (U2F) and it already exists through devices like the Yubikey.

2-factor authorization (which you should definitely enable if you have not already) is where you must enter a code in addition to your password when logging in on a new device. It can be a code sent to your phone or single-use codes you print out. Unfortunately, if your phone has been compromised, that code could also be hacked.

A U2F device plugs into your USB port and sends a unique code verifying your identity. Google, Facebook, and others already accept it. Soon we may be using skeleton keys and analog phones unless the Girl Scouts help us.

Cell Phone Scams

Another form of cyber attack on the rise is called SMSshing (pronounced “smishing”). Think SMS text + phishing, which means phishing scams sent to your phone in the form of fake alerts from your banks or requests from a store. Usually, the message includes a link, which will prompt you to enter information like passwords.

Do not click the link! Not in suspicious emails. Not in suspicious texts. Not ever. Just go ahead and be suspicious. When it comes to protecting your data from these ubiquitous attacks and a growing number of copycats, better safe than sorry. If you are not sure if a text is fake… soon you’ll be able to ask a Girl Scout to help you.

Until next week, enjoy the headlines…but stay out of them!

Massive's Media Division publishes timely news and insights based on current events, trends, and actionable cross-industry expertise.