Wednesday, October 22, 2014

National Cyber Security Month

There is a month for everything, including Cyber Security. The infographic produced by SingleHop posits some interesting myths, especially "the internet is so big no one would pick on me," and "there isn't anything worth stealing on my computer."

Oh, yeah?

The Telegraph just ran an article about this very same issue, entitled "How Hackers Took Over My Computer." A test subject asked an "ethical hacker" to see what kind of harm they could do if they were unethical. The subject stated that she had "high security" ratings on social media accounts, but here's what happened:

  • Hackers discovered the subject's personal stats (birth date and family members) via a popular online ancestry website.
  • Twitter offered up the subject's work email address.
  • Recent locations subject visited were available through Facebook
  • LinkedIn disclosed workplace data 
But why do hackers want to know this information? To get the subject to open an email from somebody she "seemed" to know.

Eventually, she was sent an email that "contained a tiny image (just one pixel by one pixel). This was the hackers' first attempt to 'fingerprint' my computer. The aim of this is to identify which operating system the computer is running, as well as which browser I was using, which browser add-ons I had, and which security software might be running on the computer."


The "ethical hacker" eventually broke in through a social media site and gained full control over her computer. Can you imagine the havoc someone could wreak if they took over your computer?

How safe do you think your info (and computer) is?

25 comments:

  1. This article was very interesting to read because for our essay 2, I'm writing about the prompt does social networking sites threaten our privacy? Reading this posts relates to the topic that I'm writing about and it does seem to go along with the articles in our textbook. I was unaware that a hacker could gain full control over a computer through a social media site. It was a very informing to have been told that. Another thing that i found interesting is that hackers want personal information on a person so they could the subject to open the email and have them open the spyware to gain access into ones computer. I have seen emails just like this on my own personal email so it leaves me wondering if my info and i are really safe out there. I do not know what i would do if someone were to take over my computer, when i think about it its kind of a scary thought.

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  2. We may feel like our info and computers are safe, but the reality is that they are always vulnerable since the internet is an unpredictable entity. That being said, avoiding the internet all together because of this would be like a football player avoiding playing football because he got injured. Football players are susceptible to injury every time they take the field just like people are susceptible to hackers when they log on to the internet. Despite this, football players continue to play their sport while people continue to use the internet to their heart’s desire. How safe do I think my info and computer are? With virus protection software, it’s about as safe as it’s going to be though I also realize that it’s never going to be completely airtight.

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  3. Personally, I will never think a computer will be safe from getting hacked no matter how much protection the owner invests into their device. Everyday hackers find new ways to break into technology and put people’s lives at risk. From a single click, a computer’s files or any private information from an email or social media account can be exposed. One has to be careful what they do and what the post on the internet because once it is out there is can never be truly erased and can ruin one’s life depending on the information that has been stolen.

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  4. With social media and computer use on the rise, no one is truly safe. Nowadays it seems like everyone is comfortable putting forth their personal information on the internet with no regard to who could be lurking out there, waiting to use their information for their own gain. The internet is a scary place, just like my parents told me years ago when I was young and naive, however as time went on and using the internet was a daily routine, I became comfortable to the point that I felt invincible, and unfortunately many today feel like they are. Nothing is truly safe in this world, especially the personal information we believe that we're only sharing with our friends.

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  5. I recently got a new laptop about a year ago. But my previous one I had from middle school throughout high school. I had a crazy amount of pictures, documents, and everything basically. That laptop had a really bad virus though,I remember the screen would turn purple every time I would try to shut it down. Thats not event he worst part, a little skull would pop up and say Jim is dead when my laptop would shut down. What also was happening was that my clicker would move on its own sometimes and close all my windows and shut my laptop off. Now as i think about it, it was probably a hacker doing all that in the laptop. I now have a Mac and it is literally the best thing I could buy myself. I feel that Mac's are so personalized. they do however contains lot of personal info such as contacts, planners, credit card numbers.So maybe laptops are not really safe anymore. There should be a little notification when some outside source is trying to get on your laptop I think that would be really helpful.

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  6. For my initial response to the prompt on social media and privacy I took a denier's approach, not because I believe the internet is a safe-haven for personal information, but because I'd like to play devil's advocate. My personal view is far too neutral. I believe that the internet is a public place, not a private one. We've had this expectation of privacy from the internet while failing to understand how information storage and sharing works. There's always a third party. Information is archived to a server and deleted information doesn't just disappear. However, we also consent to what we share with the internet. We choose to use the internet to send private information and communicate, and in part, it's our fault. We've failed to redefine privacy for the internet which, in my mind, means we consent to who gets direct access to the information including the third party, because that's just how the internet works. It's not meant for traditional privacy.

    Now hacking is a whole different situation because it's a crime, and it goes around the existing systems to keep information "private".

    Anyways, I think I'm changing my stance and making it centered around this idea: yes, the internet threatens our privacy, but we're partially to blame, and it's time we adjust our internet perspective.

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  7. Social media frightens me, it is scary to know that some people spend hours posting about their personal life. I guess they do not consider the dangers in making their life so public, there are hackers and stalkers going through our profiles, as this article says. I personally never post more than one picture or status a month, which I know still leaves room for bad people to use that information against me. My major concern are emails because I am constantly receiving them and I always have the tendency to open them but now I know not to open any that seem in any way suspicious.

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  8. I honestly do not trust computers as much as most people do. I am very particular of what I put on the internet even though all of my social media accounts are private, I still am very skeptical of who may be watching what I do. I believe that people should be aware of the fact that their personal information is not invincible and they could fall victim to a hacker's attack. Although computers and the internet help make one's life simpler it is easy, it also makes people's personal information more vulnerable for hackers.

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  9. In today's day of advancing technology and social media, it's hard to say that anything we put on the internet, whether it may be personal information, like your social security number or credit card number, or even pictures on facebook, would be safe from accessibility from others. Not only are hackers able to access your information, but websites you use, like facebook, twitter, even online shopping sites like amazon or ebay, have the ability to browse through your search history or download history and go through your information. I personally feel insecure about the whole situation, about how hackers and website can access my information, but at the same time, I don't have any power to combat that. In my opinion, the only way to relieve this insecurity and fear of information hacking is to be mindful of what you put on the internet.

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  10. From my perspective of the internet, nothing is really private. There are pros and cons to the internet, especially on social media. Social media is good to have for more communication with friends and family but its also not good to have profiles of yourself for hacker purposes. If your information is out there including locations of where you've been and events that you've partaken in then it is easier for a hacker, or a stalker, to find out where you are. Nothing is really private, including the stuff we "delete" because we all know its somewhere out there. It's best to be aware and know what your putting on the internet before you even put it on there. I remember when one of my coworkers from work was not happy with one of our managers that she decided to put him on blast on the internet. Well word got around, manager found out and she lost your job. So, its not that the internet is dangerous and not safe, you just have to be aware of the information you put out there, including pictures on social media, posts and blogs and even when shopping online. Just BE AWARE!

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  11. It's crazy to think that absolutely everything you put on the computer can backfire and hurt you somehow. Any now a days every place has its own cite and if you need anything all you need to do is go not he internet and search it and there it is. I believe that nothing I have put on my computer or my computer itself is that safe. I would like to think that I do try not to put things that are too personal but I know that if someone was really wanting to find all this info about me one way or another they would be able to and that's just real scary to think about! The internet is only starts growing more and more so we all need to be a lot more careful with putting anything personal online. It's better to all just keep to ourselves because i would be so scared if someone hacked my information.

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  12. I too would have never imagine that someone would hack my computer out of all the computers there is to hack. I believe there is always a way to hack anything. Technology has advanced way too much for there to not be a way to hack into someone's social media or computer. I sincerely believe that my computer is definitely not safe which is why I never save something that is a secret or important. I am not on social media which is why I am not worried about the safety of my information. I am very careful as to what I save onto my computer and cellphone because technology will always find a way to people's information.

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  13. Luke Teyler - Technology has taken over this culture and social media has offered an open door for hackers to find out information about pretty much anyone they want. I don’t think my information or my computer is safe from being hacked. I’ve recently had my email hacked and a bunch of junk emails were sent out to all my friends and family. Luckily I changed my password right away and the emails stopped sending out. It makes me think about when or if my Facebook account or my school email will be hacked. If you have social media you are always at risk of having your information hacked.

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  14. Hackers is one of the biggest problem we are facing in cyber world nowadays. I saw it first hand that a hacker can steal personal credit cards and use it for shopping. I also lost mine last year. With just a computer, a program or devices, they can steal thousand of personal information, including credit cards. How can we stop it ? It hard to say. Personally, going to the internet means we are not safe, everything you do can leak outside, even we are using the best software to prevent your computer. Not just our personal computer, I remembered Facebook and Ebay, these giant in cyber world today also got hacker. So , just we can protect our own, be aware of the risk when using the internet. Shopping online from the website you trust.

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  15. Although I'm not the type of person that's posting everything about my life every hour on social media, I know that I'm not as safe as I think I am. The information I have posted might just be enough to be hacked. I've never experienced being hacked nor do I wish I will be in the future when I get a new laptop that is why I'm going to watch carefully what I post on the internet. I have a friend who is always on social media posting her life away. One day we were searching through Facebook and found a person using her information and pictures claiming it as theirs. This was pretty creepy so ever since I try to keep my social media private and limit my postings because there is a lot of hackers out there waiting for an opportunity. I also try not to save my credit card information on shopping sites even though they are trustworthy because a hacker might just get a hold of that information and then not only will I be hacked but I'll have my identity stolen. So next time I go on the internet, I'll watch out for these things and get my laptop well protected.

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  16. Everyone thinks it is a good thing that technology progressed and is so high tech but unfortunately as the software improves so do the hackers. It probably doesn't matter what a person has on their computer a hacker is so smart that they will get a hold of personal info and find a way to use your name and ruin your life. I'm a lazy computer user I let everything save usernames, passwords and all just to spare time when signing in. this probably isn't the smartest thing to do but in reality aren't hackers that good that they'll figure out your info either way. I know my info isn't safe on the technology I use but that is a price we all have to pay for being so intrigued in the latest technology. If your going to live out your life on the computer in fear might as well go in the basement and pull out your ancestors' type writer.

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  17. Technology is at a peak that it has never reached before. The use of computers, phones and tablets are in our everyday reach. Rarely do we stop and think where all this information goes to. Think about when you type in a user name and your computer fills your password for you? There is somewhere that your information is being stored. I am well aware that our information is all over the internet. It doesn't bother me though, for the simple fact that the government already can hack into anything of mines at any moment I am confident that we don't have true privacy. Some worry about people taking their information, which is a valid concern to have but there is nothing we can do to stop that. Our information is not private and will never be so we just have to decide what we will allow others to know. People are very good at what they do, so if someone wanted to hack me I have no doubt that they could. I think our best way to keep our information somewhat private is to work the system and make sure that we don't do things that would make people want to hack into our personal life. But as far as basic information goes, I am sure that it is not as private as we think it is.

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  18. I feel hacking is a huge issue in our society today and it is on the rise with actual certifications to learn how to hack into someones accounts. This is a huge breach of privacy. I think technology is going to another level and the more security you have it almost becomes a huge issue because to hackers it is a fun game to begin to mess with others. This is a destruction of quality of life and privacy. I feel that if someone were to hack me it would reak a lot of havoc in my life.

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  19. With how the school's dorms are set up, the only people who could physically infect my computer are my roommates and their friends. Of course, they're usually gone and I'm probably in front of the computer anyway, so it's easy to defend. Over the internet, I'm pretty defenseless. I don't even use social media, but you can probably find enough from my parents to trick me into opening some emali like in the article.

    I know that my information is not as secure as I think it is, but being protected sounds like an impossible mission. If someone out there really wanted my accounts, it feels like there's no way to stop them. Using different passwords for each website and have 2-step authorization can help slow down the automated attacks, but an actual person could find some exploit I've never heard of to get what they wanted. Maybe they'll hack into Google itself in order to figure out my fifty-four character password of random letters. I guess the easiest way to stay safe is to make sure you're more annoying to go after than most people.

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  20. We sometimes think we have our own privacy but who knows if someone knows so much about yourself without knowing you. Makes sense why it is better off to keep personal information private and in public only say what is necessary in order for others to know who you are. A lot of personal information is asked for certain blogs, when doing so there should be consideration if the site is not a scam and if it is okay to fill in information. Also, knowing the limit of how much should be posted. The feeling of discomfort and thinking who could be hacking into your information is a start in making sure to look around what is surrounded since so many people stay on their phones and laptops, or any other electronics, this makes it much easier for hackers to do their job. When signing in I always try to make sure there is no one trying to peek in and constantly make new passwords(at least once a month) just in case. It is always important to know there are hackers that can easily know so much and are capable of obtaining lots of information. After reading this it makes me realize into becoming more careful on making sure if anyone ever tries to hack me I won't have to worry about what is seen but most important stay on the safe side.

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  21. I know exactly how unsafe all our personal devices are. People seem to think that their devices are safe when nothing electronic is safe. Yes, AntiVirus software is important but if someone wants to get into your computer, they're going to get in your computer. Someone's digital footprint is pretty easy to find. No matter how "safe" people think they are on the internet, there's no shortage of people who can get into your computer with ease. What's interesting is that we hear all the time that certain devices are "safer to use" when it's not true at all. The whole "macs can't get viruses" is one of the biggest misconceptions ever. It's just as easy for a programmer to construct a virus for PC as it is for Mac. When it comes to protecting your device the rules are the same no matter what platform you are on. Don't share passwords, personal information, emails, etc. Keep as much private as you can, but be aware that no matter how private you are on the web you're not completely safe. Don't be afraid to use the web, but know what can happen on the web.

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  22. I know that as Internet users, we don't have the privacy we wish we had. I could see why someone would think that the Internet is so big that they wouldn't be targeted. After all, the Internet is massive. But saying that nothing on a person's computer is worth stealing is false. Unless you hardly use your computer, which I doubt. Everyone has accounts with different social network sites as well as emails. People even pay their bills electronically now and some website sign-in's are set up to occur automatically for an individual's computer. Imagine if a hacker got a hold of all that financial information. So, computers do have something worth stealing on them. I never thought about how hackers managed to get into computers. It was a bit alarming to read that they can do so by sending an email that contains the smallest image. I think it's important for people to be aware of all this because our computers and our information really aren't as safe as we'd think they are.

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  23. It's naive to think that once you buy a new computer that you can immediately begin to surf the internet without any security software operating in the background. Yes you can do this but the truth is once you start surfing the internet your computer is at risk of being breached. Sometimes people are careless and save explicit content that can damage someone's image. For instance a well known celebrity like Jeniffer Lawrence who's personal photos were leaked online after being hacked just last year. This is just one case, many celebrities have been in this position. I personally am knowledgeable with technology since I do want to become a Computer Engineer so I know that my laptop needs to be protected and updated all the time to prevent any mishap.

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  24. This is a very interesting article, because you do not think about how bad your computer is at risk. It is very interesting that there is a person that just sits on the internet that preys on people that does not have security on their computers. Personally I am always on the internet looking up different thing and do not think of the risk that I am placing on my computer. I think just because I have anti-virus software, that my computer is safe. Normally I do not answer any emails that looks like spam, after reading this article and saw that is how hackers are able to get in your computers, that makes me feel like my decision is justified. I learned that is not always the case because if a hacker wanted to get into my compute it would be easy for them to do. With all this new technology coming out, we need to have good software that would be able to protect our information. I also feel like these new computers should come with anti-virus security, instead of the free trial that expires in sixty days.

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  25. This is one of the major problems in the cyber world where hackers are stealing identities from others. It can affect all types of technologies such as electric cars, phones, computers, and other sorts of devices that has internet access. As long the devices have internet access, hackers can get through them. They have many tactics that can access people's information, such as sending malicious files to the victim's computers, lure the victim to open hacker's email or opening hacker's files that copy the victim's personal information. The good news is the victim can be protected by having protection software in their computer, however if they can pay monthly fee service. It's like the same as having an insurance except they do not cover your loss of personal information. But, there is a reliable protection software for free to install. In the Internet, there is always a free program to download.

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