Code Signing Best Practices
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Cyber predators and cybercriminals aren’t like bad guys in movies and cartoons. They don’t go around on the internet with a flashing sign above them announcing, “I’m a creep!” Instead, what they commonly do is use other tactics and methods to hide their true identities and activities from everyone, including their friends and families.
A few examples of the way that cybercriminals hide their true identities include:
Social engineering is a term that describes the methods cybercriminals use to manipulate or trick people into doing something that they normally wouldn’t do. An example of a social engineering attack is when a cybercriminal uses an email or a phone call pretending to be a bank representative to get you to provide account information. For teenagers, an such an attack could be someone pretending to be a college or job recruiter who reaches out to get personal information they can use to commit identity fraud.
Social engineering involves a cybercriminal collecting personal information about their target — say, you or your kid — from social media and other publicly available sources of information. Having this information enables them to seem more legitimate when they reach out to your kids or teens.
Cybercriminals can use this information to tailor their messages in more effective ways to:
Social engineering is a cybercriminal’s superpower. It’s kind of like a form of mind control, in a way. Basically, bad guys can use this “superpower” to trick or manipulate people into doing things they shouldn’t. This can be anything from tricking people into giving them money, sharing their personal information, or even giving them their address, phone number, usernames and passwords!
This attack method is also known as “human hacking” because it involves the psychological manipulation or tricking of people. It’s not “hacking” in the traditional sense of hacking computer systems directly to gain unauthorized access.
Social engineering can occur in many forms:
“The social-engineering techniques work simply because people are
very trusting of anyone who establishes credibility[.]”
But what makes social engineering so devastatingly successful? World famous hacker Kevin Mitnick shares the following in his book Ghost in the Wires: “The social-engineering techniques work simply because people are very trusting of anyone who establishes credibility[.]” This could be everyone from a family member, teacher, or coach for younger kids, or even a potential employer or college/job recruiter for teenagers.
However, the good news is that your kids aren’t helpless. Remind them that they have a superpower of their own: the ability to double-check information. Teach your kids and teens that before interacting with anyone online, they should stop to double-check their digital identity first. Have them ask themselves the following questions: Is the person really who you think they are? They might have your best friend’s profile photo, but anyone can steal that from Facebook or other platforms. Who are they really?
And if there’s someone who reaches out who claims to know a lot about your kid or teen, or the person saying things that make them feel uncomfortable, remind them that they can come to you — or another trusted adult — to share what’s happening.