On this week of The Tech Ranch, “Guru of Geek” Marlo Anderson is missing. Seriously! Some speculate he might be in the Colorado Rockies, while others speculate he is being held for ransom somewhere in an undisclosed location. In the meantime, Rockin’ Dave Blair and Captain John Cybernet Nagel (Cybernet Security) have decided to cover the show until information is received on the whereabouts of our infamous Guru of Geek.
HELD FOR RANSOM
To begin this episode, Rockin’ Dave and Captain John Cybernet decided it might be a good idea to revisit internet security and protecting ourselves from being attacked by cyber groups across the world. Both agree there seems to be an epidemic of hacking going on with all of our electronic gadgets lately. No one is safe from the depths of hackers. It’s a scary feeling to think that someone is holding your personal information hostage. And, it happens. Every day. According to Captain John Cybernet, hacking is a lucrative business. Even though hackers are considered bad guys, there is some benefit to understanding what hacking is and how it all works.
White Hat Hackers
There is a term often referred to as “white hat” computer hackers in cyber world. White hat hackers are normally used as “good guys” because they have the skills to hack, but use their skill to test hacking possibilities for companies legally. Though white hat hackers can be dangerous, most use their skills for ethical reasons and are employees of companies to help find vulnerabilities within their systems. Organizations take the information white hat hackers present to help prevent future hacking problems.
Gray Hat Hackers
“Gray hat” hackers are often referred to as hackers that don’t really do anything bad, but have potential too. These types of hackers often use hacking as a means to infiltrate systems without permission. This type of hacking is often the result of having the ability to hack, but not going forward with any threat. Gray hat hackers know it’s illegal to hack computers; however, as long as they don’t do anything illegal, gray hat hackers don’t see a problem with what they are doing. The problem with gray hat hackers is they often work for more lucrative people who are willing to pay for information on how to hack businesses and corporations.
Black Hat Hackers
“Black hat” hackers are the most dangerous of all hackers. Their purpose is to break into information systems with malicious intent. Unlike white hat and gray hat hackers, black hat hackers take full advantage of their system break-ins and do several things to a computer for a fee. Recently, the WannaCry Ransomware (previous episode link) was in the news as hacking several systems throughout the world. In order for the files to be recovered or saved, the black hat hackers demanded money to release the information. Black hat hackers are business people who intend to make money. The money exchanged for the WannaCry Ransomware was paid in Bitcoins, which is a perfectly legal way to collect payment even though the act of why it the bitcoin is paid is illegal.
What is Bitcoin?
Bitcoin is a currency that allows the exchange of money without using a bank. Bitcoin is an open-sourced payment system that is untraceable for anyone who uses the system. Once data is submitted through Bitcoin, it becomes encrypted and can’t be reused. No one person or organization is in charge of the bitcoin exchange. Everyone who participates in the use of bitcoins is in control as an owner. The value of the bitcoin varies daily and is always anonymous. Bitcoin is legal, safe and effective and has become a hackers dream to collect payment for ransomware threats.
It’s important to state that everything has the capabilities to be hacked. If it’s connected to the Internet, it is vulnerable. A good anti-virus for your home computer is key to preventing any hacking. Though not fool proof, it does provide extra security. Common sense also plays an important roll. If it looks or feels unsafe, it probably is. E-mail is the most common place people pick up viruses on their personal computers. If you don’t know who the person is, don’t open it. The Tech Ranch promise’s the Nigerian Prince who wants to give you a few thousand dollars will have to just hold on to the money until you get to Nigeria.
UPDATE: Due to the persistence of our listeners, our quest to find the Guru of Geek has come to an end. We can thankfully report he is not being held for ransom as we formally thought. He actually is at FORT RANSOM STATE PARK in eastern North Dakota. It was a simple misunderstanding. “Ransom” or “At Fort Ransom” is almost the same thing, right? Oh well, all is well at The Tech Ranch again.
If you would like the “Guru of Geek” to do a product review for you and have it featured on The Tech Ranch, let us know! Leave us a comment on this episode or call 701-204-6674 for more information.
Join the “Guru of Geek” Marlo Anderson, “Tech Geezer” Jim Walsh and “Miss Metaverse” Katie Aquino every week for a new episode of the Tech Ranch.
Broadcast Date August 7, 2017 Episode 280