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If you get a message like this, don’t call back, hang up the phone. This is a scam. Police will not call you, they’ll knock on your door. Remember, a crooks primary goal is to separate you from your hard earned money.

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Make sure your private information is not exposed. Your disk still has all your information even if you delete the data. When you delete information from your disk, what happens is the index pointing to your data is deleted, your data is still on the disk. If you’re like me, you have photos, documents, and emails. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like people reading my private emails to friends, customers, and acquaintances.

Blancco and data recovery company Ontrack performed a study of 159 disk drives purchased on ebay. Ontrack recovered information from 42% of the drives. Now, personally I don’t sell my used equipment; however you might do that. There is an easy and safe way to sell your old devices and not worry about exposing your information to strangers.


I use the free version of CCleaner. (Note: I have not received any compensation for this, it’s just the tool that I use) CCleaner has the ability to securely delete information on the disk and also keep your disk from getting cluttered with junk that windows does not clean up. Personally I run this about once a week.

When you select wipe free space, You’ll get a popup window that will tell you the process will take a long time. So, this is not something you want to run on a regular basis. When I’ve run it in the past, it has taken three days to run on the 1T drive in my laptop.

Once you’ve installed CCleaner, select Options, then under settings select the Secure Delete and in the pulldown select how secure you want your deletion. I use Advanced Overwrite 3 pass, this is pretty secure. This option will overwrite your deleted files three times with random data and if you select wipe free space, it will overwrite your free space three times with random data.


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Love my life

This year has been busy, and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. Life is good. The my chapters are all finally in for the Database Security book, now it’s time to edit. After reading the audit chapter, I’m not really happy with it. Once I’m done editing it, the version APRESS gets back may not look a lot like v0.1.

This May my travels are going to take me to Kiev Ukraine, Chișinău Moldova, Helsinki Finland, Stockholm Sweden, back to Kiev, and home just in time to celebrate my 59th birthday (am I starting to get old?). I’ll be speaking in Helsinki at the Full Stack Developers Conference on PL/SQL Secure Coding Practices https://fsdc.fi/ then heading over to Stockholm to do a couple talks on Holistic Database Security, Secure Coding Practices, and discuss Privilege Analysis.

June is going to be a bit easier, I’ll be in Bulgaria for BGOUG to talk about Privilege analysis and Leadership; then back to Chișinău and Barcelona to take care of some business.

July, oh, that’s simple, back to Bulgaria again (third trip there this year) where I’ll be speaking at the IEEE International Conference on Software Quality, Reliability, and Security. https://qrs19.techconf.org/track/tutorials The topic, Database Secure Coding and Design.

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I learned this morning a dear friends elderly relatives received a number of calls from someone claiming to be from their bank. I won’t go into all the issues; however there are some things everyone should be aware of. BTW: This not only applies to banks, this applies to any call you receive (Bank, IRS, Police, Insurance Company). There are a lot of criminals out there, please, don’t be a victim. For those who don’t know me, I spent twelve years at Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) I know a bit about this.

  1. Remember the criminals top priority is to steal from you.
  2. Your bank will never call you and ask for personal information. Sometimes this is hidden with, “we must verify your identity.” Bottom line, your bank will not do this. This is a trick to steal from you.
  3. It is very easy to spoof a phone number. Do not trust the phone number that is displayed.
  4. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, get their Name, Phone number, and department. Then call the bank at a phone number you know is good and ask to be connected.
  5. If the bank can’t find that person, ask to speak with the fraud department. They can investigate.
  6. These call will try to create a sense of urgency, that you must talk to them now. Do not fall for it. This is just another trick criminals use to steal from you.
  7. Last piece of advice, Hang up the phone and block the number.
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This morning I learned of a young friend who was scammed out of some money online. Things like this always make me angry and I did not think I would ever have to post something like this because we all know these things right? Well no, some people have not been exposed to criminals and are trusting souls. This is for you gentle souls out there; and hope you don’t have to become callous and paranoid like me.

I spent about twelve years working in Financial Crimes (FinCEN), combined with being the Information Security Guy; you listen to me, this is something I know a great deal about.

Rule #1: I live by simple rules. Simple rules have kept me alive for almost 59 years; simple rules work.

Rule #2: When it comes to dealing with anything that has to do with money and the internet – be paranoid, be very paranoid. I always assume the person on the other end is a criminal, because there is a very high probability the person is a criminal.

Rule #3: If someone is offering to pay you money, they will not ask for any kind of payment from you. If you are asked for a payment, even a tiny amount this is a scam. You are dealing with a criminal who wants to steal from you.

Rule #4: If someone is offering you something of value for a service, opinion, survey, etc, they will not ask for any kind of payment from you. If you are asked for a payment, even a tiny amount, this is a scam. You are dealing with a criminal who wants to steal from you.

Rule #5: If you believe someone is a public figure and they are asking you for money or anything of value, it is a scam. You are dealing with a criminal who wants to steal from you.

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The book I’m currently working on is a technical book on Database Application Security. While writing, I frequently find myself trying to explain something and I can’t quite come up with a good explanation. This normally indicates I don’t understand something well enough to explain it; therefore it goes into my “What I don’t know book.” (we can discuss that another day.)

So I’m working on a book, and get stuck. The first thing I do is write down what I don’t know in the form of a question. Case in point, working on the Unified Audit section and I wanted to explain, “how come unified audit does not immediately write to the database, you have to turn immediate write on.” Many years ago, I learned not to go with the first answer that comes to my mind. It may be right, it may be wrong.

To keep me moving forward on the chapter, I could either 1) start researching the answer and wind up going down a rabbit hole. Or 2) I can insert the question into the chapter in the form of a question.

<QUESTION> why does unified audit pause writing to the database? </QUESTION> Then scribble that same question into the notebook I carry with me.

I choose to use #2, because it allows me to stay focused on writing. I can then come back to the question, do my research and get an accurate answer.

Inserting and tagging questions is a great way to keep the focus on the work you are currently doing. You can research later, then maybe talk a walk and ponder just how your are going to answer the question.

Shaka

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I’ve been doing this a long time, and there two infosec errors that I keep seeing. Granting DBA to an application and people using the application account. The problem of granting DBA to an application account is compounded when people actually logon to the application account to work.

Oracle has the DBMS_PRIVILEGE_CAPTURE package that is now licensed to Enterprise Edition. It’s a powerful tool to fix over privileged accounts; yet when someone logs on as the application to do dba work, then all bets are off.

1) Don’t grant DBA to application accounts. Figure out what privileges the account needs and grant those privileges.

2) Don’t use an application account to do your work.

3) Use the DBMS_PRIVILEGE_CAPTURE package to analyze what privileges your users are using and dial back over privileged accounts.

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When using ENCRYPTION_PASSWORD with expdp and impdp, your history file (ie .bash_history) will store the password in plain text and if you’re sending the password over the wire, your network better be encrypted.!!!!!

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