The cybersecurity world lost a giant when Kevin Mitnick – “The World’s Most Wanted Hacker” and the inspiration for the movie War Games – died.
A self-described old-school hacker, Mitnick spent time in prison for a spree of high-profile hacks, including an alleged heist of $1 million in proprietary software from Digital Equipment Corporation in the 1980s.
But after his release from prison, Mitnick turned over a new leaf and joined the other side. He became a crusader for cybersafety and a consultant for the security awareness training company KnowBe4.
“He was referred to as the world’s most famous hacker, but he was REALLY the most famous social engineer of our time,” writes KnowBe4 president Stu Sjouwerman in this blogpost. “Kevin inspired KnowBe4’s training curriculum from the moment he agreed to be our ‘Chief Hacking Officer’ and was critical in elevating KnowBe4’s brand awareness in the industry. His extensive experience with social engineering is forever woven into KnowBe4’s DNA. Rest in peace, Kev, we will always love and miss you.”
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Inactive Google Accounts Being Deleted
If you wake one morning to find your Google account has been deleted, don’t panic. Google announced earlier this year that in December 2023 it would begin deleting user accounts that have been inactive for two or more years.
Following are comments from KnowBe4 president Stu Sjouwerman on this development:
“This policy change is meant to enhance security, as abandoned accounts are more likely to be compromised and 10x less likely to have multi-factor authentication enabled. The policy applies to content within Google Workspace (Gmail, Docs, Drive, Meet, Calendar) and Google Photos.
A few ways to keep an account status active include reading or sending an email, using Google Drive, watching a YouTube video, downloading an app on the Google Play Store, using Google Search and more. Google’s announcement post gives more details around affected accounts, backup instructions, and more.
While account deletion isn’t set to begin for several months, notification emails have started going out to account owners. We haven’t seen them yet, but this is prime fodder for phishing attacks that impersonate Google. It’s only a matter of time before cybercriminals use this news to scam people into going to malicious websites, where their Google account credentials can be harvested.
You should warn your users now to keep them aware of potential attacks. Any urgent account alert emails should be scrutinized closely. Instead of clicking a link in an email, it’s best to go directly to Google accounts that could be affected by this policy change.”
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