Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Keeping Internet open, free and well protected

“More than any other invention of our time, the Internet has unlocked possibilities we could just barely imagine a generation ago. And here's a big reason we've seen such incredible growth and innovation: Most Internet providers have treated Internet traffic equally. That's a principle known as ‘net neutrality’".


With these words, Obama has positioned himself as a defender of a free and open Internet for all. He asked the FCC to ensure its future, thus turning back on companies interested in breaking Net Neutrality. Giving up on those companies wishes would have allowed large enterprises as Google or Amazon to make an unequal distribution of bandwidth according to their purposes, which would have meant a detriment for other services with no so many resources.

Internet is a highly effective channel of communication, able to go across borders so we can contact people from different cultures and social strata. We have woven a unprecedented technological system over this network, which involves some risks, as any other complex architecture. For instance, it is possible for someone to  take advantage of the digital signature of an enterprise's application to usurp legitimate applications for iPhone and iPad. The rogue app would be installed from outside the market on a non-necessarily jailbroken device. This is vulnerability discovered in early July this year, but published yesterday under Masque Attack name.

Wi-Fi networks can also be used as attack vectors. For example, they had an essential role in a campaign where malware was installed at hotels in Asia, clearly with political and business objectives. This malware called BlackHotel urged customers - most of them executives - to install apparently legitimate updates for Adobe or Google’s products, thus obtaining necessary permissions to install itself and steal confidential information.

Social engineering and people’s good faith are the perfect breeding ground for digital crime gangs. When Whatsapp implements a blue double check for read messages, cyber criminals don’t take long for launching phishing campaigns allegedly aimed at disabling this new feature. Watch out what you install and where you click!

Fortunately, not everything is bad. Mozilla is one of the companies that historically has always looked after the interests of Internet users. In fact, at its 10th anniversary it announced that the next Firefox release will have several features focused on anonymity and privacy, such as "forgeting" sensitive information from time to time or using DuckDuckGo as default search engine in both desktop and Android browser.

There is no doubt that information and knowledge is power. So do you know what a botnet is and how can you protect yourself from it? People at ESET made a video explaining it. One of its advices is to keep  your system updated and to have a security suite in place, which could used against almost any type of computer attack.

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