5 Ways Passwords & Other Data Can Be Stolen From Right Under Your Nose
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This week we have a White Paper authored by Christian Cawley Via a web site we subscribe to Make Use Of. MakeUseOf is a leading destination for digital productivity tips and your guide to cool stuff on the Internet. With staff located around the world they have been bringing valuable information to small and large business since 2006.
By Christian Cawley
Now you see what’s happened, don’t you? I make plans, and then I can’t fulfil them thanks to the various demands of life, finding crap websites to read and other distractions.
In truth, of course, I’ve been decorating a nursery as well as working very hard to make sure things are comfortable when the babies come.
That was the plan, at least. As it turns out, thanks to the way I work and the Google “panda bomb” it isn’t really going to work out that way. Rather, any extra work I do will only improve existing content on Bright Hub which will benefit me later on, rather than straight away.
Luckily, other projects are on the horizon with at least Project: KMag soon demanding my direct attention. In fact next week I need to take a day out of writing to attend to other projects and planning.
Such days always fell like a risk as I regularly feel uncomfortable if I’m not doing something that is generating income in real time…
Read the original article here:
Your password is you. It’s the key to your life. Whether it unlocks your email account, your computer or your smartphone, the password is vital to your online persona, the usernames, website accounts, perhaps banking and credit cards, cloud storage, and even gaming accounts. If you lose your password to criminals, your entire existence can potentially be rewritten. At best, you can expect to find some mischief conducted on a Twitter or Facebook account, but at worst… well, the risk of identity theft is something that we’ve explained previously, and the warning signs can be
spotted if you know what you’re looking for. You’ll be surprised, perhaps even horrified, at just how easily your password and other data can be
1. You’re Using A Rubbish Password
Passwords are tough to get right. It’s easy enough to think of one; but if it’s easy for you then there is a good chance that it is easy for someone else too – especially if they know enough about you. Even if they don’t, tools exist that can make the task of guessing a password simple by using the
“brute force” approach of generating hundreds, even thousands, of passwords a minute to find the right combination. While no password can be 100% secure, we can at least ensure that our secret codes remain difficult to guess by employing techniques to create a secure password that you can remember.
2. Hardware Devices Are Sniffing Out Your Keystrokes
How secure your data and passwords remain, however, depend upon the determination of the person attempting to hack you. If they really want your data, they’ll probably get it. One method is by using keyloggers, software or hardware tools that can be connected to a computer or placed nearby that will detect every keystroke, each letter, number or character that you type. As long as you have a good anti-virus/anti-malware solution installed on your computer, a software keylogger should be detected and removed without any trouble. Traditionally, hardware keyloggers were placed between the keyboard connector and the socket on the back of your PC (AT/XT, PS/2 or USB), out of sight. These days, however, the threat comes from a
completely new source, sniffers that detect keystrokes sent wirelessly. Such an example is this USB charger that detects keystokes transmitted from keyboard to PC wirelessly from Microsoftmanufactured keyboards, called KeySweeper. Designed to exploit a weakness in Microsoft’s wireless keyboards, it is actually a surprise it has taken so long for anyone to exploit the vulnerability commercially – it’s been known about for quite a while.
Protecting against the KeySweepter is simple. Buy a new, non-Microsoft keyboard – preferably Bluetooth.
3. You Give Your Password Away Voluntarily
Perhaps the most frightening way in which your data can be stolen is when you share your password voluntarily, having been fooled by a supposedly trustworthy website or email. Phishing is the name of the technique used to part you from your personal information, passwords, name, date of birth, etc., and it is a popular tool for scammers. Over the years they have refined their craft. Changes in technology don’t necessarily mean things are more secure – for phishers, they just need to become more sophisticated, using modern, refined methods to get results. Not only should you be on the lookout for suspicious emails, however, you should also be aware that Android apps can be used to steal your passwords.
4. Your Phone Is Leaking Personal Data Everywhere You Go
While the 1s and 0s aren’t exactly spilling out of your USB port, there is a strong chance that the presence of NFC on your phone can enable hackers to upload malware from their own devices. Nearfield communication is inherently insecure, relying on trust between device owners. The problem is
that it can work without the devices touching. Of course, you might find yourself accidentally bumping into people – or them to you – out in the
street. The risk here should be obvious. With malware installed on your phone, the attacker can begin downloading personal information, or install a keylogger and have everything you enter (or even say) uploaded to them. The best way to stop this is to disable NFC, but if you really must have it activated, make sure you’re wearing the right clothes.
5. You Left Your Smartphone, Tablet Or Laptop Unattended
No doubt the most obvious way to stop your data being stolen is to ensure your hardware is kept well away from the thieves. For computers, copying data from a stolen device can be simple even if it is password protected thanks to live Linux distributions that can read the HDD unless it is encrypted.
Along with taking reasonable steps to secure your portables with passwords, we recommend taking steps to protect smartphones from theft, perhaps even employing “uglification” to make a high end device look unattractive.
For desktop computers and other home office equipment, meanwhile, secure your hardware with locks and alarmed cases that will frustrate and deter anyone trying to get hold of your data. Security tools such as the cross-platform Prey can be installed on your hardware to enable tracking in
the event that it is stolen. Should this occur, you can usually protect your data by initiating a remote wipe of the device storage.
However, on Android this doesn’t always help as data recovery tools can be used to find the deleted information, so it is a good idea to make sure your phone storage is encrypted (also applies to iPhone). This may slow things down a little, but this is a small price to pay.
Digital cameras also store personal data – in the form of potentially valuable photos – and while it is tough to track them down, it is possible thanks to the Lenstag security service that uses EXIF metadata to reunite people with their hardware. It’s time to stop giving the scammers an easy ride, and make your data safe. Follow these tips, and keep your digital life in your own hands.
Read more stories like this at MakeUseOf.com
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The foregoing was is a White Paper from one of the companies we subscribe to. It was authored by Christian Cawley. If you would like to know more…here is some more information:
Hire Christian Cawley!
You can get in touch on (+44)7983 273050 for an initial chat, or use the contact form below to forward your requirements in more detail.
As a freelance writer, I specialize in topics as varied as consumer electronics, tablets and smartphones, videogames, British TV, blogging, genealogy research and English football.
With 10 years of professional writing experience I am available for short and long-term writing projects both in print and online.
Please note that I am quite selective about the projects I take on, and the clients I will work with. As a result you should contact me only if you are looking for memorable, quality results.
I have experience with the following project types:
Sales/promotional copy and press releases.
Ghost writing, eBooks and user guides.
Character development, plotting and storylining.
Meanwhile, I specialise in several areas and topics of writing:
Mobile technology, consumer electronics, Internet and computing, and video games.
British television and culture, specifically Doctor Who.
Writing comic books, editing and formatting books for publishing in print and electronically.
Please see my portfolio for more information.
I’m also an experienced webmaster and can provide clients with a consultancy service, covering everything from managing an online community to implementing SEO research and building an online store.
I hope this information helps bring light to some of the hazards of having valuable information in electronic and digital form. Remeber this information represents another value to those that wish to relieve you of said information.
Now that many of us have changed the clocks it is time to start promoting Spring Clean Up specials and start to prepare your yards for summer and “show” time for those Sunday afternoon BBQ’s.
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Until Next Time
Main article Authored by Christian Cawley… Commentary by Aaron Aveiro
Photograph by Aaron Aveiro, Christian Cawley Photo courtesy his profile
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