Celebrate International Internet Day!

   

      What do you consider to be the greatest invention in modern history? Many will suggest the automobile, airplanes, the telephone, or even sliced bread, but there’s one that we think outshines them all. Yes, we are talking about the internet! The internet has created a powerful online community that has spawned countless cultural changes and has greatly influenced our lives. Through social media and email alone we have the ability to instantly connect with our friends and family, as well as new acquaintances from around the world. It is hard to fathom that this invention is technically a new phenomenon; we’ve only had the modern internet since 1989!

Why do we celebrate internet Day on October 29th? On this date in 1969, the first recorded message transmission was sent over an internet connection between two computers. A student at UCLA named Charley Kline attempted to send log in information to another student at Stanford named Bill Duvall and managed to send the letters “L” and “O” before the connection was lost. At the time these two students were working on the ARPANET (Advanced Research Projects Agency Network) which was being funded by the US Department of Defense and consisted of four terminals set up at UCLA, Stanford, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. Each terminal operated independently testing various connections and after this first message attempt, it only took an hour to send the entire message to Stanford.

Even though this internet connection was the birth of the World Wide Web, it was still uncommon for anyone outside of universities, government agencies, and a few scientific labs to be using it at this time. This year also marked the establishment of HTML and HTTP by Tim Berners-Lee who was working in Britain at CERN. The World Wide Web was officially launched as a project in August of 1991 and you can see the results of that project today when you pick up your smartphone. The digital age in the late 90s and into the early 2000s was an explosion of internet fever with over 162 million new and public websites being created and hosted online. Silicon Valley in Northern California became the epicenter of internet development and the dotcom boom. Today the internet is a central pillar in global communications and almost every notable public figure has their own profile online that their fans can interact with. How much do you use the internet in your daily life?

It is important to note that Coleman University was established in 1963, long before the internet was born. Computers were not developed for internet use, in fact, they were initially conceptualized for computing large sums (hence the name “computer”) and storing information securely. At the time it would have been unheard of to discuss putting a computer into a private home. Why would a family or single person need one? It may be hard to imagine now, but considering the size of the computers that were being built, it would have been hard to fit one inside of a home in the first place!

We recognize Internet Day as a moment to reflect on the incredible advancements in technology that we have witnessed in the past century and will continue to see in the future. Celebrate today by learning more about the history of the internet, how it has influenced your life, and the telling your friends on social media to celebrate too!

If you are interested in learning more about our degrees in Software Development, Cybersecurity, and Game Design call us at (858) 499-0202 and schedule a tour! There are thousands of jobs for programmers and coders across the nation, and we want to help you get started in your dream career today!

Coleman and Ssubi give back to San Diego

Our President, Norbert Kubilus, stands next to the donated computers from Sharp Healthcare that Coleman will be helping to refurbish. Ssubi is located behind the Graduate Studies building. 

Coleman University’s mission statement is “To deliver relevant education that prepares individuals for technology-focused careers, while providing an environment where they may develop to their full potential”. That mission statement is not just focused on our learning environments. Our emphasis on developing to a full potential also applies to the various opportunities that Coleman is bringing to our students that take place outside of the classroom and within our community. Since 2016 we have provided a portion of a warehouse for the non-profit Ssubi to operate out of, as well as encouraged our students to work with them to collect and ship donations around the world. This organization has taken on the enormous task of processing gently used medical equipment from local hospitals and clinics and distributing to areas in Africa that have no access to basic and essential medical materials. The founder, Laura Luxemburg, has worked tirelessly throughout Southern California to encourage the leaders in the Healthcare industry to be more conscious of their potential impact through conservation and to donate their equipment to communities who need it. It is her goal to bring jobs to our city in an environment that promotes conservation. Through efforts in connection with Sharp Healthcare and the San Diego Veterans Association, Laura has been successful in reaching the first part of her overall goal for Ssubi: the potential millions of tons of medical waste that can be reused are being saved from landfills. Sustainability is important for helping to make San Diego a Green city and Coleman University wants to be a part of that movement.

In conjunction with their effort called Greening for Good, Ssubi is also offering gently used computer equipment to low income families in San Diego. Our University has provided Ssubi with a center on our campus to clean, store, and refurbish 50 computers that were donated by Sharp Healthcare. Using the Cybersecurity Club room which serves as a lab on our campus, student volunteers are installing new software and returning the equipment to their factory settings. Once each computer has been cleaned, they will be donated to local shelters and families who may not have access to computer equipment. Computer and internet literacy are vital skills that will help every child become more successful in their academic careers. Coleman is dedicated to promoting this literacy effort and we are doing our part by donating equipment to help maintain an equal educational playing field for young learners and their parents. We hope to continue to work closely with Ssubi again in the future, and we look forward to seeing all of the delighted faces of the families who will be receiving these donations.

For more information on the on-going efforts of Ssubi please visit their website: http://www.ssubi.org/ or check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ssubiishope/

 

Ransomware Global Strike: The “WannaCry” Attack

 

 

In the height of the westward expansion into California, the “Wild West” became not only a place, but a term that described an entire cultural phenomenon. What made the west so wild were the apparent lawless territories that saw hostile takeovers, train and carriage robberies, kidnapping, and ransoming. Over time the west was settled and developed into new states with their own laws and regulations. The wild part of the west was no longer a threat, at least in the physical world. Today we have a new and almost lawless place, however this territory only exists online. Though there are plenty of companies and programs that work 24/7 to ensure safety online, there are still opportunities for malicious attacks to be carried out. The robberies and takeovers that plagued the westward expansion have now become digital.

A typical scam that you will see online is the email phishing that we talked about in a previous blog. These scams can be easy to avoid as long as the recipient is not engaging with the email or providing any personal information. Unfortunately that does not always protect online users from being attacked for their information. Ransomware has become a bigger threat that is hard to trace and causes an incredible amount of damage. Essentially it is software that takes all of a victim’s personal files and information and holds it for a ransom that must be paid. Recently a large ransomware attack has become global news, with at least 150 countries experiencing the same attack. The most affected victims were the small businesses, universities, and hospitals that were unable to protect themselves and had to either pay the ransom or risk losing all of their data (CNN Money). Reports from China, Germany, Japan, Russia, the US, and Spain confirmed that there had been attacks from the same ransomware and that they had taken the necessary precautions to try and stop its spreading.

Through a patch in the Microsoft Windows software, the ransomware “WannaCrypt” was able to target specific users and take over their systems. Ransomware works as a lock box for your data, keeping you from accessing any of your files or personal information unless you agree to the terms and conditions set up by the creator. Victims were told to use Bitcoin to pay for the return of their files (Microsoft). Many of the Windows users who were targeted were not using an updated, or a licensed version of this software making them even more vulnerable to patches that could not be fixed in the Microsoft updates. In the wake of this viral attack, Microsoft released a statement outlining the efforts they were making to avoid these attacks in the future. However, they also called on the public to become more aware of their own responsibility in updating their computers and backing up their information with an external drive and cloud software. Proactive actions are the key to being safe online. This idea of being proactive is also what stopped the ransomware attack from continuing to spread. A young cybersecurity student in the UK decided to look more closely at the software behind the attack and discovered a kill switch. The malware was using “a very long nonsensical domain name that the malware makes a request to – just as if it was looking up any website – and if the request comes back and shows that the domain is live, the kill switch takes effect and the malware stops spreading” (The Guardian). Once the student located the domain name, all he had to do was buy it. The domain cost $10.69 and was immediately registering thousands of connections every second; once it was purchased the malware was stopped in its tracks. Additionally once this domain was bought he was able to determine the IP addresses attached to the malware and reported them to the authorities. Though this was a great victory, in the world of Cybersecurity it is just a temporary fix. There are just as many entities creating malware as there are cybersecurity experts trying to stop them. What makes this malware attack so dangerous is that it can be replicated and reused at any time.

Backing up files, or storing information in the Cloud, and regularly updating your software are the best measures you can take to protect yourself from ransomware. As we mentioned in a previous blog on email phishing, it is imperative that you avoid any email from a company or bank that is asking for your personal information via email.

If you are interested in becoming a cybersecurity expert yourself, consider a degree from Coleman University. Perhaps it could be you that stops the next big cyber-attack in its tracks! Call (858) 499-0202 for information on our technology focused programs.

 

Phishing Isn’t a Sport

Six tips from Coleman University on how to keep your email safe from phishing scams.

Cybersecurity is a hot button topic lately. With the rumors of Russian infiltration into the United States Presidential election, and the exposure of private emails and photos onto sites such as WikiLeaks, the privacy that we covet online is becoming increasingly endangered. With the recent phishing scam going through Google Docs, it is imperative to remember the necessary steps to take online in order to ensure that you are not a target of a scam. First, let’s review what online scamming/phishing looks like, and the ways to spot one.

The most likely scam that you will encounter is a phishing email that can be sent to your accounts. Phishing is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as “a scam by which an e-mail user is duped into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly.” An email may look legitimate with logos and graphics, but that does not mean that it should be taken at face value. For example, banks have taken a stance against phishing by only allowing account actions to be completed through their own websites or at a physical bank location. Your private bank will never ask you for passwords, social security numbers, account numbers, routing numbers, or any other private information via email (Telegraph.co.uk). Be on the lookout for emails that inform you of account changes or updates; if you did not authorize changes, immediately report this issue. The best course of action to protect yourself if you feel that you have been targeted by a scam is to document as much as you can with photos, emails, and phone calls. If an email comes into your inbox that seems suspicious call the company that supposedly sent it and ask about the email. Taking the initiative to validate the email before responding is one of the best ways to protect yourself from online threats. So what happened in regards to the Google Docs scam that went viral last week?

Gmail users were sent a notification from a known contact to click on a shared Google Doc. In order to access the document, the users had to authorize a transfer of contact information to the sender. Since the sender was perceived to be a friend or family member, there was little hesitation to allow this authorization. Routing the doc through an unauthorized Google Docs app prompted the Gmail user to allow the application to take control of their email information as a “management” tool (BGR.com). As a result, any personal information attached to contacts was downloaded and stored. Google reported shortly after this spamming went viral that over one million accounts were potentially compromised and the unauthorized application was shut down, as well as the email accounts that were the source of the scam. Information from email accounts linked to sites such as iTunes, Amazon, Twitter, and Facebook were the most vulnerable to this scam. Any users who had encountered this phishing email were asked to change their emails and passwords immediately. An interesting thing to note is that a majority of these emails were addressed to “hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh@mailinator.com” (Forbes.com).

One of the first things that you should look for when it comes to identifying phishing emails is the sender’s name, the name that they have addressed the email to, and the language they have used. If there are typos, or if the language is not clear, that should be your first indication that the email in question is not valid. Most often the email address of the sender will look like an official domain, but there could be minor differences such as a period between words, or a domain extension from another country such as “.ru” or “br”, which can be hard to miss. If links are provided in the body of the email, hover your cursor over them and the destination for the link should pop up. If an IP address comes up instead of the domain name, then the link could be fraudulent. Another item to look for is the tone of the message. If you receive an email that has a threat such as closure of an account, that tone is your best indication that the message is fraudulent. A good source of examples for phishing is the Microsoft website, which also lists the information for phishing phone calls and how to report phishing activity.

Taking that extra moment to evaluate an email is your best line of defense in keeping your private information safe. Make sure to update your email passwords and delete unwanted or fraudulent emails as soon as possible. If you are interested in how online security works, and want to learn more about protecting online identities think about the possibility of a career in Cybersecurity. This field is growing fast and will be a lucrative degree option long into the future. Call Coleman today to schedule an appointment and speak with an admissions counselor at (858) 499-0202 Monday through Friday.

 

 

Dynamic Selfies Coming Soon?

It’s a common known fact that people love to document their passions. That passion could be painting or car engines; or even just your new makeup or tech gadget. With documenting comes sharing, which our generation is very eager to do. Now with rising technologies and the explosion of social media, it has become an almost integral part of our day to document or ‘blog’ about ourselves.

With Instagram, people are able to share things they’ve found, new ideas as well as new looks through images. Combined with Facebook, it’s a constant stream of what people are up to. So what is the next big thing for our ‘selfie’ focused generation? Maybe Hovercams?

As absurd as that sounds it’s close to becoming a thing. Drone technology is on the rise, which will eventually lead to personal drone. It also isn’t that big of a step from having phones in our pockets 24/7, which we use to take pics and upload onto social media sites. Having one that can hover outside of your arm span to take the perfect selfie. Developers are working on the ‘Nixie’, a quadcopter camera drone — currently in the prototype phase — that’s designed to be flexible and lightweight enough to wrap around your wrist. When a selfie opportunity arises the Nixie detaches, flies to a likely spot, hovers and takes a picture.

Very similar to sic fi stories, but it looks promising. The idea was also used in the popular book series, ‘Uglies’ by Scott Westerfeld. In the 4th book, everyone has their own hover cam and news feed to post about themselves or their interests, when they want. The cams came in different sizes, heavy-duty large drones or ‘swarms’ of mini drones that constantly record their owner’s lives. This would be a step up from the selfie shots and could lead to other uses such as an upgrade to body cams worn by police.
It will be interesting to see the development of these devices.

Sources:
http://scottwesterfeld.com/books/uglies/
http://flynixie.com/