Top Cyber Forensics Courses in India – Prospects of a Career in Cyber Forensics

The ever-increasing frequency of conducting most personal and professional activities online has resulted in a boom in cyber crimes. The use of computers and/or mobiles are must in executing computer-based crimes or cyber crimes. Thus, the need for cyber and digital forensics experts are on the rise. Explore the prospects of a career in Cyber Forensics in this blog.

Online credit/debit card frauds, email scamsmobile-based frauds, ransomware attacks, software piracy, and identity thefts have become an everyday occurrence.

Indians are quite vulnerable to cyber crimes such as online scams, phishing (fraudulent web links, emails), ransomware, network attacks, Nigerian Scams and online matrimonial frauds. Thus, jobs in cyber forensics are blooming. The need for cyber forensics and cyber security experts is at the highest ever!

Some Nerve-Racking Facts

According to a survey by Symantec, India ranks 3rd among nations facing the maximum cyber threats.

The same survey shows that India ranks 2nd in the world in terms of targeted cyber attacks!

In fact, ever since the cryptocurrency fever has gripped the nation, a new form of cyber crime has come into the picture.

Did you know that for crypto mining activities, India ranks 2nd in the Asia-Pacific Japan (APJ) region and 9th globally?

Cryptominers steal power usage for computer processing from enterprises and consumers to mine cryptocurrencies. This new form of cyber crime involving cryptocurrencies can slow down devices, overheat batteries and in rare cases, render devices inoperative.

Now you know why jobs in cyber forensics are witnessing an upsurge!

What is Cyber Forensics?

Cyber Forensics, also known as computer forensics, plays a crucial role in the investigation of cyber offenses and online frauds. It involves the extraction and analysis of digital evidence such as an electronic document, computer, laptop, and storage mediums such as USB drives, hard disks etc.

Cyber Forensics is one of the branches of Digital Forensics that deals with the extraction, preservation, and inspection of any such device that has a storage memory and basic computing power. Cyber Forensics experts are proficient in the extraction of existing or deleted information from a storage or computing device for conducting investigations.

The Scope of Cyber Forensics Courses in India

As already stated above, cyber forensics courses in India are gaining increasing popularity among students. This is due to the rapid rise in incidents of online and mobile phone frauds. The following prime objectives form the basis of cyber forensics courses in India:

• Knowledge of the approach and methods of cyber crime investigations

• Understanding the defensive measures of damage control in response to cyber attacks

• Knowledge of the proactive methods of avoiding cyber crimes

• Recognizing the clues to identify and prevent potential cyber attacks

• Learning the various types of risks involved in computerized and networking operations

Who is Eligible for Cyber Forensics Courses in India?

Cyber Forensics or Computer Forensics is the application of Computer Science for assisting in the legal and criminal justice system. A graduate in Computer Science, Information Technology or Computer Applications is most eligible for Cyber Forensics courses in India. A Cyber Forensics professional needs to pursue a post-graduation in Cyber Forensics or a certification in Information or Cyber Security.

Topics Covered in a Typical Cyber Forensics Course

The following section shall provide you an in-depth insight into the topics that are usually taught to budding cyber forensics experts during their training in Cyber Forensics, Cyber Crimes, Cyber Security & Cyber Law.

Basics of Cyber Forensics: An Introduction to Computer History and Computers, Windows & DOS Prompt Commands, Computer Input-Output Devices, Software & Hardware Classification, Basics of Computer Terminology, Computer Storage, Network, Internet, Mobile Forensics, Computer Ethics, Computer Application Programs, Introduction to Computer Forensics, Fundamentals of Storage, Concepts of File System, Operating System Software, Data Recovery, and Basic Terminology

Fundamentals of Cyber Laws: Introduction to Cyber Crimes and the IT Laws governing them. This includes Cyber Laws associated with intellectual property issues and cyberspace – Hacking, Software Piracy, Virus Attacks, Malware, Cyber Pornography, Cyber Harassment, Email Scams, Social Engineering, DDoS attacks etc.

Fundamentals of Data Recovery: Introduction to the Methods and Tools for Extraction & Recovery of deleted files, cache files, temporary files and formatted partition from computers and storage devices, Ethics and Procedures for Data Recovery, Preservation and Handling of Digital Evidence, Analysis of complete timeline of Digital Files, File Access and Modification, Documentation of Chain of Custody, Recovery of Internet Usage Data, and Introduction to various Digital Forensic Toolkits

Cyber Investigations: Introduction to various methods and tools used for Cyber Forensics Investigations, e-Discovery, Collection and Preservation of Digital Evidence, Email Recovery, Tracking & Investigation, IP Tracking, Methods of Encryption and Decryption, Seizure and Search of Computers and Digital Storage Devices, Password Cracking, and Extraction of Deleted Digital Evidence

Introduction to Cyber Security: Basic of Cyber Security, Software and Hardware-Based Security Measures, Knowledge of Firewalls and Security Standards, Analysis of Threat Levels, Reporting Cyber Crimes, Formation of Incident Response Team, Knowledge of Operating System and Application Attacks, Financial Frauds, Cracking Techniques and Reverse Engineering

Top Cyber Forensics Courses in India

1. Texial Cyber Security :

It is an institute offering corporate, cyber security, ethical hacking, cyber forensics courses in India. Following are the Cyber Forensics courses/certifications offered by them:

• Short-Term Certification Course in Cyber Forensics such as Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator – CHFI, Ethical Hacking – CEH Certification
• Advanced Certification in Information Security and Cyber Forensics
• PG Certification in Cyber Forensics, Cyber Crimes, Cyber Security & Cyber Law
• Universal Certification in Information Securit and Cyber forensics, Cyber Crimes, Cyber Forensics, Cyber Security & Cyber Law

2. Indian School of Ethical Hacking:

This institute seeks to impart knowledge on IT security to engineering graduates and working professionals. They are one of the top institutes offering cyber forensics courses in India. Following are the Cyber Forensics Courses/Certifications offered by them:

• Certified Ethical Hacker Certification
• Network Penetration Testing Expert
• Professional Certification in Computer Forensics

3. Gujarat Forensic Sciences University:

The Gujarat Forensic Sciences University is renowned as the world’s first and only University established exclusively for forensic science and its allied branches. If you are interested in pursuing cyber forensics courses in India, you may consider the following courses that they offer:

• MSc in Digital Forensics and Information Assurance
• M.Tech in Cyber Security and Incident Response
• IBA/RBI Approved Certified Information Security Professional Course (Cyber Security)
• Certificate Diploma in Cyber Crime Investigation (Only for Government Law Enforcement Agencies)
• Certificate Diploma in Cyber Security

4. SRM University:

While SRM University is a well-known name among engineering aspirants, not many are aware that they are one of the top colleges offering cyber forensics courses in India. Following are the Cyber Forensics Courses offered by them:

• M.Tech in Information Security and Computer Forensics

5. IIIT Delhi (Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology):

The Cybersecurity Education and Research Centre is a specialized cell in IIIT Delhi that provides cyber security training and cyber forensics courses in India.

• M.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering with specialization in Information Security and Cyber Forensics

In case you are not game for full-time cyber forensics courses in India, you can pursue certification programs such as CHFI (Computer Hacking Forensic Investigator), CCFP (Certified Cyber Forensics Professional), EnCE (EnCase Certified Examiner), Certified Forensic Security Responder (CFSR) and much more.

Prospects of Jobs in Cyber Forensics

As already stated before, cyber or computer forensics professionals are in great demand these days due to the rising cyber crime incidents. There is a high demand for Computer Forensics graduates in Law Enforcement Agencies in India and foreign nations.

Although Computer Forensics is still in its formative years in India, the employment opportunities for such professionals are witnessing a surge. In fact, most companies are looking forward to hiring Cyber Forensics experts to monitor cyber frauds within their premises. Computer Forensics professionals are also hired to help strengthen the data and information security of an organization.

Some typical examples of jobs in cyber forensics are Computer Forensics Investigator, Computer Forensics Technician, Digital Forensics Specialist, Computer Forensics Analyst, Computer Forensics Specialist etc.

Government Jobs in Cyber Forensics

Professionals trained in Cyber Forensics can also provide training and education to students in various private and public colleges. Additionally, they also have a shot at bagging a job at one of the many Central Forensic Science Laboratories located PAN India.

Expectations from a Cyber Forensics Professional

A computer forensics investigator building a career in cyber forensics must have a robust understanding of the legal and ethical issues concerning digital forensics. A computer forensics professional needs to have a strong knowledge and understanding of the tools used for digital forensic examination. He/she is also expected to be proficient in the recovery, preservation, and analysis of all forms of digital evidence.

Interested in a career in Cyber Forensics? Computer or Cyber Forensics professionals typically work round-the-clock. In case of an emergency, some enterprises may require such specialists to be on-call even beyond work hours and during weekends.

Texial – A Center for Cyber Forensics Training and Cyber Crime Investigations

Texial is a private forensic science laboratory in India that has offices in Chennai and Bangalore. Supported by a repertoire of digital forensics experts from premier institutes and industry mavens, Texial Lab is now the pioneer in conducting cyber crime investigations and providing cyber forensics training in India.

The 5 Latest Cyber Security Technologies for Your Business

Are you bummed by the oft-repeated phrase ‘cybercrimes are getting graver by the day’? Well, unfortunately, it’s true. Cybercrime masterminds often have an equivalent technical prowess as their cyber security counterparts! This has led to an ever-evolving landscape of cybercrimes that constantly outsmart modern cyber security technologies. So, does that end our fight against cyber threats? No, the answer lies in increasing cognizance and implementation of advanced cyber security technologies. This blog gives you the 5 latest cyber security technologies that you must be wary of.

Cybercrime is the New Threat that Terrorizes Nations

In terms of national security, physical terrorism still remains the top concern for nations across the globe. However, the times are changing rapidly, and not for good though! Terrifying as it may sound, the United States has recently declared cyber attacks to be a greater threat to the country than terrorism. And, when one of the most powerful nations in the world expresses such concerns, one can well imagine the vulnerability of small businesses and developing nations to cyber attacks!

In fact, US Homeland Security Chief, Kirstjen Nielsen, believes that the next 9/11 attack is likely to happen online rather than in the physical world. However, it’s unfortunate that few governments and public enterprises are still not taking cyber threats as seriously as they should.

The Need to Adopt the Latest Cyber Security Technologies

There’s a lot of buzz around cyber attacks in the last couple of years. Does that mean the cybercrimes never existed in the past? Well, they did! Just that the impact was not as severe and large scale. The recent spate of cyber attacks such as WannaCry and NotPetya reaffixed the global attention on the cybercrimes.

Recognizing and deploying advanced cyber security strategies to combat threats is the need of the hour. Here’s why one NEEDS to acknowledge cybercrimes, treat them seriously and have preventive measures in place.

1. The Targets of Attack are Changing

Gone are the days when the targets of cybercrimes would be petty in nature. A cybercrime’s prime objective is no longer just vengeance, quick money or extracting confidential details. It has transcended to bigger targets and more sinister motives, more commonly known as cyber warfare. All critical infrastructures, at present, such as utility services, nuclear power plants, healthcare facilities, airports, etc. are connected to a network. By 2030, there would be nearly 30 billion connected devices! So, how many more targets are we creating for cybercrime masterminds to exploit? Mull over it!

2. Cyber Threats Are Becoming More Advanced

Cyber criminals are getting more advanced and sinister by the day. And, don’t you think it’s that easy to get the better of black-hat hackers! Hackers have the same technical prowess as a top computer science professional. And as technologies to keep cyber threats at bay advance, so do the methods of attack! Skilled black-hat hackers are growing in numbers, and so are sophisticated tools in the dark and deep web.

3. The Aftermath is Grave

As mentioned earlier, all critical infrastructures are now connected to a worldwide network. In fact, all companies have their business-critical data recorded in digital format and are hence greatly dependent on their systems and networks. In such circumstances, even a small attack on the network or system can have a cascading effect on their operations. Failure to secure such critical networks from potential cyber attacks can endanger credibility, sales, profits, and sometimes, even national security!

4. Critical Shift in the Nature of Cyber Attacks

Imagine what would happen if one manages to hack a power grid or any other public utility infrastructure? Public inconvenience, lost revenues, reputational damage, regulatory penalties, and a whopping expense in restoring operations and improving cyber security measures. The impacts of an attack are no longer restricted to individuals but span across global economic and political systems.

The Top 5 Latest Cyber Security Technologies

Cyber warfare continues to gain heat with newer technologies available to break into systems and networks. There have been many cases of attack on critical infrastructures such as healthcare, water systems, and power grids. On a smaller scale, there has been a spurt in ransomware and malware attacks on enterprise networks.

Man creates technology, and it is the man who can get the better of this technology. Thus, no cyber security mechanism is foolproof and can ever be. The wise choice is to constantly identify and adopt emerging technologies to fortify cyber security. Here’s a list of the top advanced cyber security technologies on the charts.

1. Artificial Intelligence & Deep Learning

Artificial Intelligence is quite a buzzword these days. Ever wondered how one can apply AI to cyber security? Well, the application is in a way similar to the working of two-factor authentication.

Two-factor authentication works by confirming a user’s identity based on 2-3 different parameters. The parameters being, something they know, are and have. Add to that additional layers of information and authentication, and that is where AI comes into the picture. Deep learning is being used to analyze data such as logs, transaction and real-time communications to detect threats or unwarranted activities.

2. Behavioral Analytics

With the whole Facebook Data Breach fray, one is well aware of the use of data mining for behavior analysis. This technique is widely to target social media and online advertisements to the right set of audience. Interestingly, behavior analytics is being increasingly explored to develop advanced cyber security technologies.

Behavioral analytics helps determine patterns on a system and network activities to detect potential and real-time cyber threats. For instance, an abnormal increase in data transmission from a certain user device could indicate a possible cyber security issue. While behavioral analytics is mostly used for networks, its application in systems and user devices has witnessed an upsurge.

3. Embedded Hardware Authentication

A PIN and password are no longer adequate to offer foolproof protection to hardware. Embedded authenticators are emerging technologies to verify a user’s identity.

Intel has initiated a major breakthrough in this domain by introducing Sixth-generation vPro Chips. These powerful user authentication chips are embedded into the hardware itself. Designed to revolutionize ‘authentication security’, these employ multiple levels and methods of authentication working in tandem.

4. Blockchain Cybersecurity

Blockchain cyber security is one of the latest cyber security technologies that’s gaining momentum and recognition. The blockchain technology works on the basis of identification between the two transaction parties. Similarly, blockchain cyber security works on the basis of blockchain technology’s peer-to-peer network fundamentals.

Every member in a blockchain is responsible for verifying the authenticity of the data added. Moreover, blockchains create a near-impenetrable network for hackers and are our best bet at present to safeguard data from a compromise. Therefore, the use of blockchain with Artificial Intelligence can establish a robust verification system to keep potential cyber threats at bay.

5. Zero-Trust Model

As the name itself states, this model of cyber security is based on a consideration that a network is already compromised. By believing that one cannot trust the network, one would obviously have to enhance both ‘internal’ and ‘external’ securities.

The crux here is that both internal and external networks are susceptible to a compromise and need equal protection. It includes identifying business-critical data, mapping the flow of this data, logical and physical segmentation, and policy and control enforcement through automation and constant monitoring.

Texial – Pioneers in Cyber Security Solutions

Texial is a private forensics lab in Bangalore. Equipped with the latest digital forensics tools, it specializes in offering digital and cyber forensics services and solutions. Additionally, Texial Lab has created a niche in offering advanced cyber security solutions to government and private organizations. Backed by a team of cyber intelligence experts, Texial Lab comes with profound experience in the precise areas demanding security from potential threats.

Top 5 Tips to Identify a Phishing Email

Bitter as it may sound but your inboxes are constantly vulnerable to cyber attacks. Phishing emails are a rampant problem and they are only getting worse with newer techniques of deceiving users. However, it is often easy to differentiate a phishing mail from a genuine one. All that it requires is a little extra vigilance and few tricks down your sleeve! So, here are the top 5 tips to identify a phishing mail. Keep these tips handy to spot a phishing mail and safeguard yourself from a host of other cybercrimes.

What is Phishing?

Phishing is the act of deceiving an individual through electronic communication in order to obtain his/her sensitive information. The information that is usually sought by malicious cyber criminals ranges from passwords and user names to credit/debit card and other financial details.

The greater consequence of phishing is financial frauds or identity thefts executed by misusing the victim’s confidential information. In fact, phishing makes up for nearly 90% of all data breaches.

Enterprises of all sizes are most vulnerable to phishing attacks due to their wealth of business-critical and sensitive data. Phishing attacks affected a staggering 76% of organizations worldwide in 2017!! Note that over 90% of malware continues to be delivered through emails.

Top 5 Tips to Identify a Phishing Email

Users all across the globe receive an average of 16 malicious emails every month! Additionally, with the host of email subscriptions that we consciously sign up for, a careful examination of an email before our response could be quite taxing.

Nevertheless, awareness is key to foiling potential attempts of stealing your confidential personal or business data. Here are some tips on how to spot a phishing email.

1. Stay Clear of any Demand of Sensitive Information via Email

Remember that a legitimate organization would never demand your sensitive personal or financial information through an email. Moreover, a company that you usually deal with would rather direct you to a phone conversation for any information about your account. Beware of unsolicited emails that demand personal information and contain a link or attachment. It is definitely a scam!

2. Be Wary of Generic Email Salutations

Steer clear of emails (usually, marketing emails) that address you as a ‘valued member’, ‘valued customer’, ‘customer’ or ‘account holder’. One must avoid emails containing such generic salutations at all costs as they are usually spam emails. Remember that a legit company would address you by your name.

However, some cyber conmen are avoiding the salutation part of the email altogether! So, make sure you refer to the other points in this checklist to identify if it’s malicious or genuine.

3. Check the Domain in the Email Address of the Sender

One of the most important tips to spot a phishing email is closely examining the sender’s address. Check the domain in the email address i.e. the part that comes after ‘@’. This would give you a fair idea about the origin of the email and hence its authenticity.

Cybercrime masterminds often alter the spelling here and there to make the domain look legitimate. So, exercise caution! Although, this is also not a foolproof tip as companies often use unique or miscellaneous domains to reach out to their customers. In fact, small-scale companies rely on third-party email providers to send emails. So the dubious-looking domain may actually be a genuine one!

4. Spelling Errors Should Ring a Warning Bell

Remember one thing! Every brand and every company is spending loads on its team of proofreaders and copywriters. This to ensure that the content that they put out to customers is free from errors, factual and grammatical. An erroneous content, especially in an email to a potential or existing customer is a huge embarrassment for the company.

Hence, it’s obvious that an email from a legit enterprise would be well written. On the contrary, one can easily identify scam emails by their grammatical and spelling errors. Obviously, hackers are no fools either! They know their target audience and such phishing emails are mostly targeted at the lower strata of the education pyramid.

5. Watch out for Unsolicited Attachments

Do you know what the most popular bait in phishing emails is? Unsolicited and suspicious-looking attachments and links. A legit organization never sends emails with random attachments or links. They would rather direct the user to their own website to download documents or files if required.

However, companies that do have your contact details may send you white papers, newsletters, etc. as an attachment. So, this isn’t again a fully reliable trick although you must be wary of attachments having .exe, .scr, and .zip extensions. The best way out is to contact the sender directly in case of any doubt.

Phishing Attacks are Getting Harder to Detect

The aforementioned tips to identify a phishing email shall surely increase your awareness and vigilance to phishing attacks. However, phishing attacks are getting stealthier and more sophisticated by the day. Attackers are no longer targeting victims with the typical spam messages having some or the other loophole giving them away. With evolving techniques, even discerning users may find it difficult to spot a phishing email until it’s too late!

It’s alarming that nearly half of the phishing or fake websites now come with SSL Certification i.e. the HTTPS encryption! They also increasingly using techniques such as web page redirects to evade detection. Furthermore, some fake banking websites are using fake fonts and other encoding techniques to give off the appearance of a genuine website. Such techniques are increasingly making it harder for even the most careful user to spot phishing attempts.

Texial – Investigation Services for Phishing Attack Victims

Texial is a forensics lab in Bangalore, specializing in digital and cyber forensics. Backed by a repertoire of the best-in-class forensic professionals, IFF Lab offers investigation and cyber security services and solutions. IFF Lab also provides training and awareness to enterprises and law enforcement agencies on cybercrime prevention.

Importance of Digital Forensics in India

Digital forensics consists of investigative techniques used for the gathering of digital evidence from electronic devices for submission in a court of law. Conventional crime leaves behind clues like fingerprints, DNA, footprints, and witnesses for investigators to examine. Similarly, digital activity on electronic devices leaves a trail of data for cyber investigators to inspect and find the perpetrators.

India’s Growing Digital Footprint

India is a country with over 1.3 billion people but ranks poorly in terms of the ratio of police personnel to population. The ratio stands at 138 police officers for every lakh citizens. With high levels of bureautic red tape, justice is often very slow and difficult. However, things are improving and the government has begun to implement reforms.

In light of such appalling statistics, the importance of digital forensics in India cannot be overstated. The number of smartphone users in the country has risen sharply with the availability of cheap mobile data, and with that, the number of cybercrimes has seen a drastic increase. The current information era has witnessed several cyberattacks across the nation and they are only predicted to increase not only in India but across the globe.

Official government reports mentioned that India experienced over twenty-one thousand cyber attacks in 2017. With limited resources to deal with cognizable crimes, cybercrimes have not been considered a priority and continue to receive little to no attention when it comes to government policy decisions.

Bolder Attacks on Bigger Targets

Cyber attacks across the globe have increased in frequency and audacity. Gone are the days when people had their computers hacked. Hackers have now moved on to larger targets. The city of Atlanta in the United States experienced a massive attack in 2018 that crippled many of its public services, utilities, and municipal functions. It cost the city nearly $10 million in damages. 

Considering such blatant attacks, a robust cyber forensics capability is extremely important for assessing cybercrime and implementing preventive measures. 

As India continues to embrace technology and digitization into its public sector; cybersecurity and digital forensics must have maximum priority. Cyber forensics is the foundation for an effective defensive measure against cyberattacks on civilians and government targets. It enables investigators to analyze computer systems after an attack to determine the extent of damage, recover lost data and find the perpetrators.

Why Data is valuable for hackers?

Data has become an extremely valuable resource, and several subject matter experts agree that it is more valuable than oil. Since internet activities from every user generates information about usage, user’s data reveals information about people’s browsing habits, purchasing patterns, and even political inclinations. This information is invaluable for advertisers who can customize their content to suit each user’s preferences. 

In the wrong hands, such information can be used to sway public opinion and influence elections. Hence, protection against such data against breaches is paramount.

Urgent Changes For Evolving Times

India has one of the world’s largest IT industry and several tech startups in India received millions of dollars in funding. India’s IT industry is valued at over $150 billion since 2017 and provides various types of products and services. Moreover, several departments with the Indian government have digitized operations. Each year sees more people in India turning to mobile applications for a wide range of activities. In light of this, the ratio of computer users to that of forensic investigators being one of the lowest in the world paints a grim portrait.   

An increasingly high number of people rely on mobile applications for several day-to-day activities like payment of utility bills, transferring & receiving money, paying taxes, etc. So, a cyberattack on one’s device could be catastrophic. Most of the 21,000+ victims of cyberattacks in India are still yet to receive justice or even find out who was behind the crimes. These types of breaches are only going to increase in frequency and in the absence of forensic capabilities, most of the Indian citizens remain completely vulnerable to cybercrimes.

All of these factors underpin the urgent need for cyber forensics capabilities. It is extremely important for universities to offer relevant courses and for the government to allocate higher budgets to establish forensic centers across the country. The existing centers that offer investigative services are mostly privately run and are rarely affordable to everyone. Additionally, government centers are often difficult for common people to access.

Due to the ongoing wave of globalization, there has been an explosion in the demand for IT services, which in turn has maximized the requirement of digital forensic experts. There is a severe dearth of trained and experienced experts for cybersecurity and cyber forensics. Since cyberattacks or data breaches don’t receive the same level of media coverage as other tangible types of crimes; the problem is further worsened by a lack of awareness about the same. All of these factors have contributed to a frighteningly inadequate cybersecurity infrastructure.

Exciting Career Opportunities

Digital forensics is an integral part of cybersecurity and it involves multiple levels of proficiency. At the beginners’ level, cyber forensic investigations are carried out with the help of tools and does not require the investigator to be acquainted with programming skills. However, advanced levels delve deeper into the subject and are recommended for individuals who have a deep understanding of computers. At this level, they would be authorized to conduct in-depth investigations of data breaches involving large companies and highly sensitive data.

Several business analysts agree that the market for cybersecurity and cyber forensics is very large and continuously growing. The global cybersecurity industry currently stands at over $137 billion in 2019 and is expected to grow to an astounding $248 billion in the next five years. But the requirement to fill this massive gap is grossly insufficient. This creates a rare opportunity for graduates to forge a lucrative career going into the next decade. 

The last two years witnessed a rise in cybercrimes by over 200% as compared to 2015-2017. Experts in digital security and law enforcement have issued several warnings to authorities, predicting the impending rise in illicit activities in the digital world. While some countries have taken steps to bolster relevant investigative capabilities, India remains alarmingly behind in implementing any significant reforms in the existing cyber defensive infrastructure.

The Future of Cyber World

Although the generation of millennials is well aware of the dearth of expertise, the government is only just waking up to the seriousness of this issue. However, several private sector companies across many industries have implemented extensive cybersecurity measures and employed some of the top cyber forensic investigators in the aftermath of an attack.

This is indicative of rising awareness and subsequent initiative on the part of business leaders regarding the importance of digital security and forensics. But it is yet to translate into definitive action to reform the education system to prepare upcoming graduates for the huge market for computer security and digital forensics. At present, several privately owned institutes are offering certificate courses for cybersecurity and digital forensics.

 India has established itself as a hub of technology and innovation. Many startups in Bangalore and Hyderabad has received millions in investments and continues to be founded by ambitious entrepreneurs. As the world’s second-most populous country with a flourishing software industry, India is an attractive market for many types of internet-based products and services.

However, it also raises serious questions about the prevailing cybersecurity scenario in the country. As we move towards an increasingly digitized world, a solid foundation in security measures can ensure sustainable growth and high employment opportunities. 

Types of Training on Cybersecurity and Digital Forensics by Texial

Training on Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity comprises of all practices to prevent theft or damage to digital assets and computing systems. It involves a thorough analysis of existing digital architecture to find exploitable vulnerabilities and implementing preventive measures. Additionally, it also includes creating awareness amongst users about all techniques that hackers may use to steal data.

  1. Trainers will demonstrate hacking techniques, following which students will have to practice them.
  2. The curriculum would comprise of methods for hacking into computers, servers, as well as networks through the use of a wide array of tools in varying scenarios
  3. Subsequently, each student will learn to penetrate systems and pinpoint the vulnerabilities, so that appropriate preventive measures can be taken
  4. Students will also have to prepare detailed reports on the methods and tools utilized, in addition to each susceptibility

Training on Digital Forensics

Cyber forensics is a subset of forensic science concerned with the recovery and examination of evidence that is in digital format. In the aftermath of a cyberattack, investigators use forensic tools and techniques to discern the nature of the attack and find out how it occurred and retrieve the lost data. 

Furthermore, analyzing data breaches may even help forensic investigators to track down the criminals. In other words, cyber forensics provides a vital tool for investigators to solve cases.

The following are examples of instances where students will apply their forensic training – 

  1. Candidates might be presented with a partially damaged/formatted/hacked device that may contain vital evidence. Students will be applying forensic techniques to retrieve data from the device which might contain clues about illicit activities, and help the police.
  2. Students will need to evaluate a hacked website and recover information that will highlight the causes of the breach and help track down the criminals.
  3. A database server may have suffered a data leak. Students will have to analyze the activity log and determine if there was unauthorized access to the server and track down the responsible individuals.     

A database server may have suffered a data leak. Students will have to analyze the activity log and determine if there was unauthorized access to the server and track down the responsible individuals.     

Classroom Training

Classroom training for cybersecurity and digital forensics involves interactive hands-on sessions with theoretical and practical approaches to learning. Each session is conducted by certified professionals who possess experience in handling actual criminal cases. Moreover, the police and lawyers routinely consult our experts in legal disputes to procure evidence for concluding forensic cases and getting subsequent convictions.

Students will learn to use globally recognized cybersecurity and digital forensic software through simulations of actual scenarios. These produce nearly identical situations where trainees will face lifelike incidents of cyberattacks or criminals cases. Students will need to apply their skills for troubleshooting, resolutions and gathering evidence to assist law enforcement agencies.  

At the end of the course, students will need to take an exam that will test their theoretical and practical knowledge of the course curriculum. The exam consists of lifelike scenarios of cyber-attacks and students would have to respond to them appropriately.

Online Training

Students who prefer to attend classes from their comfort zone can sign up for online forensics or cybersecurity training. It is almost entirely similar to Classroom Training, except for the fact that all students will be attending from remote locations.

The course consists of theoretical explanations and hands-on training for using cybersecurity and forensic software. Students can practice using the tools through online simulators for learning to apply the right software to match the circumstances.

At the end of the course, students will need to take the exam in order to receive their certificates. Furthermore, the mode of the exam will be similar to that of Classroom Training.

One-on-One Training

One-on-One training is for digital forensics and cybersecurity leaners who wish for a more individualized method of training. It suits best for people who are more comfortable with a personalized learning environment that provides special attention throughout the respective course. 

One-on-one teaching would involve all the aspects of Classroom Training and the training would end with an exam for the certificate.

Texial

A certificate from the Texial opens up a world of opportunities for its holders. It signifies that the student has successfully completed industrial training for cybersecurity and digital forensics and is ready to handle actual criminal cases. 

Enroll at Texial Lab today to forge a successful career in cybersecurity and digital forensic.

5 cyber security threats to expect in 2030

Cyber Security

The year 2017 has been an eventful one. With the year almost coming to an end now, we can ruminate about the significant milestones that we have witnessed this year. We, in India, saw the implementation of the much-awaited Goods and Service Tax (GST), the Supreme Court ban on instant triple talaq and the initiation of the bullet train project amongst others. Good things apart, digitally speaking, the year 2017 also witnessed several high-impact cyber attacks all around the globe. From rumors of the US election being hacked doing the rounds, ransomware WannaCry having brought several countries across the globe on their knees to the more recent Equifax hack, this year has seen it all!

Cyber Crimes Are Getting More Sophisticated

Talking about cyber security breaches, this year saw a sharp rise in the intensity of ransomware attacks. In fact, the first half of 2017 reported 4000 ransomware attacks across the globe, each day! With so much progress in the devious world of cyber crimes, one can only begin to imagine what the year 2018 would bring upon us! Following is the list of 5 major security threats that one should expect in the year 2018.

1. The Cloud Is Under Threat

The ‘Cloud’ is the next big thing for organizations looking forward to virtualizing their operations. However, the rising security threats have compelled organizations to create and impose newer regulations on the use of the cloud. This is most likely to affect the working of organizations that depend heavily on cloud-based storage and computing. Such organizations shall be torn between the need to comply with the new data protection/localization requirements and the expectation to execute their routine services at the usual speed.

2. Warning Bells For The Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things (IoT) has sent the world and digital fanatics into a frenzy with its potential to connect humans, devices and places in real-time. Physical presence is increasingly being complemented with an electronic equivalent, to the extent that there is a whole digital world intertwined with the physical. But the devices that are being used to power IoT aren’t perfectly secured. They have some obvious loopholes which if cracked by cyber criminals would open the doors to a trove of sensitive data. Such breach of security may irreversibly damage an organization’s brand identity and expose individuals to incomprehensible damages.

3. The Ever-Evolving Race Of Cyber Criminals

1 in 131 emails contains a malware. Ransomware attacks rose by 36% in 2017. 230,000 malware samples are created every day. Warren Buffet attributes cyber-attacks to be the biggest threat to mankind, being even more severe than nuclear weapons. These facts and statistics are enough to shout out aloud that the skills and expertise of cyber criminals are on an upward growth trajectory! To top it all, the lack of appropriate laws to control access to sensitive information is making cyber attacks a more lucrative option for causing damage, especially for certain terrorist groups. Thus 2018 is likely to see more development and threats in terms of cyber-terrorism.

4. The Silence Of Cyber Security Researchers

An organization’s cyber security researcher is entrusted with the responsibility to raise an alarm when a cyber threat strikes and make it public. However, software manufacturers these days have resorted to threatening such researchers with lawsuits and other hostile actions to keep their revelations under the cover, arguing that it can make the software developed by them susceptible to hacking. This fear of legal action is sure to silence cyber security researchers but the long-term implications that it shall have on the evolution of cyber security solutions are best left to the future to decide! Customers will soon be at the mercy of software replete with vulnerabilities that the manufacturers chose to hide rather than fix!

5. Impractical Expectation From The IT Department

Cyber crime vulnerability is mostly a result of the lack of preparedness of an organization to handle the unlikely event of a data breach or any other cyber threat. A survey conducted by PwC has revealed that only 37% of organizations have a cyber incident response plan in place! Three in ten have no plan, and of these, about half of the cohort feel that they don’t need to worry about cyber security at all! However, with the rise in the incidents of cyber security breach, board members of most of the organizations are treading more carefully and are setting unreasonable security goals for their information security managers. This is not an ideal approach as a robust security infrastructure cannot be achieved overnight. Plus, it is detrimental to the progress of an organization as it shifts focus from the existing tasks to security management.

Complete protection may not be possible. But prevention surely helps.

While it is not possible for an organization to completely mitigate cyber attacks, it is good to at least start with analyzing their existing threat landscape, identify loopholes and eventually have a robust cyber security management in place. Texial based in Chennai and Bangalore in India, provides services and solutions pertaining to cyber security analysis and threat management. They also have a fully equipped digital forensic lab for conducting detailed forensic investigations on a multitude of cyber crimes.

How healthcare IoT is vulnerable to cyber security threats

Cloud security

The Internet of Things (IoT) is the trending buzzword in the digital world. It has set the virtual domain ablaze with its potential of bringing the entire world in the cusps of our hands through networks and interconnected devices.

These devices which constantly interact and share information with one another has much to offer to make cities, industries, healthcare, airports, homes and a multitude of other public spaces SMART.

An analysis of the possible applications of IoT in various sectors, from health to manufacturing, has revealed that if its potential is tapped judiciously, it can have a total economic impact of $3.9 trillion to $11.1 trillion a year by 2025!

IoT and healthcare

The World Health Organization (WHO) had raised a concern in the first half of 2017 about the expected dearth of health care professionals/workers by 2035 and the figures are as high as 12.9 million on a global level! Alarming and jarring isn’t it? However, we still have reasons to hope that one day we would not perish unattended when ailing because the healthcare sector is increasingly becoming more and more receptive to the applications of IoT.

IoT has a huge potential in the healthcare sector to mitigate the major problems of interoperability and interconnectivity of silos. It can be the game-changers for medical practitioners by facilitating automation for effective decision making and for empowering patients to have more control over their health and lifestyle.

This includes remote monitoring systems and emergency notification systems (mPERS) which are based on IoT. Some common examples are smart wristbands such as Fitbit, Apple Watch etc. which have become quite popular these days for monitoring blood pressure, heart rate, sugar levels and other health conditions that can aid doctors in treating chronic patients.

Some hospitals are even using smart beds which can provide information about the occupancy of the bed while also enabling its adjustment as per the patient’s needs without any physical help!

Ransomware tops the list of cyber threats for healthcare organizations

With the United Kingdom’s National Health Services (NHS) being the worst affected victim of the 2017 cyber attack by ransomware WannaCry, we are surely not exaggerating the fact that ransomware is by far the largest threat to the healthcare’s digital world! With the widespread penetration of IoT, the cyberspace has become even more vulnerable, since threats are now not just limited to computers and standalone devices but a host of other devices connected through IoT. It is noteworthy here that healthcare devices connected to IoT such as pacemakers or health bands if hacked can pose serious dangers to the patients and users!

No matter what the potential of IoT may be, the hard-hitting truth is that as of yet, devices used to power IoT are not completely secure. This is because the devices that are sheltered under one network are usually purchased from different manufacturers, all of whom have different security standards.

Therefore tracking, monitoring and scrutinizing them is indeed still a challenge. Research has found radiology imaging software, video conferencing systems, web-based call center websites, security systems and edge devices that include VPN applications and devices, firewalls and enterprise network controllers (ENCs) as the most commonly used access points for cyber criminals.

The hidden risks of mobile devices

Use of mobile devices in the healthcare industry has boomed in the last few years. Though it has reaped benefits for both patients and healthcare providers, the fact that these devices are dependent on the cloud for services such as storage, back-up and file sharing, make them more vulnerable to data breaches.

With research showing that 50% of smartphone users have at least one health app installed in their phones, and about 80% physicians are using smartphones and apps for medical consulting, cyber criminals sure have a reason to smile!

More and more organizations are encouraging Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) usage by medical staff and survey has it that 50% of such organizations are not even fully aware of the risks BYOD may pose to their cyber security!

How should the healthcare sector safeguard itself from IoT-specific attacks?

The first step towards IoT security should ideally be spreading awareness about an organization’s vulnerability to cyber threats and the need for a robust cyber security framework. The healthcare industry must prioritize the security of patients and their sensitive data apart from providing world-class healthcare facilities. To achieve this, IT heads within the healthcare industry should take data and cyber security as their top priority and implement suitable measures for identifying loopholes.

Anything that looks suspicious should be dealt with agility and immediate attention. Medical organizations should consider engaging a dedicated cyber threat management service provider to enable a constant monitoring of their IT risks and have suitable security measures in place.

Texial has a solution to offer

IoT when integrated with the rapidly developing Big Data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) and applied in different healthcare solutions, actually has the potential of ameliorating the biggest problem of this sector – interoperability.

However, every solution comes with some inevitable problems. Although IoT health applications are well-intentioned, it being a network of interconnected devices, is inevitably quite vulnerable to data breaches and cyber attacks. It may sound scary but hackers these days are on a constant lookout to attack healthcare essentials.

Texial is a premier forensic science laboratory in Chennai and Bangalore, India, that provides services for cyber security analysis and assessment. Their services include IT Security and Risk Assessments, Website Security and Application Testing, Dark Web Monitoring and Penetration Testing among others. They also provide in-depth forensic investigation services in case of a data breach and other such cybercrimes.

Top 10 cyber crimes in the history of cyber attacks

Technology has been a huge facilitator in recent times. But the digital paradox here is that it can be a disruptor too if used by people with ulterior intentions. The digital technology wave continues to transform and disrupt the business world, exposing them to both opportunities and threats. This is evident from a recent survey that shows how cyber crime has escalated to the second position in the list of most reported economic crimes in 2016. So let us have a look at the 10 most outrageous attacks in the history of cyber crimes that shook the entire world!

1. Yahoo Data Breach

The Yahoo data breach broke all records of data theft in the history of cyber crimes. Yahoo found itself at the target point of hackers not once but twice as it came to terms with more than 3 billion user accounts being stolen! This incident put personal information such as name, phone number, email ID and passwords of 3 billion users out in the open! And the mystery continues till date as Yahoo struggles to find how this data breach was initiated and executed.

2. The Logic Bomb

Considered as one of the most devastating attacks in the history of cyber crimes, the aftermath of this logic bomb was way beyond a monetary tally. It involved the Americans embedding a piece of code to the Russians during the cold war of 1982. Once this code which was used to control a pipeline for transporting natural gas from Siberia was activated, it caused an explosion so strong that it could be seen even through space!

3. Ransomware WannaCry

Midway through 2017, the United Kingdom fell prey to one of the most devious cyber attacks it had ever faced – ransomware WannaCry. Delivered as an email attachment virus, it locked up all files in an MS Windows powered system, eventually demanding a ransom for unlocking them. Having started as an attack on their NHS computer system, the ransomware had slowly brought systems from the UK to the US and from Russia to China to their knees. As many as 300,000 computers over 150 countries were infected by WannaCry.

4. Petya / NotPetya / Nyetya / Goldeneye

The world had barely recovered from the impact of WannaCry when another wave of ransomware infections was unleashed onto networks all around the globe. Called Petya, NotPetya and by a few other names, it hit networks across multiple countries, the notables ones being the US pharmaceutical company Merck, Danish shipping company Maersk, and Russian oil giant Rosneft. Research has revealed that this ransomware attack was actually intended to mask a targeted cyber attack against Ukraine. It was aimed at Ukrainian infrastructures such as power companies, airports, the central bank and public transit. The attack was able to facilitate payment processing on a large scale for criminals, an illicit bitcoin exchange and money laundering across 75 shell companies and accounts globally.

5. Sony Pictures

In 2011, Sony’s data storage was hacked exposing the records of over 100 million customers using their PlayStation’s online services. What was shocking was that the hackers had access to all the credit card information of users apart from personal details! This data breach cost Sony over 171 million USD.

6. Epsilon

Epsilon – one of the world’s largest email marketing service provider handling more than 40 billion emails and more than 2200 global brands landed up in a soup when hackers stole details belonging to more than 50 of their clients, including some top banks and retail giants! This data breach which was executed as a phishing email cost Epsilon over 4 billion USD.

7. LinkedIn Hacking

Social networking website LinkedIn fell prey to a hack executed by Russian cyber criminals who stole the passwords of nearly 6.5 million user accounts. Soon these stolen passwords were made available in plain text on a Russian password forum! Adversity struck again when LinkedIn discovered in May 2016 that an additional 100 million compromised email addresses and passwords that were claimed to be from the 2012 breach, were released into the hacker forum. Some tech news reports have revealed that hackers were trying to sell this information on a darknet market for around $2200 each!

8. JP and Morgan Chase & Co

 In 2015, the accounts of 76 million households and 7 million small businesses associated with JPMorgan Chase were compromised in what the hackers described as “one of the largest thefts of financial-related data in history”. The hackers then sold these personal data to a larger network of accomplices. Investigations later revealed that apart from personal data, the hackers also stole their business-critical data which enabled them to manipulate the company’s stock prices and make illicit financial profits.

9. Hannaford Bros.

Hannaford, a supermarket chain with stores located mainly on the east coast of the US, fell prey to a security breach that exposed more than 4 million credit card numbers, leading to about 1800 cases of fraud in the year 2008. Having affected nearly 200 of its stores, the breach cost Hannaford over 250 million USD!

10. Citibank

The year 1995 saw Citibank in a string of slander when a criminal ringleader, Vladimir Levin, hacked the bank and illicitly transferred about 3.7 million USD into the bank accounts of his criminal organization. He executed this well-planned hack by using a computer that was based in London and a list of customer codes and passwords. He was finally tracked down by the FBI at a London airport.

Let us stay vigilant enough to not let history repeat itself!

Thus, one should always remember that susceptibility of an organization or individual to cyber crimes is not an IT problem. The 2016 global economic crime survey has revealed the disheartening fact that most organizations bluntly leave the first response to a data breach on their IT teams without sufficient support or involvement of the senior management and other significant contributors. Additionally, the composition of these response teams is often not up to the mark, which ultimately affects the organization’s cyber security management.

Incognito Forensic Foundation (IFF Lab) which is headquartered in Chennai, India, has a state-of-the-art digital forensic lab and is replete with forensic experts adept at investigating cases of cyber crimes, data breach, identity theft and the like. They also provide services and solutions for an organization’s cyber and data security analysis and management.

How Fake News is the trending & booming dark net business

The birth of “fake news”

Fake news, WhatsApp forwards and social media posts are evolved versions of Nigerian scam emails that boomed in the mid-1990s. Such emails would typically be about a pot of gold or a million dollar lottery that the recipient won. It further insisted the reader provide his/her information so that the sweepstakes win could be transferred to him. Although many would have found such emails amusing, there were scores who indeed feel prey to such scams!

Over time, victims of Nigerian email scams have significantly reduced. But, its modern version of fake news and videos is successfully continuing its legacy of cheating innocent people! This has been fueled by the increasing popularity of WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter and other social media and messaging platforms.

The era of the Internet and the millennials

We use technology as a benchmark of the progress of human civilization. And unfortunately, it is the same technology which is pulling it apart! Our affinity for the Internet has made us more connected to objects/events of the virtual world than the real ones. This makes the current generation of millennials more susceptible to such fake and baseless news circulated online.

Often called clickbait, such links are replete with the words “Breaking” or “Shocking”. This is enough grab people’s growing interest in a story or a global disaster. This hunger for spicy and sensational stories more often than not robs them of their rationality. And scammers leverage this thirst of the ardent followers of the virtual world to make money by fooling them.

Clickbait – An easy trap for the gullible humans

Clickbait has currently become the most lucrative business for miscreants in the virtual world. Some of the popularly shared bogus WhatsApp forwards or Facebook posts may only qualify as laughable rhetoric for most. However, we often fail to realize the grave outcomes such news may have on a nation like India with about 355 million Internet users!

A recent research conducted in Washington has shed light on the current valuation and outreach of this business. Services for creation and sharing of fake news through ‘look-alike’ news websites start at under 10 USD. Researchers have uncovered about 2800 ‘live spoof’ sites that resemble legitimate news organizations.

Worse still, ‘DIY toolkits’ for the creation of ‘look-alike’ fake news is now readily available to the public in Holland. That too for as low as 7 USD!!! Such toolkits are given out on a trial basis to let miscreants get a hang of how to control social media bots. So now one can well imagine where the human civilization is headed to!

The aftermath of fake news

Derogatory news about an individual not only inflicts mental trauma but also results in social stigma. It is utterly unfair and inhuman to play with emotions, especially when the event involves the loss of human lives. One must realize that sharing bogus and unverified news can have severe negative connotations. Right from creating unnecessary panic to causing loss of precious human lives by triggering communal violence.

Often such news is targeted at political figures to disrupt election campaigns or their public image. And, its use in politics is one of the current biggest threats to our world and democracies. By allowing it to exist and spread, we are arming the malicious anti-national forces with a vicious weapon. And this weapon can be used to inflict severe damage on our communities, nations and political systems.

Retailers are also a common target of the fake news business. A service has been unearthed that offers Amazon ranking, reviews, votes, listing optimization and selling promotions. The rates start from 5 USD for an unverified report to 500 USD for a monthly retainer! Most of these services are hosted on the “dark web” which makes it even more difficult to keep track of such perpetrators.

The word “fake news” makes it to the Collins Dictionary

The year 2017 saw a sharp rise in the incidents and reporting of fake news. In fact, it is even said to have influenced President Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections. The widespread use of this word has caused the Collins Dictionary to added “fake news” in its list of ‘Words of the year 2017’. Not just that, it has declared it as the “Ultimate Word of the Year”!

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 – The floating plane video

The mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 in March 2014 sent shock waves all over the globe. Suddenly, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was all that people were talking about. There were theories and hypotheses of all kinds as to what could have brought the metal bird down. While no theory was healing enough for the traumatized and grieving kin of the ill-fated passengers, there were some insensitive folks who utilized this opportunity to make some money!

How many of you remember the video showing the floating body of the plane popping up on your Facebook page? Remember the headline accompanying the video?

“Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 found in the sea with about 50 alive passengers” or even “Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 found in the Bermuda Triangle”!!

And very easily, the post did the trick that it was intended to! The result? Scores of people had their judgment blurred that the unbelievably pristine condition of the flight in the image was too good to be true and ended up clicking on the links.

Here’s the real story.

On clicking, users were asked to share a “Pray for MH370” Facebook group page. This, in turn, had a link to a fake and look alike CNN page! Some users were lead to a survey page which was in fact meant to generate affiliate cash for the scammers. Thus a video that you found sensational was actually a link to spam blogs, imitation news sites, and survey scams.

Filling in a fake survey can possibly make you a victim of identity theft as scammers then sell this information to third parties for a hefty sum. More often than not, such links may also be associated with malware and ransomware. This can make you vulnerable to data thefts and other unconceivable damages.

Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 – The Taiwan Story

2 years after the incident, which continued to remain an unsolvable mystery, a new story resurfaced. This time it was another news site claiming that the pilot of the missing flight was found alive in a serious condition in Taiwan! The news was yet another clickbait that covered the exact emotions that would make people anxious to read and share it. And as expected, it succeeded in fooling a number of people around the globe yet again!

While no amount of empathy for the kith and kin of the passengers of the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 would be sufficient, fake news such as these only deepen the wounds inflicted by the true incident on them.

Tracing the gullibility of Indians

When in September 2016, Mukesh Ambani launched an ultra-cheap mobile network service, Jio, India saw millions coming online for the first time. According to Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends 2017 report, India’s data usage increased six-fold between June 2016 and March 2017.

WhatsApp is the most preferred mode of virtual communication in India, hence much of bogus news here is spread through WhatsApp. And with millions of first-time users added to the virtual world owing to affordable data plans, one can well assume the rationality with which such fake news would be judged! This makes them more susceptible to be gullible towards such false rumors.

Indian Stories

Right after demonetization, many of you would remember the rumor of the new 2000 notes containing a GPS tracking nano-chip? Its potential was that it could help trace hidden notes to a depth of 390 feet below the ground!! Ridiculous isn’t it? But there were thousands who bought this fake news!

The ridiculous fake news in South India in February 2017 about the measles and rubella vaccine allegedly making the recipients sick actually ended up spoiling the government’s immunization drive.

The fatal repercussions that such news can have would be evident from the several lynching and deaths that took place in a village in Jharkhand, India, after social media and WhatsApp was abuzz with news of child abductors.

False rumors can easily trigger communal tensions in a nation like India with its staunch supporters of Hinduism. Holding testimony to this is the recent incident which sparked off severe hatred among Indians against the Muslim Rohingya. This was triggered by the circulation of images showing Hindus in Burma being attacked by Rohingya Islamic Terrorists.

Steps to curb promotion of fake news

After the recent US Presidential Elections, Twitter and Facebook faced heavy backlash for their role in swaying voters by allowing the spread of fake news. Subsequently, Google and Facebook framed policies for putting tabs on ads posted on fake news sites. Recently, Facebook also carried out campaigns through posts and videos on how to spot fake news.

Also, some good Samaritans comprising journalists, software geeks and people from various other backgrounds are also coming together in groups. They are setting up fact-checking websites for busting the myths circulating in the digital world.

However, keeping the logical side of our brains active at all times is all that it takes to prevent the spread of false news to a great extent!

In the league of busting fake news – Texial

Analysts have projected the number of social media users around the globe by 2019 to about 2.77 billion. Therefore, ensuring a zero possibility of fake news circulation is a far cry from the ground reality. Social media and messaging platforms are regularly updating their policies to curb the spread of misleading information. However, the gullible human race with its thirst for salacious content shall not stop falling for such scams anytime soon.

Texial, headquartered in Chennai, specializes in digital and cyber forensic investigation. Although a newcomer in the forensic domain, they have already set high standards in carrying out extensive forensic investigations for busting cyber crimes. With a state-of-the-art forensic lab at their disposal and experts from premier forensic institutes, one can be certain that no stone is left unturned during the investigations.

An Insight into the Top Causes of Healthcare Data Breaches

Top Causes of Healthcare Data Breaches

If you think data breaches affect corporate spaces only, think over again. With the increase in digitization, the availability of personal information in the virtual space has also increased. And, the healthcare segment is its latest victim. In the year 2018, the number of breached healthcare data records almost tripled! This translated to the compromise of nearly 15 million patient records. So does that mean that your records at your physician or hospital are at risk? Know more in the ensuing sections as we take you through the top causes of healthcare data breaches.

How the Healthcare Sector is Opening its Arms to Technology?

Healthcare is one of the newer domains affected and uplifted by the technology wave. Apart from the ingress of AI and IoT into medical devices, automation and cloud computing are the other major developments.

Use of Automation in the Healthcare Industry

Most healthcare providers in the country have adopted automation and data mining to digitize health records and enhance their consistency. Automation is currently playing a multi-faceted role in improving record keeping and the overall services rendered to patients.

The in-built quality control mechanisms have critically reduced the errors that healthcare records were formerly steeped in. In fact, the continuous feedback loops from automated data mining are being increasingly used for the optimization and enhancement of healthcare services and management. Additionally, automation also solves the challenges faced by the patients, healthcare providers, and customers, by aiding in the development of innovative products and services.

Use of Cloud Computing in the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry is taking their operations to the cloud with the proliferating use of cloud computing. The cloud has made data storage, optimization and management easier thus profiting the providers and beneficiaries of the healthcare industry. Healthcare providers are thus able to offer exceptional care to patients in an economic environment.

Cloud computing enables doctors to seamlessly access and analyze patient data and medical history to provide them with better care and diagnosis. Furthermore, healthcare professionals across the globe can use the cloud as a knowledge sharing platform. This furthers the holistic improvement of the healthcare protocols used globally.

The Epicenter of the Healthcare Data Breaches

Amidst all the frenzy of data breaches affecting corporates, this figure might throw you off guard momentarily. In 2018, data breaches affected the healthcare segment most severely, subjecting it to 70% of the total data breaches.

According to a recent study, the largest number of data breaches occurred at the physician’s offices and hospitals. However, healthcare plans are responsible for the largest number of stolen patient records over the last seven years!

It’s true that centralized databases offer a huge reserve of resources and records for health researchers. On the contrary, they also expose a colossal amount of personal data to possibilities of misuse and data breaches.

What Endangers Healthcare Data?

So now the question arises as to why does your healthcare data interest a hacker or a perpetrator? Well, for starters, an individual’s healthcare data contains his/her personal data such as name, address, and number. And, the jackpot is the financial data that is more often than not embedded in a person’s healthcare records!

A miscreant can use this information to create a duplicate credit card account, or sell it on the dark web! Unfortunately, the healthcare segment has emerged as a softer target for cyber criminals due to its increasing adoption of digital records.

Top Causes of Healthcare Data Breaches

Hacking impacted nearly 11.3 million patient records in 2018 – a threefold increase over the 3.4 million compromised in 2017. Wish to know the publicly released figures? Nearly 15,085,302 medical records were stolen in 2018 versus 5,579,438 in 2017.

Does that concern you? So, here are the top cause of healthcare data breaches.

1. Human Error

Where humans are involved, errors are inevitable. Healthcare offices are the hub spot of science, technology, and bureaucracy. Sadly, unintentional human errors are often responsible for a third of healthcare data breaches. The usual errors encompass incorrect delivery, disposal error, physical loss, publishing error, omission, misconfiguration, and data entry and programming errors.

Interestingly, one cannot blame technology exclusively. Studies show that physical documents top the charts when it comes to security issues pertaining to human errors.

2. Misuse

A recent study by Johns Hopkins University and Michigan State University demonstrated that internal unauthorized access or disclosure caused a quarter of healthcare data breaches. This is more than double the breaches caused due to external hacking. Insiders were responsible for a third of healthcare data breaches in 2018. Out of this, 67% of the insider breaches were due to interfering family members, and 16% due to prying co-workers.

Example: Such forms of insider data breaches are usually a result of ‘privilege abuse’. For instance, a diagnostic technician receives access to a patient’s data for data entry. He/she may later misuse the privilege to pry on patients.

‘Possession abuse’ has similar connotations, just that it involves misuse of the information contained in a physical asset/document.

3. Physical Theft

A study revealed that 95% of ‘physical’ security incidents resulted from theft. Laptops are the hot favorites of miscreants as they store a host of personal and confidential information. In fact, laptops and documents jointly account for 75% of security incidents involving theft.

Next time you carelessly chuck your laptop inside your car, you may want to exercise more caution. This is because 47% times a laptop is generally stolen from a car!!

4. Hacking

Hacking is the act of unauthorized access to a system or device. In the case of healthcare data breaches, a hacker usually prefers stealing personal credentials than breaking into the entire system/network. However, 1 in 5 security incidents is a result of brute-force attacks i.e. the act of methodically attempting to guess credentials.

5. Malware

Remember the infamous Ransomware attack on the UK’s National Health Service? It cost the organization nearly £100m and disrupted its healthcare chain for weeks. The encryption of systems connected to the NHS rendered them unusable, thus adversely affecting patient care.

As per a recent study on healthcare data breaches, more than 70% of malware-related security breaches resulted from ransomware. Want to know the favorite targets of malware attacks? These include servers, desktops, and databases.

Texial – For Advanced Research in Cyber Security and Digital Forensics

The Center for Cyber Security (Texial) provides training and certification on ethical hacking and a host of other digital forensics courses. Texial also provides cybersecurity training and awareness to Law Enforcement Agencies, corporates, and educational institutions.

Contact Texial for Cybersecurity Training and Awareness.