DarkCyber for May 14, Now Available

May 15, 2019

DarkCyber for May 14, 2019, is now available at www.arnoldit.com/wordpress and on Vimeo at https://www.vimeo.com/335676549

The program is a production of Stephen E Arnold. It is the only weekly video news shows focusing on the Dark Web, cybercrime, and lesser known Internet services.

This week’s story line up includes: Free penetration software; how emojis puzzle police and parents; a major Dark Web drug market take down; two chilling cyber threat reports; how to learn what is censored online; and a drug dealer’s surprising security system.

This week’s feature examines the use of emojis (graphic cartoons) to communicate secret messages. With the shift to mobile devices for communicating via text messages, colorful icons are used instead of words. A smiley face signals happiness. A thumbs up conveys agreement. But what does a snowflake mean? What does a filling station pump nozzle convey. For those with inside knowledge, both emojis relate to drugs; for example, the snowflake is a visual signal for cocaine. When bad actors or children want to conceal information, emojis are easily available and often not understood by law enforcement, attorneys, or individuals more accustomed to text. DarkCyber provides information about how to get up-to-date information about these ubiquitous icons. Stephen E Arnold, producer of DarkCyber and author of “The Dark Web Notebook,” said: “Individuals with a desire to hide information can use emojis to create encoded messages. These are often meaningless or nonsense to someone unfamiliar with the hidden meanings assigned to colorful icons. Most text processing systems do not handle these types of ideographs in an effective manner. Emojis pose a new challenge to those involved in investigations or trying to figure out what their teenagers are planning for the weekend.”

The May 14, 2019, program also reports on:

First, FireEye, a cyber security firm, has compiled a collection of more than 120 penetration testing software tools. “Pentest” programs make it possible for investigators to perform certain types of actions in order to obtain access to otherwise secure information. The software is also used to verify the security of an organization’s computing infrastructure. DarkCyber explains how to obtain this collection of high-value software for free.

Second, a major Dark Web drug market was taken down by German police. The system sold a wide range of narcotics and allegedly served more than one million customers. Details about the operation are sparse. The operators of the site posted a notice that the site was down for maintenance. Less than 72 hours after the notice appeared, law enforcement seized the site. Online discussion forums suggested that the owners of the site planned an exit scam in order to steal customers’ money.

Third, two new and somewhat chilling reports about cyber crime have been published. One report originates in England, authored by Darktrace. The other report was written by experts at Neustar Security in Sterling, Virginia. Both reports make clear that online cyber operations are depending on email messages. The use of mass emails and targeted messages are slipping through individual and organizational security mechanisms. In short, email is now a go-to vector for a cyber attack. DarkCyber reveals how to obtain both reports without charge.

Fourth, censorship is increasing, How does an individual keep track of what is online and what is being blocked by different countries. DarkCyber reports that the Web site Netblocks.org provides a convenient way to track current developments in online censorship.

The final story in this week’s DarkCyber provides detail about one drug dealer’s security system. The criminal used a parrot to alert those in the compound when police approached. DarkCyber explains that selecting a parrot may not have been the optimal choice for high-reliability alerts.

Kenny Toth, May 15, 2019

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