fbpx
The History of Spooky Halloween Traditions

The History of Spooky Halloween Traditions

Halloween is easily my favorite holiday. The many universal traditions involved with the holiday make Halloween both fun and unique. Some familiar rituals include carving pumpkins, searching for the perfect costume, trick-or-treating, decorating homes in spooky décor, or going through spook alleys. However, these traditions have ancient European and paganistic roots. Join Dynagrace Enterprises on our unique Halloween-themed blog on the history of common Halloween traditions.

The Date of October 31st

In 609 A.D., Christian leader, Pope Boniface IV, declared May 13th “All Martyrs Day.” This holiday persisted for nearly 200 years until the eighth century when Pope Gregory III declared that the celebration failed to recognize saints. He then mandated November 1st be a holiday celebrating all martyrs as well as saints. This holiday became known as “All Saints Day.” However, the new holiday overlapped with the Celtic New Year on the same day. The Celts had superstitious beliefs and would fill the holiday night with bonfires and chants to ward off evil spirits.

With the holidays on the same day, the principles and ideas behind them merged. Since the Celts believed that November 1st marked the end of summer and the beginning of the dark and deadly winter, the holiday became based on the idea that the veil between life and death was at its thinnest the day before the winter months began. This ideology meant that spirits could travel to the world of the living for one night. This new holiday on the 31st of October became known as Samheim or Holy Eve.

As the European ethnic groups meshed, Halloween became more commonplace. Now, the holiday is marked with numerous parties, people dressed in costumes, and ghost stories to celebrate the undead.

Iconic Halloween Colors

Based on ancient Celtic rituals, November 1st marked the end of the year and beginning of the cold and deadly winter. Many impoverished people died during the winter months because of the low temperatures and the lack of food. However, once warmer weather rolled along, poverty-stricken citizens could plant seeds and grow their harvest. The transition of seasons is the reason behind the classic Halloween hues of black and orange. Celts designated black to symbolize the terrible winters, and orange signified the hope and life associated with the summer months.

The Name “Halloween”

The term “Halloween” is thought to have originated in Scotland. It derived from the term “Holy Eve” which refers to the day before the Celtic New Year. In 1783, Glasgow poet John Main referred to the holiday as “Hallow-E’en” in his poem. His poetry became so immersed in the Celtic culture that the populace quickly defined October 31st as Hallow-E’en in replacement of Samheim or Holy Eve.

Jack-O-Lanterns

According to old Irish legend, there once existed a man named Stingy Jack who tried to cheat the devil. He repeatedly hunted and imprisoned Satan until he agreed not to send Stingy Jack to Hell when he died. While he successfully avoided going to Hell, he never found his place in Heaven. According to the lore, God barred Stingy Jack from entering the gates of Heaven, so Jack was doomed to straddle both Heaven and Hell or eternity. As a punishment, the devil cursed him to roam the earth forever using a hollowed turnip as a lantern.

Initially, people carved turnips and placed them in their windows to scare away “Jack of the Lantern” as well as other evil spirits. However, as immigrants came to America, they discovered that pumpkins make even better Jack-O-Lanterns.

Costumes

Wearing costumes on Halloween also has Celtic roots. During Samhain, they believed that the dead walked among the living. They also claimed that the evil spirits sought to harm the populace. However, ghosts couldn’t hurt their kind. Therefore, to protect themselves,  they wore animal skin costumes that they thought disguised them as spirits. These costumes allowed them to hide in plain sight.

Trick-or-Treating

Throughout Samhain, the Celts had food offering that served to ward off evil spirits. However, some people began dressing up as ghosts to take advantage of the free food. These devious behaviors helped fuel the trick-or-treat culture.

Furthermore, in the Middle Ages, Christians would celebrate All Saints Day, and the poor would go “souling.” Souling is when individuals would visit a house and offer to say prayers for the family’s dead relatives in exchange for food. These food sacrifices became known as “soul cakes.”

As Halloween became more prevalent in America in the 19th century, the holiday took on a mischievous aspect. Instead of equal exchanges, it became more extortive by implying, “Give us treats, or we will prank you.” This new mindset is how the phrase “Trick or treat” came to be. However, vandalism grew rampant with this mindset, so, in the 1930’s, the communities encouraged the fun trick-or-treating traditions and atmosphere that we have today.

 

For more information, visit our website https://dynagrace.com/.

Resources: https://www.rd.com/culture/chilling-history-of-halloween-traditions/https://www.thestreet.com/lifestyle/holidays-events/history-of-halloween-14735477https://www.history.com/topics/halloween/history-of-halloween

Picture Resources: Featured Image: https://pixabay.com/en/moon-night-full-moon-gespenstig-703538/.https://pixabay.com/en/jack-o-lanterns-lit-pumpkins-3735386/https://pixabay.com/en/halloween-trick-or-treat-pumpkin-1773447/https://pixabay.com/en/ghost-black-and-white-dark-horror-1280683/https://pixabay.com/en/pumpkin-lady-halloween-1713381/

 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

 

With over 4.2 billion users surfing the internet, it may seem nearly impossible to protect your sensitive information from hackers and thieves. Devices connected to the internet often house our personal and professional lives. If a cyber criminal compromised this sensitive information, there could be disastrous consequences. However, the government dedicated the month of October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month in 2004 to educate internet users on how to navigate the web safely.

 

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

NASDAQ Marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month

NASDAQ Marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month
The Boeing Company via Flickr

During October, the United States Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance provide easily accessible information and tips to all netizens on how they can protect themselves online. The campaign is vital because it gives everyone in the cyberspace tools and knowledge to thwart cybercriminals. Although society is quickly shifting to a more digitalized world, it is surprising that the majority of users are blissfully unaware of the threats they can encounter online. Sharing too much information on social media sites, sending unencrypted personal information electronically, and making purchases on unsafe websites are common ways that criminals gain access to sensitive information.

“While the speed at which technology and information move can expose us to new risks online, it also enables a level of sharing and cooperation that can make us more resilient to cyber threats… National Cybersecurity Awareness Month isn’t just about understanding the risks, but also emphasizing our collective power to combat them.” – FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Matt Gorham.

Furthermore, basic cyberattacks on personal devices can give criminals access to large businesses and organizations. For example, a hacker gained access to an employees computer information that eventually led to a cybersecurity breach against the United States Office of Personnel Management. The attack cost the company $21.5 million. Therefore, it is imperative that every individual takes proper cybersecurity precautions.

 

Results

As the government further educates internet users on cybersecurity risks, people are installing more security software. The number of software downloads increased significantly since 2004. Additionally, more cybercriminals are being reported and convicted. For example, the government arrested a cyber criminal who attempted to access university databases, 74 arrests of members of the overseas transnational criminal networks and a North Korean regime programmer who conspired to conduct multiple damaging cyber attacks resulting in extensive data and money loss, hardware destruction, and the loss of other resources.

With increased awareness, internet users can stay safe and protect their private information. Cybersecurity is a responsibility that lies on everyone’s shoulders. If we all fulfill our duty, we can significantly decrease the number of information breaches.

 

For more information about cybersecurity, visit our website https://dynagrace.com/.

 

Resources: https://www.normantranscript.com/opinion/happy-cyber-security-awareness-month/article_2864473b-205f-51c1-b06a-a793e2ffb5c9.htmlhttps://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/ncsam-2018https://www.army.mil/article/211977/keep_info_safe_during_cyber_security_awareness_monthhttps://www.wombatsecurity.com/cybersecurity-awareness-month?utm_term=%2Bcyber%20%2Bsecurity%20%2Bawareness%20%2Bmonth&utm_campaign=Security+Awareness+Month&utm_source=adwords&utm_medium=ppc&hsa_acc=8253056476&hsa_net=adwords&hsa_cam=1566723829&hsa_ad=295401163184&hsa_kw=%2Bcyber%20%2Bsecurity%20%2Bawareness%20%2Bmonth&hsa_grp=60967832564&hsa_mt=b&hsa_ver=3&hsa_src=g&hsa_tgt=kwd-368130389969&gclid=Cj0KCQjw6rXeBRD3ARIsAD9ni9DBJ8oOpYn7F2kz2M5GzZfQUn5qnX-DKgeh8mJkvHtEdgtNDSPMCfQaAvIeEALw_wcB

Picture Resources: Featured Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/79061493@N04/10442488614/in/photostream/https://www.flickr.com/photos/conquest-uk/30363339915/https://www.flickr.com/photos/theboeingcompany/8090236600/

 

U.S. Weapons System Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

U.S. Weapons System Vulnerable to Cyberattacks

In a digitalized society, the importance of having top-notch cybersecurity has never been more crucial. Cyber-attacks can destroy businesses, reveal sensitive information, and drain your finances. Additionally, according to a new publication, they can also cause mass destruction and death. Recently, an audit by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of the U.S. military’s newly developed weaponry systems revealed that they have critical cyber vulnerabilities. These security holes allow hackers easy access to control all of the U.S.’s computerized weapons systems. Furthermore, these findings indicate that, while the military prioritized the development of weapons, they failed to focus on the cybersecurity.

The Audit

The government conducted an audit from 2012 to 2017 that focused on their developing weaponry systems. They utilized skilled, friendly hackers to probe the Pentagon’s online networks for security holes and weaknesses. After releasing their findings this past Tuesday, the results are shocking. The hackers discovered carelessness and negligence in nearly all developing weapons systems. These security vulnerabilities allowed them to easily access the country’s military weapons through online means. Furthermore, in their reports, they stated that they were able to take control of entire systems, view the operator’s computer screens, and delete and add data. As a joke, they even flashed pop-up messages on the operator’s computer screens telling them that they needed to insert quarters before proceeding.

Moreover, while these results are startling, the agency warned that the reported problems represented a small fraction of the overall cyber vulnerabilities in the Defense Department.

What Caused the Security Vulnerabilities?

The GAO listed negligence to fundamental cybersecurity practices as the primary cause of the vulnerabilities. One typical example they saw was using default passwords. In one instance, the team of hackers took a total of nine seconds to guess an administrator’s security password.

“Due to this lack of focus on weapon systems cybersecurity, DOD likely has an entire generation of systems that were designed and built without adequately considering cybersecurity. . . Bolting on cybersecurity late in the development cycle or after a system has been deployed is more difficult and costly than designing it in from the beginning.” –GAO report

Past Reports

This report remains one of many warning the government of deficient cybersecurity. In 1996, the GAO brought cybersecurity vulnerabilities to the public’s attention. Additionally, in 2004, they notified the Pentagon that connecting military systems through the Internet also opened the door to hackers.

Furthermore, while the Pentagon issued a report that they are improving their security standards in response to the audit, many people question their sincerity. In one of the past assessments, the Pentagon only corrected 1 out of 20 identified vulnerabilities.

Threats of Digitalization

As a society, we tend to transition physical objects onto online networks so they can be controlled and operated online. In the government’s case, they digitally transitioned the control of weapons and spent approximately $1.6 trillion developing the new system. While online controls are convenient for us, it also opens the door to the possibility of hackers gaining control of these objects and using them to hurt or kill others.

On the other hand, digitalizing the weaponry system has allows the Pentagon to increase their military capabilities beyond what they could have imagined. For example, the F-23 Joint Strike Fighter is connected to millions of digital coding lines that allow it to activate and target areas. While using multiple codes as a safeguard is a great idea, it only truly protects others if it has cybersecurity against hackers.

 

For more information about cybersecurity, visit our website https://dynagrace.com/.

Resources: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/10/10/nearly-all-new-us-weapons-systems-have-critical-cyber-security-problems-auditors-say/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.9da3d54db4ffhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/defense-industry-grapples-with-cybersecurity-flaws-in-new-weapons-systems/2018/10/14/b1de3bae-ce36-11e8-a360-85875bac0b1f_story.html?utm_term=.c77ebadd1d0ehttps://sputniknews.com/us/201810141068879069-us-cyber-security-pentagon-risks/https://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/411232-watchdog-exposes-pentagons-cyber-struggles?amp

Picture Resources: Featured Image: https://pixabay.com/en/f-35a-lightning-ii-fighter-jet-2657514/https://pixabay.com/en/pentagon-washington-dc-military-80394/https://pixabay.com/en/internet-cyber-network-finger-3589685/https://pixabay.com/en/internet-security-password-login-1952019/

Third-Party Applications

Third-Party Applications

Third-party applications are any software app made by someone who isn’t the manufacturer of the mobile device it runs on or its operating system. They also exist through websites and social media. For example, Facebook has third-party apps that it permits even though they were not developed to function on the popular social media site. While these types of apps may sound foreign, they are actually very prominent. Apple Store and Google Play contain thousands of third-party apps. Furthermore, they are ubiquitous on every social media site.

Types of Third-Party Applications

  • Apps downloadable through unofficial app stores: These applications are not created by organizations affiliated with the device or its operating system. They are offered through third-party app stores. These stores have lower security standards, so use caution downloading applications from them.

  • Apps downloadable through official app stores: These applications are made by organizations other than the Google Play Store and the Apple Store. To be accepted in these stores, they must follow their safety guidelines.
  • Apps that connect with other services: These applications are commonly found on social media sites. They often and enhance features or provide fun quizzes or games in exchange for profile information. One example is Quizzstar, which can be located on Facebook. The app requires permission to access Facebook profile information. It isn’t downloaded, but people grant it access to potentially sensitive information.

Official App Stores vs. Third-Party App Stores

Third party application stores are unofficial app stores that offer a multitude of third-party applications. They often tempt customers to buy and download their applications by providing a much lower price in comparison to the official app stores. Another tantalizing aspect about these stores is that they accept alternative currency, such as cryptocurrency so that users can remain anonymous. Furthermore, there are currently over 300 third-party stores, and that number continues to grow as society becomes more digitalized.

In comparison to third-party application stores, first-party stores offer native apps as well as third-party apps. Native applications are produced and distributed by the device’s manufacturer or operating system creator using proprietary source codes. They are commonly found pre-downloaded on devices or through official app stores such as the Apple Store and Google Play. Some typical examples of these on iPhones are iTunes, iBooks, and Message.

Safety Risk

The significant difference between third-party stores and official application stores is that the official stores have higher security to protect you from malicious third-party applications. Many phone services even ban the use of third-party application stores so they cannot compromise your device. Often, when you download an insecure third-party app, it infects your device with malicious software commonly in the form of Trojan horses. Most third-party applications require access to your profile information. This gives them access to your contacts, passwords, financial accounts, emails, pictures, and a lot of other sensitive information that can provide them with access to infiltrate your device and compromise your data. Furthermore, they can also duplicate your profile, which exposes your personal information to potentially harmful individuals. Additionally, they can use your information to form a botnet.

How to Avoid Infection

The best way to prevent your device from being infected by third-party apps is by avoiding third-party application stores. While they may have a few safe apps, their security standards are far below what the official app stores offer.

Also, for social media third-party applications, they often ask for access to your account information. Many people quickly grant them access without reading what information they require. Instead of blindly permitting them access to your data, be sure to read over what they want access to in order to ensure your private information stays secure.

Another way to prevent infection is by using cybersecurity products that scan your device for malicious software. Furthermore, it is imperative that you run scans frequently and keep your software up to date.

 

For more information about cybersecurity, visit our website https://dynagrace.com/.

https://www.lifewire.com/what-is-a-third-party-app-4154068https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-mobile-the-risks-of-third-party-app-stores.htmlhttps://help.twitter.com/en/managing-your-account/connect-or-revoke-access-to-third-party-appshttps://www.wandera.com/third-party-app-stores/https://www.t-mobile.com/responsibility/privacy/resources/device-apps

Image Resources: Featured Image: https://pixabay.com/en/photography-taking-picture-display-801891/https://pixabay.com/en/users/LoboStudioHamburg-13838/https://pixabay.com/en/app-store-iphone-store-apps-1174440/https://pixabay.com/en/mobile-phone-smartphone-keyboard-1917737/

 

 

Smartphones Need Cybersecurity

Smartphones Need Cybersecurity

We live in a digital age where everything is online, and smartphones are an efficient and convenient vehicle to access and share electronic information. However, this accessibility increases the threat of cyber attacks. Malware, viruses, Trojans, and botnets are becoming increasingly common infections on smartphones.  Despite this threat, many people overlook the need for smartphone cybersecurity software. In a recent study, 96% of smartphones do not have installed security software, which puts the user’s personal information at risk. Additionally, big-name online security companies often do not make traditional software that is found on personal computers, such as firewalls, antivirus, and encryption, for popular smartphone devices (i.e., iPhone, Android, and Blackberry).

Why Do Smartphones Need Cybersecurity?

Smartphones are essentially small computers with a mobile operating system. However, smartphones are more vulnerable to cyber attacks than personal computers because we use them for more personal tasks. Smartphones can access emails, monetary transactions, social media applications, and accessing online banking. Through their use, our phones compile a large collection of personal information that is extremely attractive to hackers.

Furthermore, smartphones often use “clouds” to sync data across all of a user’s devices. Therefore, a hacker only needs access to one device to retrieve all of your information on the cloud.

Additionally, attackers can utilize an employee’s smartphone to infiltrate company information. A recent study found that 67% of companies and organizations suffered a data breach due to a hacker infiltrating an employee’s smartphone.

How Are Smartphones Hacked and Infected?

Third Party App Stores

Many app stores entice people with lower prices for their applications. However, the Apple App Store and Google Play are the safest sources for applications because, unlike third-party companies, they have security measures that filter out malware-infected apps. Third-party stores are highly unregulated and can trick you into downloading a malware-infested application that compromises your data. In a recent study, scientists found that attackers used illegitimate apps to infiltrate 1.3 million Google accounts in 2016.

Drive-by Downloads

Drive-by downloads are any malware that installs itself onto your device without your approval. These are found on fraudulent websites and emails, and, once you access them, the drive-by begins to download infectious software onto your smartphone.

7 Ways to Avoid Hackers and Smartphone Infection

1. Install Security Software and Keep it Updated

Security Software is necessary for any device that can access the internet. The software is designed to patch security holes that make your information vulnerable. Furthermore, each update keeps the device secure against new security holes, so it’s important to have the most current software.

2. Keep your Operating System Updated

Updates for smartphone operating systems are released to improve your phone’s innate security. While many people worry about the time and space that these updates cost, it is important to utilize them. These updates keep hackers at bay and protect your personal information.

3. Don’t Jailbreak Your Phone and Be Careful Installing Apps

Many people are tempted to jailbreak their phones to use other application stores. However, you should only install apps from credible stores such as Google Play and the Apple App. Furthermore, be aware of what information you are giving applications access to on your phone. As consumers, we often overlook these small details and give them access to whatever they want. However, unlimited access can allow them to install malicious software on your device.

4. Use a Password Lock on Your Device

Having a screen-lock is the first level of defense against an information breach. Even if the phone gets stolen, the screen-lock can prevent access to most intruders. While a password may seem obvious, studies show that most people don’t have a passcode lock because it is an inconvenience.

Furthermore, passwords and passcodes are the preferred types of protection. Many people utilize biometric identifications, but they prove to be less effective. In many court rulings, the U.S. found that individuals must unlock their phones if utilizing biometric identification. However, they are not mandated to reveal their passcode.

5. Be Aware of Wi-Fi Networks and Bluetooth

It is very tempting to connect to public Wi-Fi networks. However, open networks make it extremely easy for hackers to intercept your online traffic and infiltrate your system. Therefore, never use open public networks to send or access sensitive information such as passwords or banking information.

Bluetooth is another easy way for attackers to access your phone. Therefore, whenever you aren’t using, turn it off.

6. Wipe Data from Old Phones

Before selling or disposing of an old phone, be sure to erase all of your data from it and restore it to factory settings. By doing so, it prevents attackers from accessing your personal information through your old phone.

7. Report any Stolen Smartphone

If your phone is stolen, report it to the local law enforcement authorities and register the stolen device with your provider. By registering the phone, it notifies you when someone tries to access a wireless network. Furthermore, it utilizes a “bricking” mechanism that prevents the phone from being activated on a wireless network.

 

For more information about cybersecurity, visit our website https://dynagrace.com/.

Resources: https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-emerging-threats-why-smartphones-and-tablets-need-security-software.htmlhttps://medium.com/threat-intel/smartphone-security-tips-f0c30c309030https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/smartphone-security-guide-keep-your-phone-data-safe/https://www.fcc.gov/sites/default/files/smartphone_master_document.pdfhttps://www.researchgate.net/publication/255965434_Cyber_Security_and_Mobile_Threats_The_Need_For_Antivirus_Applications_For_Smart_Phones

Picture Resources: Featured Image: https://pixabay.com/en/phone-cell-cell-phone-cellphone-690091/https://pixabay.com/en/app-store-iphone-store-apps-1174440/https://pixabay.com/en/adult-body-casual-close-up-1867757/https://pixabay.com/en/coding-computer-hacker-hacking-1841550/https://pixabay.com/en/signal-travel-landscape-stencil-2237664/,

Pin It on Pinterest