February 21, 2017

Hunted Recap Episode 6: A $250,000 Gamble

Did you catch "A $250,000 Gamble" on Hunted?  In this episode, the Fortalice Solutions’ team, along with the Command Center Investigators, looked at the cyber footprint of the fugitives’ circle of trust.  Four of the nine teams are still on the run -- David and Emiley, English and Stephen, Aarif and Immad, and Lee and Hilmar.

If this episode had you wondering how to protect the security of your personal information, don’t worry. We have the Fortalice Fix.

Digital Photos & Videos

In "A $250,000 Gamble,” Lee’s wife, Beth, posted a picture on Facebook of herself with, Lee and Hilmar standing on an airstrip near a private plane. That provided the Intel team with a lot of information for our case.  The first place we started was information stored within the photo.

The moment you take a photo or video on your smartphone or tablet, your device records metadata.  This can include the device information as well as the date, time and the geo-coded location of where you were when you snapped the photo.  It stores this information in the EXIF data.  

If you’re wondering how to take a look at your EXIF data, go to the nearest Mac, right click the photo and select “Get Info.” You will see the EXIF data. If you’re a PC user, right click and pick “Properties.”   

Regardless if you see this as  creepy or cool, you can map all your photos across the globe with that EXIF information.  For example, if you have an iPhoto program, you can click on the “Places” icon, and it will map all your photos by geography. These features can be used against you to understand your patterns of life.  

You can turn off geo-codes on your devices and social media by accessing the privacy settings.  

Online Anonymity

Cyber criminals use anonymity to commit their online crimes.  Honest people, even those with nothing to hide, should consider using techniques to hide their digital tracks.  It may help protect you from unethical marketers, politicians, fraudsters and other various bad guys.  

  • Avoid using your real full name online for account IDs and email IDs.

  • Ask yourself why a site is asking you to reveal personal information for your online accounts. Opt out of providing this information whenever possible.

  • Set up a separate account and nickname for use on sites where people with like interests, otherwise known as affinity groups, gather.

  • Set your browser to alert you every time a site tries to install a cookie (a small program that stores information about your browsing history) so you can choose whether or not the cookie is installed. Using strong passwords can help you protect your anonymity online by keeping the bad guys out of your social networking, ecommerce and email accounts.

  • Tracking cookies can be used to follow your online activities, possibly revealing the passwords and account information you enter on your keyboard to others. Set up your anti-spyware program to delete tracking cookies.

  • Most popular browsers offer an option to delete your browsing history so others can’t easily see where you’ve been online.

  • Use a firewall in your operating system or from a third-party software program to protect your home Internet access.

  • Make sure you use your email service provider’s SSL-encrypted option. Many of these options are newer, and you might have to opt in to get this service. By using the SSL-encrypted service you help keep snoopers and prying eyes from stripping you of your anonymity.

Privacy is incredibly important. Privacy is not the same thing as anonymity. It’s very important that Google and everyone else respects people’s privacy. People have a right to privacy; it’s natural; it’s normal. It’s the right way to do things.” -- Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

I am the Deputy Commander of Intel and my team is made up of the best of the best cyber and intel investigators. This episode highlighted some of the fabulous brains and skills of the Lenny, Andy, Ryan and the Ground Hunters as well as the great research and analysis work by Ben, Myke, Charles, Landon, Aki, Connie, Zaira, and Steven.

What are your thoughts on Hunted? We would love to hear from you! Follow Fortalice on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and use #Hunted to let us know your thoughts!

Watch past episodes of Hunted!