Category Archives: News

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How easy is it to hack a home network?

My home is under attack.

Right now, skilled adversaries are probing its defences seeking a way in. They are swift, relentless and smart. No weakness will escape their notice.

But I am not without defences. I’ve tried to harden the most vulnerable devices to stop them being compromised and I’ve set up warning systems that should alert me if the attackers get inside.

In the end, all that effort was for nothing because the attackers found so many ways to get at me and my home network. And, they said, even if the technology had defeated them, the weakest link of all – me – would probably have let them in.

Swiss cheese

I found out just how severely compromised my home network was in a very creepy fashion. I was on the phone when the web-connected camera sitting on the window sill next to me started moving. The lens crept round until it pointed right at me. I knew that the attackers were on the other end watching what I was doing, and potentially, listening to the conversation.

It is a gadget my children and I have used to see if any wildlife passes through our garden and one which many people have for home security or as an alternative baby monitor.

I was lucky that I knew my attackers who, at that moment, were sitting in my living room waiting to show me how straightforward it was to subvert these domestic devices. The picture they took of me via the camera was evidence enough.

The attackers were Dan Turner and Kyprianos Vasilopoulos from security firm Trustwave who test network defences for a living.

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Facebook investigated over market-power abuse claims

German authorities are investigating Facebook for suspected abuse of its dominant market position.

The country’s federal cartel office suspects the social network’s privacy terms violate data protection laws.

It is looking into whether Facebook’s “dominance” means those terms also constituted an abuse of market power. The formal probe is the first of its kind the social network has faced.

Facebook said it was confident it complied with the law.

“Dominant companies are subject to special obligations,” said Andreas Mundt, the president of the cartel office.

“These include the use of adequate terms of service as far as these are relevant to the market

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Is your smartphone listening to you?

It all began with a car crash.

I was doing some ironing when my mum came in to tell me that a family friend had been killed in a road accident in Thailand.

My phone was on the worktop behind me.

But the next time I used the search engine on it, up popped the name of our friend, and the words, “Motorbike accident, Thailand” and the year in the suggested text below the search box.

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‘Thousands of popular sites’ at risk of Drown hack attacks

Websites have been warned they could be exposed to eavesdroppers, after researchers discovered a new way to disable their encryption protections.

The experts said about a third of all computer servers using the HTTPS protocol – often represented by a padlock in web browsers – were vulnerable to so-called Drown attacks.

They warn that passwords, credit card numbers, emails and sensitive documents could all be stolen as a consequence.

A fix has been issued.

But it will take some time for many of the website administrators to protect their systems.

The researchers have released a tool that identifies websites that appear to be vulnerable.

They said they had not released the code used to prove their theory because “there are still too many servers vulnerable to the attack”.

As yet, there is no evidence hackers have worked out how to replicate their technique.

An independent expert said he had no doubt the problem was real.

“What is shocking about this is that they have found a way to use a very old fault that we have known about since 1998,” said Prof Alan Woodward, from the University of Surrey.

“And all this was perfectly avoidable.

“It is a result of us having used deliberately weakened encryption, which people broke years ago, and it is now coming back to haunt us.”

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