Monday, February 3, 2014

"Treat your password like your toothbrush"

"Treat your password like your toothbrush"

“Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don't let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months." The advice from computer expert Clifford Stoll is not trivial. Think for a moment about all the passwords you use every day: for your email, your Facebook, your bank account ... you do not expect anyone chasing you, but many victims of cyber attacks thought the same and now they lament not have been more cautious.

However, you can do little to protect a password if it is videotaped by mistake and broadcasted by a national TV, as it happened with the wifi network’s passcode used by the Super Bowl’s security command center.

You can also feel completely vulnerable if the security breach comes from the service provider itself. For example, from your phone’s telecom company. Bell Canada had to disable the usernames and passwords od 22,421 of its customers and report 5 credit cards which were compromised due to a security breach of one of Bell’s suppliers. By the way, today we learned that one of the blogs that published this news item, Cyberwarnews, has had to close due to the large number of visits received and they said it is likely that we ever enjoy their articles again.

Returning to Bell security hole, it should be noted that it is especially dangerous because, so often, bank details are linked to the user’s accounts. However, if we think about some services directly related to bank payments, there are two names that come to mind immediately: eBay and Paypal. Precisely these two companies are the protagonists today because the so-called Syrian Electronic Army has managed to hack some of their web pages. They ensure that the information on its users remained intact during these attacks though.

In any case, the main objective of the cybercriminals is usually to access your bank accounts, one way and another. To do this, they have their own tools like banking trojans, for example, the GameOver Zeus. In fact, it has recently been discovered that this particular malware is being sent as encrypted file to bypass firewalls or antivirus software.

Speaking of trojans, it will sound familiar to many of you that some hackers use them to spy on their victims through their own webcams. Perhaps thus they will not learn their passwords, but certainly some secrets that they have never shared with anyone. In order to raise public awareness about this threat, a group of advertisers have created this short movie:


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