Criminals find every loophole - Eva Wolfangel 

 November 10, 2023

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“Die (Hacker) arbeiten wirklich wie so ein erfolgreiches Start-Up. Die haben spezielle Abteilungen für jeden kleinen Schritt im ganzen Prozess. Es gibt Spezialisten die Zugänge in Systeme finden und verkaufen, es gibt Experten für besonders gute Trojaner oder Viren…” – Eva Wolfangel

Cyber security is more important today than ever before. Hacker attacks are the order of the day. One example of their potentially devastating effects is the incident at Maersk. Eva went in search of security vulnerabilities herself and was able to penetrate deep into the systems of German universities and access sensitive data. Her research led to a deeper understanding of the working structures of hackers and the importance of putting yourself in the hacker's shoes when developing and maintaining software. Through her research, Eva changed her own behavior on the Internet. She gives us valuable tips for personal protection, but also for companies and software development teams.

Eva Wolfangel is an award-winning science and technology journalist, reporter and feature writer, speaker and presenter. Her focus is on future technologies and how they impact society. She speaks and writes about artificial intelligence, technology ethics, cybersecurity, virtual reality, the metaverse and neuroscience. Eva Wolfangel is part of the 2020 class of the Knight Science Journalism Fellowship at MIT in Boston. In 2020 she was awarded the German Reporter Award. In 2018, she was named European Science Journalist of the Year by the Association of British Science Writers.

Highlights in this episode:

  • Eva Wolfangel gives insights into the world of cybercrime and shares stories from her work
  • We discuss how important it is to take security breaches seriously and how institutions respond to them
  • Eva gives practical tips on how to protect personal data and emphasizes the importance of two-factor authentication
  • Eva talks about her research at universities and how she uncovered many security gaps
  • She emphasizes the importance of updating software regularly and only using trusted apps
  • Eva shares the story of Maersk, a logistics company that was almost destroyed by a cyberattack
  • Wir sprechen über die Notwendigkeit, in der Softwareentwicklung Sicherheit ernst zu nehmen und ein kriminelles Mindset zu entwickeln, um Sicherheitslücken zu finden


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An in-depth conversation about cybercrime

TLDR: This article is about the exciting conversation with journalist and author Eva Wolfangel about cybercrime, hacker mindset and security gaps at universities. Find out how you can protect yourself better and what companies can learn to make their systems more secure.

The importance of cyber security

Welcome to an exciting episode that takes us deeper into the world of cybercrime. This week I had the pleasure of speaking with renowned journalist and author Eva Wolfangel. Her area of expertise? The dark corners of the internet where cybercriminals lurk. Eva shares her insights into the mindset of hackers, the art of social engineering and why it's important for all of us to stay vigilant. This conversation highlights not only the risks, but also how we can protect ourselves in an increasingly connected world.

Understanding the hacker mindset

Eva begins our conversation with a fascinating insight into the hacker mindset. 'I've actually talked to criminals or ever criminals directly,' she says. It's her perspective and her job to find every loophole. This understanding is crucial - not just for those working in cyber security, but for all of us. Because ultimately, security directors also use a similar mindset: Where are gaps? How can I use a system in a way that wasn't intended?

Stories from the Darknet

Eva shares stories from her research on the Darknet, a place where everything can be found: personal data, addresses and even reports to the police. 'So many systems are hacked every day,' she says. This section is a frightening illustration of how easily personal information can fall into the wrong hands and why it is so important to be careful with the data we share online.

Universities targeted by hackers

A particularly alarming part of our conversation revolved around colleges and universities. Together with an ethical hacker, Eva found that one in five universities had significant security breaches. From transcripts to student grades, sensitive data was easily accessible. This shines a bright light on the need for stronger security measures in educational institutions.

Ransomware attacks: a real threat

Ransomware attacks are a particularly malicious form of cybercrime. Eva explains: 'Companies often see no other solution than to pay. But this only encourages this criminal business model further. This highlights the importance of taking preventative measures and not waiting until it's too late to act.

Practical tips for protecting your data

Finally, Eva gives practical tips on how to improve your own cyber security: use two-factor authentication and install software updates promptly. These simple steps can make a big difference and provide a first line of defense against potential attacks.