June 8, 2023
Email Account Signups for Criminals, Security Risk in Hacking Solar Panels, Spotting Deepfakes
In this Episode:
Email Account Signups for Criminals As A Service
RDI – the Dutch Cyber Watchdog Sees Major Security Risk in Hacking Solar Panels
This Day in Tech History
Hey, it’s 5:05 on Thursday, June 8th, 2023. From the Sourced Podcast Network in New York City, this is your host, Pokie Huang. Stories in today’s episode come from Edwin Kwon in Sydney, Australia, Olimpiu Pop in Transylvania, Romania, Katy Craig in San Diego, California, Marcel Brown in St. Louis, Missouri.
Let’s get to it.
This is Edwin Kwan from Sydney, Australia.
Creating large numbers of throwaway email accounts is a time consuming and expensive aspect of a cyber criminal operation. A new service has arrived to dramatically help cut costs associated with large spam and account creation campaigns.
They do this by paying people to sell their email account credentials and letting their customers temporarily rent access to it. The service is called Kopeechka, which means Penny in Russian.
However, don’t be fooled by the name. Their service only charges a fraction of a penny per account. Their customers don’t get full access to the email inboxers that they are renting. Instead, they need to configure their botnet or spam machine to use their API service.
The API service will provide the working email address and access to the email contents will be done via their account panel. This allows the service to rent the emails to multiple customers. For those who decide to rent their emails to the service, you’ll receive a percentage of the sales.
It’s unsure how much money one will make renting your email account unless of course you run a botnet and have access to a large number of email credentials.
Half of a century in the Soviet sphere of influence helped Romanians to see the good parts even in the darkest night. Well, they don’t see the worst, that is. The Russian invasion of Ukraine accelerated two sectors that were long in need of accelerations in the EU: green energy and cybersecurity awareness.
But do they have an intersection point? RDI, the Dutch Authority for digital infrastructure. warn that solar panels are vulnerable to hackers who could use them to steal personal information or launch denial of service attacks.
How high is the risk you wonder? Nine types of inverters from eight manufacturers were tested. None got the passing grade. Five had the potential to cause destruction to the electricity network. Yeah, that’s right. They can leave you in darkness.
John Dirkson, the RDI head of equipment, said solar panel systems were too easy to hack via an internet connection and urge manufacturers to improve their security. According to him, “Even aviation and shipping industries can experience destruction because of this.” He considers this a wake up call for the industry. We need to comply with the RDI cybersecurity standards from August, 2024.
Why the fuss now? The number of solar panels in Netherlands alone grew from 1.8 million in 2015 to 16.3 million in 2021. In Romania, there are estimates that by the end of this year, we will reach 30,000 houses equipped with solar panels, growing from 300 in 2019.
Another reason is that our Russian comrades seem to use any means necessary to attack Ukraine and anybody trying to be friendly with them. As they call it, they tried to bring cyber terrorism to a new high. As my wife applied for a grant for solar panels yesterday, I’ll make sure we ask all the right questions before plugging them in.
This was Olimpiu Pop reporting from Transylvania, Romania. For the full transcript and resources, head out to 505updates.com.
Today we’re diving into the world of deepfakes and generative AI, and let me tell you, things are getting real tricky.
This is Katy Craig in San Diego, California.
According to a survey by Jumio, over half of people aware of generative AI and deepfakes thought they could spot them in videos. Wait, says Jumio, we’re way off. These deepfakes have become so sophisticated that even Sherlock Holmes would have a hard time detecting them.
When Jumio asked folks about the dangers of AI-enabled identity theft, more than half of them believed it would make identity theft easier, and they’re not wrong. Jumio recommends businesses step up their game and educate customers about the reality of deepFakes. It’s time to invest in biometric based verification systems to validate we are who we say we are.
The good news, people are actually willing to spend extra time on identity verification. If it means better security, financial services, healthcare, government services, travel, hospitality, and social media, all got the green light for some extra verification.
As far as unmasking those pesky deepfake images, Twitter launched its birdwatch program, a crowdsourced fact checking initiative to keep those fakes in check. Twitter knows it’s a work in progress, but they’re ready to tackle the challenge. They’ll be listening to feedback and fine tuning the system to make sure we’re all getting the facts straight.
The world of deepfakes is like a never ending rollercoaster ride. But with the right security measures and some fact checking superheroes, we can keep them under control.
This is Katy Craig. Stay safe out there.
This is Marcel Brown, the most trusted name in technology, bringing you some technology history for June 8th.
June 8th, 1978. Intel introduces the 16 bit 8086 processor with clock speeds of 10, 8, and 5 megahertz. The 8086 would become the basis for the series of processors used in IBM compatible PCs and the X 86 family later marketed under the name Pentium, that would dominate the market in the PC era. Ironically, however, it was the modified eight bit 8088 processor that was used in the original I IBM PC, primarily due to factors that would reduce overall cost. The current line of Intel core processors are still based on the same architecture that was introduced with the 8086.
June 8th, 2009. At their Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco. Apple announced their next Mac operating system, Mac OS 10, 10.6, known as Snow Leopard. Snow Leopard, the follow up to Mac OS 10, 10.5 Leopard was, as the name somewhat insinuated, more of an update to the previous OS than a full-blown feature upgrade.
Indeed, many of the features in Snow Leopard were performance updates and optimizations for 64 bit and multi-core processors. It was also the first Mac OS to drop support for the Power PC processor line, focusing only on the Intel processor, which Apple had switched to for their Macintosh computers in 2006.
Additionally, the footprint of the OS was actually smaller, which would save disc space for users of Snow Leopard when it was released in September of that year.
That’s your technology history today. For more, tune in tomorrow and visit my website ThisDayInTechHistory.com.
That’s it for today’s open source and cybersecurity updates. For direct links to all stories and resources mentioned in today’s episode, go to 505Updates.com, where you can listen to our growing library of over 100 episodes. You can also download the transcript of all episodes for easy reference.
5:05 is a Sourced Networks Production with updates available Monday through Friday on your favorite audio streaming platform. Just search for “It’s 5:05!”. And please consider subscribing while you’re there.
Thank you to Edwin Kwan, Olimpiu Pop, Katy Craig, Marcel Brown for today’s contributions.
The Executive Producer and the editor is Mark Miller. The sound engineer is Pokie Huang. Music for today’s episode is by Blue Dot Sessions. We use Descript for spoken text editing and Audacity to layer in the soundscapes. The show distribution platform is provided by Captivate.fm. This is Pokie Huang. See you tomorrow… at 5:05.