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The Smart Watch as a Hardware Keylogger

25 January 2016

French college student Tony Beltramelli has e-published his scientific research on the use of so-called “smart watches” and special algorithms to track the users of these watches.

The topic of the paper (and this fundamentally new approach to hacking attacks) involves the interception and deep analysis of data from the accelerometer of a worn device. In this case the device in question is a smart watch (the Samsung Gear Live, for example) or fitness bracelet. These devices are worn on the wrist, which makes it possible to intercept data the user has typed in with this wrist on any physical or touch keyboard.

This specific study is dedicated to a method for intercepting keypresses on a standard 12-key numerical keypad such as those used at ATMs or for entering PIN codes in mobile applications.

The data from the accelormeter is collected by the worn device, then transmitted via Bluetooth to a nearby smartphone, and then from the phone to a server via GPRS/LTE. On the server the data is processed using a special algorithm in Java, Python, and Lua that imitates a neural network.

The algorithm cancels out noise, looks for signs of a PIN code being entered, and decodes it with a reliability of 59-73%. After processing by a neural net the reliability of the decoding process is significantly increased (up to 92%).

The developer has posted outgoing codes from this process on GitHub and video demonstrations of the process on YouTube.

The only thing that remains unclear is why anyone would enter a PIN code with the same they use for their watch. Watches are usually worn on the left hand, but most right-handed people enter their codes with their right hand.

Lenovo: spyware found on Thinkpad series laptops

16 October 2015

laptopFor the third time this year, Lenovo has been caught spying on the buyers of its devices.

Initial concerns were caused by the pre-installed Superfish tool that violated users’ privacy. After that, users found non-removable loaders of unknown software in the system BIOS of these laptops.

The newest discovery is a “Lenovo Customer Feedback Program 64” process found in the task manager of a refurbished Thinkpad laptop with Windows 7 OEM installed. Once a day, is sends comprehensive information about the use of the system to a certain address.

Information about this software is provided in the user agreement, but it’s very well hidden.

Another curious fact is that the information is not sent to Lenovo directly, but to a company called Omniture, which specializes in marketing and web analytics. It means that the results of this
monitoring are likely to convert into additional revenue for Lenovo.
Users of Thinkpad laptops are seriously concerned by the fact that the company tries to make money even on the buyers of expensive premium equipment.

How to find a stolen laptop, tablet or phone with the help of applications?

9 April 2015

Nowadays, we are hearing more and more news of how people are getting back their lost or stolen devices thanks to various software applications capable of disclosing identities and geographical location of thieves.

notebook-thief

And it’s not just the iPhones that we’re talking about. The same happens to numerous Android and other OS devices, as owners of tablets and laptops are successfully getting them back.

Below is a brief overview of “antitheft” functions of different platforms and third-party software.

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Network devices with parental control features

7 April 2015

We all want to keep ourselves, our children and our computers safe from Internet threats. And people often pay quite a lot of money for professional antiviruses, firewalls and other intricate information security software. This is of course a proper approach than just ignoring threats or using free or unauthorized software of dubious efficiency.

But neither should you overlook some absolutely free ways to protect your computer from already known dangerous sites, viruses, phishing and adult content.

router

In this article we will take a look at both modern routers’ features and free DNS-filters.

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Devices for covert surveillance

3 April 2015

Technology and the human imagination do not stand still. This results in us having, not only modern computers, smart phones, and other consumer devices, but also a huge selection of modern high-tech devices, which are not known to the majority of consumers.

The focus is on hardware devices that are designed to collect (sometimes tacitly), store and transmit information (voice recorders, bugs, hidden cameras), as well as on devices that are designed to protect against such interception (suppressors, detectors).

The aim of the article is not to promote the use of such technology (let’s leave this to special services and detectives), but to inform people about how they can be monitored and how they can protect themselves from spy devices.

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Configuring a child’s computer for using Refog with Windows 7

26 March 2015

Part 2. Configuring a computer with Windows 7 installed.

In the first part of this manual we described how to configure a computer running Windows 8.1 OS, so that child’s experience with it was safe (both for a child and a computer).

In this part we are going to configure a computer operating under Windows 7. Although the set of tools for parental control provided in Windows 7 is poorer, the key-principles are the same:

  • Setting a password for a parent account
  • Creating a separate account for a child
  • Activation and configuration of the built-in mechanisms for parental control
  • Installation of third-party software in cases when more advanced child monitoring is needed.

 

It should be noted that the first three principles are actual recommendations given by Microsoft (the Windows OS developer) and can be found in their help system, which we are going to refer to.

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Disgruntled Ex-Employees: By the Numbers

13 August 2014

A report from ESET and FutureToday contains eye-opening data for corporate managers.

In a survey of over 500 people working at over 50 companies, it was found that approximately 38% of those surveyed had, at least once, illegally copied, destroyed, or disclosed confidential data concerning a former employer.

  • 17% had intentionally deleted documents, messages or applications important for the employer prior to termination.
  • 13% had taken working materials (client databases, plans, reports, etc.) with them to sell to competitors or for other use.
  • 4% had used their knowledge of loopholes to gain access to internal systems and resources when no longer working at a company.
  • 4% had deliberately gained revenge by posting internal documents publicly.

The most interesting coincidence found by the study concerns the number 38%, which is encountered twice. 38% of respondents had caused harm to their former employers in one way or another. And the same percentage of companies, based on research, do not pay enough attention to IT security.

NSA: collection of mobile users’ location data

8 November 2013

kitKeith Alexander, head of United States National Security Agency, confirmed that in 2010, NSA used experimental equipment to collect information about the location of mobile subscribers.

In 2011, the process was officially suspended, but the agency’s head does not deny the possibility of resuming it in the future: “It may be something that this country might need in the future.“

On the eve of this announcement, senator Ron Wyden inquired about such practices, but Keith replied that their agency has never collected such information and had no plans to do that.

The news caused outrage with the senator — he said that the government kept concealing facts about monitoring all aspects of the citizens’ rights.

Android: Google knows your Wi-Fi passwords

8 October 2013

smartphone wifi accessMichael Horowitz, an IT security expert, has published an article titled “Google Knows Nearly Every Wi-Fi Password in the World”. The article explains that Google servers currently store unencrypted passwords from nearly all access point that Android devices have ever connected to.

According to research, there are over 1 billion Android devices in the world. Each of these devices stores Wi-Fi access point passwords in a way that allows Google (and, therefore, secret services, for instance) access them.

Moreover, default Android settings allow these passwords to be stored and sent to Google’s servers in an unencrypted plain text form (for backup purposes).

Gaining access to a Wi-Fi network is the least one can do with this information at hand.

Free keylogger for android secretly watches over the phones of your children or staff members, recording calls, camera, spy on SMS, MMS, WhatsAPP, internet activity, calendar, contacts, and geodata (GPS).

Men read others’ correspondence twice as often

13 September 2013

man-with-phoneThe results of a survey conducted among two thousand British citizens showed that men studied the contents of their girlfriends’ phones twice as often as women.

62% of male respondents admitted doing so as opposed to only 34% of women.

What were these men interested in their partners’ phones? It’s very simple – around a half of respondents were looking for SMS messages, while the other half were looking for social network posts.

In the majority of cases (89%), the purpose of these inspections was to find out if their partners had an affair.

The British believe that the lack of trust in couples can be a serious problem of the society as a whole on a global level.