Smartphone Privacy

Why It’s Not Surprising That Smartphone Privacy Is Going from Bad to Worse

Throughout the past years there have been several high-profile occasions when apps were in the news for questionable tracking strategies. Even applications that do not use novel means of compromising our privacy are gobbling up increasing amounts of data while their creators cash in on the profits obtained from selling the user’s digital life to the highest bidder. At the receiving end of this deluge of spyware are we, the people.

Even for those of us that do read the list of permissions an app requests upon installation, it is hard to avoid installing certain apps because they come with other features that we need. It’s an old trick that is akin to the Trojan horse. This is how these dubious app creators get in our back yard: by offering something that is 90% useful and 10% spyware, but which must be accepted as a whole.

Hackers All Around Us!

Hackers all around Us!

Whenever news comes in about some sort of data breach or hacked service, we’re often treated with pictures of the assumed perpetrators and the way their office (bedroom? garage?) looks. Mentatul managed to get in touch with some of these unique people. They were happy that somebody is interested in their private lives and difficult working conditions.

Dark Window Tinting

The Danger Posed by Vehicles with Tinted Windows

“The need for the eye contact is something hard to do with tinted windows. As a pedestrian, before you step off a curb when you arrive at a four-way stop, the interaction with a driver requires a degree of not just acknowledgment, but trust. I have to know what you intend to do, and I have to know that you’ve seen me.”

Once we get thinking about the dangers of tinted windows, a lot of risks will immediately pop into a driver’s mind: dangers of changing lanes in the dark, parking in an insufficiently lit garage and so on.

China Quantum Satellite Launch

China Invests in Quantum Cryptography and Not a Moment Too Late

In the past years, a steady stream of revelations has shown the extent at which governments spy on us. This shocked nobody in the know. We’ve suspected it all along.

China is moving towards ensuring secure and private communications for itself and, I suspect in the near future, for any entity that pays a hefty fee. Large corporations will definitely be interested in having access to a spy-proof communications network.

All Your Computers Are Belong To Us

All Your Computers Are Belong to Us

In recent years, Intel has moved towards integrating some pretty nifty remote administration features into its CPUs. While this may be a good idea for certain enterprises, it may quickly turn into a nightmare as soon as exploits and vulnerabilities are found.

Software has bugs. Hey, it happens, everybody makes mistakes. But in this case, the mistakes can’t be corrected in time (before an attacker exploits them). That’s because, in typical monopolist corporation fashion, Intel is obscuring the process by not allowing the security community to analyze whatever code the company decides to shove into our machines. The same argument stands true regarding any proprietary code, especially Microsoft’s Windows, which after 20 years of fixes is still the most vulnerable mainstream operating system.

Cyber Warfare And Hardware Attacks

Cyber-Warfare is Scary

When we read in the press about “hacking”, it’s mostly about software-based attacks. It may be about exploiting a vulnerability to reveal passwords or attacking an insecure computer.

Tiny hardware back-doors can be baked inside any integrated circuit. It’s not news that this is doable, but what is news is that it’s way too easy to achieve and almost impossible to detect. Even in the case of the highly advanced computer processors that are inside all our devices. Apparently it can be done by a single (well trained) person working inside the factory that manufactures the chip.