Author
Stephen Cobb
Stephen Cobb
Senior Security Researcher

Education: CISSP (1996)

Highlights of your career? The Stephen Cobb Guide to PC and LAN Security (1992); The first anti-spam router (2001); Privacy for Business (2002)

Position and history at ESET? Joined ESET: 2011. Current title: Senior Security Researcher

What malware do you hate the most? Reveton.

Favorite activities? Reading and writing, and some arithmetic.

What is your golden rule for cyberspace? Don’t put anything on the Internet you wouldn’t want your mother to see.

When did you get your first computer and what kind was it? 1982 KayPro II portable computer with dual floppy drives, weighing 26 lbs or 12 Kg.

Favorite computer game/activity? Reading Wikipedia.

More Info

Digital photos demand a second look as picture-stealing threat develops

How many image files do you have on your computer? Would you be happy to send them all to a stranger? How about the photos on your smartphone? These are some of the questions I pondered this past weekend in light of several seemingly unrelated events from the previous week. (As a random data point,

Brutalized! South Carolina breach exposes data security woes at State level

Brutalize? Yes, that’s what the Governor of South Carolina wants to do to the person who breached security at the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) and exposed Social Security Numbers and other information pertaining to 3.6 million people, as well as 387,000 credit and debit card records. Speaking to the press on Friday, Gov.

Younger people less secure online than their elders new study suggests

Are younger people less aware of online security risks, or do they simply prefer to take more risks with their personal information? That’s one of the questions raised by the findings of our recent poll of 2,129 U.S. adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive.

How’s your cyber security awareness? Or, do we really need security training?

As you may know, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month in America, which is a good time to ask yourself how aware you are when it comes to threats to your digital devices and personal information.

Study finds 90 percent have no recent cybersecurity training

A new study finds that only 1 in 10 consumers have had any classes or training about protecting their computer and/or their personal information during the last 12 months. Indeed, a shocking 68 percent say they have never had any such training, ever. These and other findings, first revealed by ESET at the Virus Bulletin

Huawei? The how, what, and why of telecom supply chain threats

You spell it Huawei and say it wah-way and it’s all over the news. But what does it mean for the security of your data when, as the Wall Street Journal put it, “A U.S. Congressional report has labeled Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies a national security threat”? As we will see, the implications for

FTC cracks down on tech support scams and feds nail fake AV perps

The federal government took much needed action today against sleazy PC tech support scammers and fake AV peddlers. Actions include lawsuits, a judgment of $163 million, and freezing of multiple assets. PC tech support scammers will be familiar to regular readers of this blog because David Harley and others have charted the progress of this

Confusion Abounds in Apple-FBI-AntiSec-iOS-UDID-PII Breach

If I sound confused it’s because I just saw my wife’s iPhone and iPad in a very strange place: a million line spreadsheet of iOS device data that includes the unique identifiers of her devices and the names she had given them, published by a group of hackers who call themselves AntiSec. This group claims

Java zero day = time to disable Java, in your browser at least

Now is the time to disable Java in your web browser, or even remove it from your system if that is practical. Why? The bad guys are hard at work trying to exploit a zero day vulnerability in the latest version of Java (version 1.7, Update 6.). This vulnerability is the subject of a US-CERT

FBI Ransomware: Reveton seeks MoneyPak payment in the name of the law

A crime wave of malware that demands money from victims to avoid prosecution by the FBI has been alarming web surfers across America. Victims suddenly find their computer frozen, and an official-looking  page, like the one shown below, is displayed in their web browser. The FBI and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) have received

Authentication attacks: Apple, Amazon, iCloud, Google, anything with a password

Sharing details of the hack that “wiped his life” has earned Mat Honan a place in the annals of information system security; the specific inter-dependence of flawed authentication systems that cost him so dearly–encompassing Apple, iCloud, Amazon.com, Gmail and more–would probably still exist if Mat had not gone public. Wired has the full story here

Password Party Weekend? Millions exposed now include Phandroid, Nvidia, me

Changing the passwords on your online accounts might not sound like a fun weekend activity, but that’s what I did last weekend. Why? Because on Sunday I found out that one of my email addresses was in the list of Yahoo! logins whose passwords were exposed by sloppy handling of a credential file (an incident

Instagram vulnerability can allow strangers access to your photos and more

Are you one of the 50 million users of Instagram, the photo-sharing service bought by Facebook in April for $1 billion? If so you need to look out for an Instagram update to fix a vulnerability that has just been published by Spanish security researcher Sebastián Guerrero. This vulnerability, which Guerrero has dubbed the "Friendship

Cybercrime and the small business: Basic defensive measures

Evidence that criminals are targeting the computer systems of small businesses continues to mount. The Wall Street Journal recently drew attention to the way cybercriminals are sniffing out vulnerable firms. The article highlighted the fact that about 72% of the 855 data breaches world-wide last year that were analyzed in Verizon's Data Breach Investigation Report

Back to school scams? They may be just around the corner

Just as I was putting the finishing touches on a blog post about the need to keep your data and devices safe on summer travels, I got an email from Apple letting me know that now was a great time to buy a Mac for college. I don't plan to go back to college at

Data security and digital privacy on the road, what travelers should know

Summer is here and for many families that means travels plans, but do your summer travel plans include taking care of your data and digital devices? Which digital devices do you plan to take on your trip and what sort of data do they contain? Perhaps more importantly: What kind of data can they access?

The negative impact on GDP of state-sponsored malware like Stuxnet and Flame

The slow drip of revelations about Flame have kept this piece of malware in the news for more than two weeks so it is worth reminding people that most antivirus programs now protect against Flame (ESET products detect it as Win32/Flamer.A). The coverage of Flame was boosted last week by a conveniently-timed assist from leaks

Stuxnet, Flamer, Flame, Whatever Name: There's just no good malware

A week ago the big malware news was the code known as Flame, Flamer, or sKyWIper (detected by ESET as Win32/Flamer.A), then on June 1, this news broke: "A damaging cyberattack against Iran’s nuclear program was the work of U.S. and Israeli experts and proceeded under the secret orders of President Obama." (Washington Post)  Clearly,

Malware RATs can steal your data and your money, your privacy too

How serious can a malicious software infection be these days? Short answer = Very. The video below is a 16 minute answer to that question using pictures of what a malware infection looks like to the bad guy who manages to get a RAT installed on a victim machine. That’s R.A.T. for Remote Access Tool

How to stop Twitter tracking you and keep private the websites you visit

Like Facebook, Twitter wants to know which websites you visit and so it has a system for tracking you as you click from site to site, a fact that leads to a pair of interesting questions: “Did you know that?” and “Are you okay with that?” As we will see in a moment, this system

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