Data

Dropbox responds about FTC complaint

Following our post last week about the security of the online storage website Dropbox, they have responded to the claims and the FTC complaint filed against them.

The founder of Dropbox Drew Houston said “I take issue with the allegation that we have somehow lied or misled people for any kind of gain, we never put anything up there that was untrue, and now it’s leading to people think we are not secure.”

He claims that the website is upfront with users on their services, however they have also recently changed their website to word their policies a little different. He also did make a a statement saying that employees of Dropbox do have access to customer files but would only use them when legally required to do so.

Either way we don’t think its safe to store your documents on such sites unless they are encrypted previously to uploading with programs such as TrueCrypt. Do not rely on their encryption.

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Thursday, May 19th, 2011 Data, Encryption No Comments

1.25 million idiots using LastPass.com to store passwords online

Last Pass claims to be an online password management software that allows you to store all of your passwords in an application/browser plugin and when you visit a website, this application will verify the site and compare the login to what you have entered in the app and it will fill in the login details for you and log you in automatically. It sounds very friendly, however this type of system has HUGE flaws.

You don’t know who they (LastPass.com) are, its a browser plugin that could easily be hacked and all your your details are stored on their database even though they claim they don’t have access to your passwords, just an encrypted version – do you really want to put your trust in them, epically with what is going on with PlayStation at the moment?

On Tuesday they posted a security notice saying they had found an “anomaly in their network traffic” that they couldnt find the cause for. They reccommend all users change their master password immediately but saying its “unlikley” users passwords were stolen but they dont want to take any chances.

““Because we can’t account for this anomaly either, we’re going to be paranoid and assume the worst: that the data we stored in the database was somehow accessed. We know roughly the amount of data transfered and that it’s big enough to have transfered people’s email addresses, the server salt and their salted password hashes from the database. We also know that the amount of data taken isn’t remotely enough to have pulled many users encrypted data blobs.”

Using programs such as this puts you at unnecessary risks. If you are looking for a Password Manager we recommend Kee Pass which stores your passwords in a keyfile offline and uses the best and most secure encryption algorithms.

LastPass.com automatic login system

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Sunday, May 8th, 2011 Data, Internet, Security No Comments

Whats on Bin Laden’s hard drive?

That is an interesting question, no doubt Osama Bin Laden would have been into some interesting stuff. Laptops and other computer equipment was seized when he was killed in Pakistan this week. As hard as it might be to picture the old man hunched in a corner with an old Sony Vaio atop a cardboard box in an old dusty room checking out the latest YouTube clips, reports are that the US has seized computer equipment and hard drives that were found in the compound.

I would bet that he is not computer savvy, but he must have had at least a few computer literate guys around him, after all the Taliban are known for making encryption software such as this program called Mujahideen Secrets that is used to encrypt and decrypt files shared between terrorist networks. So now that the US has all this data, can they really decrypt it all, and will he have secret terrorism plans on his computers or maybe just songs of Justin Bieber…

mujahideen secrets encryption program

 

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Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 Data No Comments

AT&T customers data being sent to China

As much as we hate to rant on about the need for users on the internet to be using a Virtual Private Network to encrypt their data, there is just story after story out there of reasons why everyone should be using a VPN.

This one is a little old, but a worth while read none the less.

In March AT&T, the network service provider in the USA and Canada had a security lapse sending its Facebook traffic through China and then Korea due to a “routing mistake”. The private data was sent  to Chinanet, a Chinese network provider, then via Chinanet to SK Broadband in South Korea, then to Facebook instead of directly to the Facebook Servers. Since Facebook does not use SSL or Secure Socket Layer protection, all this traffic was sent unencrypted to China and Korea where it could have been picked up and most probably was given those suspicious Chinese.

Facebook Data China

Now you may think that this is a one off incident, well you would be wrong. The internet is simply not a safe place. Users concerned about their security and privacy should be using a Virtual Private Network that encrypts the data sent between your computer and the final destination. For more information on this process please view our VPN Page, About VPN page and for a comparative list of VPN Services view our VPN Plan comparative page.

How a VPN Works

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Sunday, May 1st, 2011 Data, Encryption, VPN No Comments

Secret Iphone feature tracks your movements [Update]

As a follow up to yesterdays post on the secret Apple iPhone tracking fiasco, the below video shows its making it onto some of the main stream media outlets. So far Apple has still not responded. We will post another update when Apple does respond to their secret tracking software on the iPhone 4.0.

 

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Tuesday, April 26th, 2011 Data, Privacy No Comments

Search engines may be your enemy without a VPN

An interesting fact for some of you that are not already using a VPN. Search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo keep all your search history including keywords, IP addresses, cookies etc. on file for 18 months after you did the initial search. Why do they need to keep this data on file? Well only they really know, but if you are not using a Virtual Private Network to hide your true identity than every search, every page and quite possibly everything you have done on the internet in the past 18 months has been tracked and recorded. Yahoo recently changed its policy from 6 months to 18 months after it changed from 18 months to 6 months a few years back.

It doesn’t stop with the search engines either. Google Analytics tracks every user going to a specific website, what they do on that site, how long they are on it, what pages they visit and when they leave it. It can also pinpoint your location down to a few kilometers as you can see if this screen shot below taken from our Google Analytics of a user in California.

Hide your location with a VPN

From Google we can see your location, browser, network speed, internet service provider, screen resolution and more!

Alot of this information is also used to target advertisers. Have you ever searched for something like “how to hide my ip address” and then suddenly your seeing ads on several sites directed to that previous search? Yes you guess it right; the search engine has stored this information and is now targeting specific ads based on that search from cookies stored in your browser. You are now on their marketing list.

So how do you stop this type of behavior and stop yourself from being tracked? Simple you just need to do a few things.

1. Get a VPN, this is the most important security feature to surfing online, it will protect you by encrypting your connection and also hide your true identity by hiding your IP address. View a list of the top VPN providers here.

2. Use the private browsing features in Google Chrome, Firefox or Internet Explorer. This will make sure no data, history, cache or cookies are stored on your computer. In Google its called “Incognito Mode” in Firefox its Private Browsing and in Internet Explorer its called InPrivate browsing. If you need help setting them us send us a message on the Internet Security Forum.

3. Not a necessity, but don’t browse the internet when signed into your Google or Yahoo account. Keep 1 browser specifically for browsing the internet and another one for your emails and personal stuff.

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Saturday, April 23rd, 2011 Data, Internet, Privacy 1 Comment

Michigan State Police searching cell phones of citizens

Quite a bizarre story for you today, one so outrageous it doesn’t even sound true, however it was posted at the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) website earlier this month.

According to a complaint filed against the Michigan State Police, the police are using specialized portable devices to search and extract your personal information, videos, call history, emails and messages etc. on your cell phone during random routine stops on the cities roads. The device the police officers are using is called the UFED Physical Pro which are sold by a company called  Cellebrite with a a slogan of “mobile data secured” well not in this case. The device which seems to be made to restore access to phones including a data dump and also recovering the lock and sim passwords does not appear to be made for the purposes of searching private citizens phones but the police are using it for their own purposes in violation of your 4th Amendment rights.

The ACLU has been investigating this case all the way back to 2008 with no success. You can find Information on the ACLU website. Just a thought though, imagine if this hardware and these tactics were used everywhere, including on laptop in airports at road blocks etc, is that a country you would want to live in? Perhaps this is just a trial and its success could see it rolled out in other cities across the USA.

UFED Physical Pro

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Friday, April 22nd, 2011 Data, Privacy No Comments

New self wiping hard drive by Toshiba

Toshiba has recently announced the upcoming release of a new hard drive called the MKxx61GSYG which comes in sizes up to 640 gigabyte and is able to automatically wipe all data on the drive if it is removed from the paired computer. Simply put, if the drive detects that it has been removed from the host system it will cause either part or all of the drive to become crypto-erased. An interesting feature includes setting custom sections to be erased based on pre defined policies of the hard drive.

Toshiba is trying to push these new drives into devices such as multi-function printers and fax machines that retain images of faxes and printed documents but also said the technology would be very useful to laptop owners to protect their data from being accessed if their computer was to be lost or stolen.

Prices for the new drives have not been set but they are no doubt set to become very popular. Samples of the new drives are being sent out this quarter for testing and reviews. I hope we can see one in actions very soon, stay tuned for a a review of the new Toshiba MKxx61GSYG self erasing hard drive!

For more information on wiping hard drives please visit our Erase Your Data section of the website.

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Thursday, April 14th, 2011 Data, Encryption 2 Comments

University students data leaked

An investigation has just been launched into the leak of 148 students information from York University in the United Kingdom after the sensitive data was published online. The data which includes names, phone numbers and addresses of all the A level students is a serious problem as it can be accessed from the University webpage without the need for any logins, the public has had access to these details.

The university later said it had “taken immediate action to rectify this problem” and had apologized to all those students affected… wow…

It just goes to show, sometimes you can take all the steps necessary to protect your own information, but it can all be in vein if someone else that has your information has no concern for its security.

university-of-york

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Monday, March 21st, 2011 Data, Privacy No Comments
VyprVPN Personal VPN lets you browse securely
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