Wednesday, August 27, 2014

You have the door, cyber criminals seek the keys

Our home’s door is what separates our private and family life from the rest of the planet. We feel safe inside, we feel at home, leaving out the problems and dangers of the world outside. So when a thief breaks the privacy of our home, we feel naked, outraged.

We all know some of the methods used by criminals to force a door lock: the typical lockpick to smash both the door frame and the door itself, an x-ray sheet to overcome flimsy locks or ripping the door by piercing the wall around it. However, experts in locks Jos Weyers and Christian Holler have shown how easy it is to print a “bump” key based on a photo of the lock thanks to 3D printing and use it to open such lock bumping the key with a hammer, as you can see in the video that accompanies this article. Again, technology can be exploited by criminals in a dishonorable way.

Fortunately, this same technology has such beneficial uses that outweigh the risks posed by it. In this case, 3D printing is being successfully used in the medical field to produce prosthesis. In fact, a hospital in Beijing (China) has implanted the first 3D printed titanium vertebra replacement to a 12 year old boy with bone cancer. It is too early to know how his evolution will be, but the process has gone smoothly so far.

Leaving aside 3D printing technology, let's talk again about our homes’ privacy. Often what separates our private life from the rest of the world is not a door, but a Internet-connected device. This leads cybercriminals to do whatever it takes to steal our data. In South Korea they have just arrested 16 people allegedly involved in the fraudulent use of the personal details of 27 million South Koreans. Among them, an 24-year-old individual surnamed Kim would have received up to 220 million pieces of personal information from a Chinese hacker distributed profits of nearly $ 400,000 in the six online games currency. Staying in Asia, another subject arrested in Singapore known as "The Messiah” have been hit with new 105 computer misuse charges in addition to the 57 that he already had.

As we know, nowadays private data is one of the most cherished boots by cybercriminals and, sometimes, by government and security agencies as well. Thus, while in the UK  an exemplary fine of nearly $ 300,000 was imposed to the Minister of Justice over the lost of an unencrypted hard drive with sensitive information on organized crime related to 2,935 prison convicts at the Erlestoke prison in Wiltshire, in the U.S. it has been revealed that the National Security Agency may have created a kind of search engine called "ICReach" for browsing more conveniently the 850.000 million users’ metadata stored in secret data bases, allowing access to other agencies for almost 7 years.

Knowledge is the most powerful weapon to combat the risks brought by technological developments. To be well informed, we invite you to follow us through our social channels (find the links at the right sidebar) or here on our blog.


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