Boyce, VA 22620

My Cat is a Hacker.

My Cat is a Hacker.

Yep, you read it right.

My cat is a hacker.

Well kinda. He is more like of a social engineering con man, which in the tech world would be also known as Human Hacking.

I will tell you the story in a minute but first lets discover what social engineering is. Basically it is using knowledge that is freely available and compiling it into a profile that accurately describes a person and the life they lead. You know, all that info on social media like where you check in when you are having a nice dinner with your significant other for you anniversary, what meals you really love and take pictures of, the ding in the bumper of your car and maybe even your kids teacher at their new school. Places, Names, Dates, likes, dislikes…. you get it.

All that information no matter how sparse or insignificant it may seem can be correlated to give a pretty well defined picture of you and your family’s life. These are the reasons why i have warned about being careless when using social media. So basically it is using information that has been compiled to create a situation intended to make a person do or say something they normally would not do or say.

Back to the cat.

Jasper, our oldest cat is about 17 years old. He is a really laid back cat and always has been. He has never bitten or even scratched as far as I know. He does not hiss or swat at the other cats. But there is no doubt he is the KING!

A few years ago a little calico joined our family and nominated herself as the Queen and Monarch. She does not tolerate any fights between any of the other cats and will chase the one that started it out of the house. They do not resist.

Anyway the other night Nessa and I were on the couches watching a bit of TV. Cali was curled up to my wife and Jasper was curled in behind her knees. Jasper got up and went to do his business and upon his return, he stopped in front of the couch I was on, looked up and gave his little meow and stood there. This drew my attention and I shuffled a bit and said to him “Well hi Jaspy, do you wanna come up?” as I patted the couch.

This activity did not go unnoticed by Cali, She quickly perked up, jumped down from the couch with my wife, scurried over and jumped up onto the couch I was on,cutting Jasper off in the process. She was then purring, kneading and giving head butts to get attention and scratches from me.

Jasper: >> Checkmate!

Without missing a beat Jasper calmly turned and walked over to Nessa’s couch and crawled up to snuggle with her taking Cali’s pre-warmed spot. It was a flawless execution of cat-hacking a.k.a. social engineering. Jasper used what is known in the Cybersecurity community as FOMO. It stands for ‘Fear Of Missing Out’ and it can work magic on humans and, as you just learned, on animals as well.

We have all been victimized by FOMO. Maybe not by a cyber criminal but certainly by advertisers. The sale that will only last till midnight. Limited Quantity. Price increases in 2 hours. One time offer, you can get 10 xtra bottles for 80% off. There are plenty more bu you get the idea.

FUD is also a psychological tool that hackers use. It stands for ‘Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt’. This tactic will usually be accompanied by a need of urgency. It takes advantage of the human instinct to be as helpful as possible which is amplified in emergency situations. It might go something like this:

The CMO is on a business trip. The secretary gets a phone call late in the day just before quitting time. The CMO, Chief Marketing Officer, calls stating that he cant get into his account. he forgot his password. He is in the middle of a presentation and desperately needs to get into the system. He tells the secretary just to give him her login info and that way she can go home and he will get everything straightened out first thing n the morning. She us uneasy but gives in and provides the CMO with her login credentials. The thing is it was not the CMO. It was a criminal who now has access to the network where he can install malware, ransomware, a trojan horse, create secret unauthorized user accounts or any number of other nefarious acts to include stealing files.

An attack like this can go unnoticed for a long time with criminals using your systems for anything they want. If they use your systems for distribution of pornography or malware it is your company that gets blamed and your good name that will pay both monetarily via civil law suits and criminal charges and what can be even more damaging your reputation will be dragged through the mud. You will likely lose customers, vendors and often other businesses will no longer risk being associated with your company.

The FUD principle is the technique that Cali-cat uses.

Regardless, she got played by Jasper the other night.

Have your employees and family members fallen victim to these tactics. It can often take weeks or even months to discover that your systems have been compromised. The only way to know for sure is to have a complete assessment of your systems and a comprehensive scan for stolen credentials that are available for sale on the internet.

If you want to make sure that your systems are secure reach out to us so we can figure out how to best secure your systems. It is simple and painless and best of all it is FREE. Just click the button below and schedule a time to talk.

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