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Archive for December, 2014

Scott Cowie

BSc (Hons) Computer Forensics

DDoS Attacks!

Wednesday, December 31st, 2014

So recently I posted about the Christmas “hack” in which the PSN and Xbox Live network were attacked by the Lizard Squad. Therefore I thought I’d take a bit more time to describe what happened in a bit more detail and what a DDoS attack actually is.

Firstly DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service which essentially is a peice of software that will flood a network with useless traffic to overwhelm a network seizing it’s functionality and rendering it useless. Although sometimes some can get access it usually doesn’t last long.

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The image above I stole from my own Portfolio 1 work for first year, my computer is one of those bad boys ^.^ . Anyway another form of the attack is where an attacker will find a way through various methods to infect other peoples computers then known as “zombies”. These machines when called upon will then attack the designated service.

Over Christmas the Lizard Squad attacked the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live network to bring down all functionality to some of the new next gen consoles as most if not all of the systems require you to be logged in so by flooding the login network it stops the servers and stops connection. Rendering the consoles useless leaving a lot of people unhappy (myself included).

 

They are now selling this “tool” as the Lizard Stresser to anyone who will pay, this will only lead to bad people using it for ill gains or revenge and needs to be stopped thats where my course comes in all we do in computer fornesics is learning these tools and how best to stop them.

 

Thanks for reading!

Christmas Special and Xbox/PSN Hacking on Xmas day!!

Thursday, December 25th, 2014

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

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Playstation Network and Xbox Live hack at Xmas!

So if you are a gamer like me, and unboxed a PS3/4/Vita or Xbox 360/Xbox One  and tried to go online with your well deserved present for being a good boy/girl, you would be sad to have discovered the server is down….But what does this mean exactly? After a little bit of research I realised that it wasn’t that my internet connection was down, but it was actually due to a group of hackers on Twitter, encouraging others to ‘Retweet’ their tweet so that they could hack the system and shut it down. Thousands of users who unboxed their console or game  could not play online due to the hackers AKA ‘Lizard Squad’ wanting to encourage people to spend time with their loved ones.

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Whether a ploy to get more followers on the social networking platform or not, the question still remains…..When will their servers resume? These hackers are the very ones that used a bomb scare to divert a plane carrying Sony Online’s president back in August and posted tweets such as this:

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So what exactly does this mean for us users? Well, put simply we are unable to access any online features such as logging in onto Xbox Live to sign in and play games with others. Both PSN and Xbox both say that they are looking into solving the problem, but they are unable to inform anyone as to when they will be back online……fingers crossed it will be back when I have my day off from work in a couple of days!!!

 

Happy holidays everyone!!!

 

A Year in Industry : Industrial Placements

Wednesday, December 17th, 2014

Hey everyone! So as you might know I am trying to get a placement for my third year as part of sandwich course. The benefits of doing a placement are numerous such as applying the knowledge given to industry. I have applied for placements with HMRC Digital, GE, HP and am hoping to apply for more when I get more time to do so.

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Industrial placements are the best way to use your knowledge to gain valuable experience necessary for a successful CV, I want to beef up my CV in anyway I can and from previous experiences from other students it seems like the best way to build up my skill set and use what I have learned to earn some money. Placements vary from about £12K a year up to about £22K depending on the company.

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A lot of placements are for a full year 9-12 months but it is also possible to get  a summer internship or do both if you have the time and plan out well, I hope to do both if possible if I do the industrial placement first and then do an internship before starting my third year… which I will call 4TH year.

 

It may be necessary to be mobile but there are a lot of opportunities in the North East and the University of Sunderland has a lot of influence in gaining experience and placements for students which makes Sunderland University a great place to learn. There is one catch however, you must be on par for a 2:1 minimum usually although some exceptions might be made, this is where doing well in your first year really pays off as the applications tend to be early first semester how can you show how your doing other than your first year grade. So if like me you are considering a placement year then you need to stick in as the opportunities are vast and you can be put into a fast track graduate scheme. Thanks for reading!

By the way, the spam comments are usually 100’s so if you need to get in contact please do it via one of the social media outlets found linked on the right as it is hard to find the one true comment through all the spam. Thanks!

My Semester/Term Review: Computer Forensics Year 2

Friday, December 12th, 2014

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So it has been pretty eventful and I owe a lot of it to Lives Online, with the course being vastly Computer based there isn’t usually much need to go out and do any other activities but as I needed to blog it has made me get out and about more. It has helped with my SuPA award application too don’t forget to have a look, the December applications have passed but there’s always April!

Here’s a list of stuff I did:

  • Meet the Lives Online Bloggers – they’re all cool not as cool as me though haha
  • Freshers Fayre –  I got to meet new and prospective students t’was a blast!
  • There were Student Lock-Ins and free stuff – Yes Please!
  • Went to tons of events documented for you all because I’m nice like that!
  • Got my BCS award with a nice cheque which helped balance out my expensive November :s
  • Then we had the fun side events like the Boulevard works due and the Panto:

The Panto was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves… well actors on their knees with bad costumes… but I digress, it was an awesome show I haven’t been to one in years so it was good fun to cheer along… against the crowd ’cause that’s how I role! Anyway was great fun and the ironically funny bit was that they did a little gag sketch at the start where someone pretended someone was in their seats. When he zoomed in on the tickets so that everyone could see them it read: “Sunderland Empire” yes everyone laughed but what everyone else didn’t know is that some people we had gotten tickets for had actually gone there instead haha they got over in time to miss that gag …shame the irony would have been delicious but all in all it was a laugh riot!

Btw here’s a picture of me with my PantoSword … my mum bought me it >.>

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It lights up… it’s like having a Disco in my hand! Warning may irritate those with epilepsy >.<

Anyway over the Xmas holidays I will en-devour to try and blog about something interesting but as there might not be much going on I’m gonna have to try extra hard!

Thanks for Reading/Watching!

Boulevard: “A Night Like No Other”

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

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So tonight I went to see a show at Boulevard in Newcastle as part of my works night out. For those that do not know, Boulevard is an upmarket (but incredibly fun/cheesy) drag show which consisted of cabaret performers, stand up comedy, and humour.  As it is approaching Christmas, it meant that the show had a Christmas theme with more tinsel and sparkle than normal!  boulevard

 

Although it was certainly different, and I had not been to anything like it before, there was something there for everyone from The Sound of Music to Sleeping Beauty. Each routine had costume changes, and the attention to detail was incredible! My favourite routine that they did was definitely the finale because there was snow, the performers dancing on the bar, and a technical glitch.  The technical glitch came at the best part, where Maleficent was meant to appear, but because of the glitch, it meant that we got to see more of the show, so it worked to our favour!

So if you’re looking a great night out, with lots of drinks, laughs and food, then Boulevard is definitely for you! To find out more and to book tickets, check out their website http://www.boulevardnewcastle.co.uk/ . If you do decide to go, then I would suggest to go VIP and have a seat, because after a long day at work, your feet are sure to hurt!

 

Current Forensic Issues 03/12/14

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Hello everyone so this blog is a little basic but I’m going to talk about a few things I’ve read in the news that are related to my course.

Anyone can hack PayPal with one click (OMG!)

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For those that don’t know, PayPal is owned by eBay, and is a money transferring service that is meant to be secure. Well, secure until recently. over 156 million people have PayPal accounts, and through the exceptionally vague security questions, people can hack your account and reset the question and answer in just one click. So what does this mean for the likes of you and me? Simple, update your security questions regularly so that hackers cannot block your access to PayPal. However, by hackers resetting your security questions, they gain access to your e-mail address and can reset your password without you even knowing about it. because of this, hackers could pay for anything they wish using your Paypal account, and it will come directly from your bank account.

(To see more, and to learn how to avoid this hack, check out http://thehackernews.com/2014/12/hacking-paypal-account.html)

Sony Pictures Gets Hacked

sonypictures_share_200x200Sony Pictures’ computers were supposedly the victim of a malware attack, whereby infected computers and servers had all of their data erased. This type of malware is known as “wiper” malware because they effectively remove all data from hard drives, and the master boot record of the computer. This was a serious issue because the hacker involved had posted some of the information to which they obtained and posted it online. People’s pay role information, addresses, contact numbers and bank details were all compromised and made accessible online.  The files are made available in the form of torrents to which are accessible by many file sharing websites.

(To read more about the recent sony pictures hacking, check out http://arstechnica.com/security/2014/12/sony-pictures-hack-gets-uglier-north-korea-wont-deny-responsibility/)

Hacking In The Movies 

If you love films as much as me, then you’ll know that there are a wide range of films that portray computer hacking, but are they acting as encouragement for individuals to learn how to hack? Although they contain distorted and unrealistic views on computer hacking, with the increasing number of films with hacking as its main focus, its no wonder that society is beginning to reflect that also. From the Matrix, to Die Hard, computer hacking in films is becoming more and more common.

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Hope this post has made you guys think twice about giving details out online and made you think about keeping regularly updated with your passwords and security questions!!

 

  • Name: Scott Cowie
  • Age: 25
  • Studying: Computer Forensics BSc (Hons)
  • Hometown: Birtley, UK
  • Ambitions: I want to go far in the Computer Forensics Industry and help create a world with a safe computer environment for everyone.
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