Hacker: Here, I'm back. I think the answer might be Chris? He's a good friend. Hacker: I'm just gonna list off some friends that might be haha. Hacker: "Google" "Gmail" "Apple" I think. I'm a programmer at Google. Apple: OK, "Apple" is correct. Can I have an alternate email address for you? The second trade-off is privacy. If the whole system is designed to keep data secret, users will hardly stand for a security regime that shreds their privacy in the process. Imagine a miracle safe for your bedroom: It doesn't need a key or a password. Not exactly ideal. Without privacy, we could have perfect security, but no one would accept a system like that.
For decades now, web companies have been terrified by both trade-offs.
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They have wanted the act of signing up and using their service to seem both totally private and perfectly simple—the very state of affairs that makes adequate security impossible. So they've settled on the strong password as the cure. Make it long enough, throw in some caps and numbers, tack on an exclamation point, and everything will be fine. But for years it hasn't been fine. In the age of the algorithm, when our laptops pack more processing power than a high-end workstation did a decade ago, cracking a long password with brute force computation takes just a few million extra cycles.
That's not even counting the new hacking techniques that simply steal our passwords or bypass them entirely—techniques that no password length or complexity can ever prevent. Add up the total cost, including lost business, and a single hack can become a billion-dollar catastrophe. How do our online passwords fall? In every imaginable way: They're guessed, lifted from a password dump, cracked by brute force, stolen with a keylogger, or reset completely by conning a company's customer support department. Let's start with the simplest hack: guessing.
Carelessness, it turns out, is the biggest security risk of all. Despite years of being told not to, people still use lousy, predictable passwords. When security consultant Mark Burnett compiled a list of the 10, most common passwords based on easily available sources like passwords dumped online by hackers and simple Google searches , he found the number one password people used was, yes, "password.
The number If you use a dumb password like that, getting into your account is trivial.
Free software tools with names like Cain and Abel or John the Ripper automate password-cracking to such an extent that, very literally, any idiot can do it. All you need is an Internet connection and a list of common passwords—which, not coincidentally, are readily available online, often in database-friendly formats. What's shocking isn't that people still use such terrible passwords. It's that some companies continue to allow it.
The same lists that can be used to crack passwords can also be used to make sure no one is able to choose those passwords in the first place. But saving us from our bad habits isn't nearly enough to salvage the password as a security mechanism. Our other common mistake is password reuse. During the past two years, more than million "hashes" i. LinkedIn, Yahoo, Gawker, and eHarmony all had security breaches in which the usernames and passwords of millions of people were stolen and then dropped on the open web.
A comparison of two dumps found that 49 percent of people had reused usernames and passwords between the hacked sites. The bad guys are stealing the passwords and selling them quietly on the black market. Your login may have already been compromised, and you might not know it—until that account, or another that you use the same credentials for, is destroyed. Hackers also get our passwords through trickery.
The most well-known technique is phishing, which involves mimicking a familiar site and asking users to enter their login information. Steven Downey, CTO of Shipley Energy in Pennsylvania, described how this technique compromised the online account of one of his company's board members this past spring. The executive had used a complex alphanumeric password to protect her AOL email. But you don't need to crack a password if you can persuade its owner to give it to you freely. The hacker phished his way in: He sent her an email that linked to a bogus AOL page, which asked for her password.
She entered it. After that he did nothing. At first, that is. The hacker just lurked, reading all her messages and getting to know her. He learned where she banked and that she had an accountant who handled her finances. He even learned her electronic mannerisms, the phrases and salutations she used. An even more sinister means of stealing passwords is to use malware: hidden programs that burrow into your computer and secretly send your data to other people. According to a Verizon report, malware attacks accounted for 69 percent of data breaches in They are epidemic on Windows and, increasingly, Android.
Malware works most commonly by installing a keylogger or some other form of spyware that watches what you type or see. Its targets are often large organizations, where the goal is not to steal one password or a thousand passwords but to access an entire system. One devastating example is ZeuS, a piece of malware that first appeared in Clicking a rogue link, usually from a phishing email, installs it on your computer. Then, like a good human hacker, it sits and waits for you to log in to an online banking account somewhere.
As soon as you do, ZeuS grabs your password and sends it back to a server accessible to the hacker. Targeting such companies is actually typical. Essentially, he's the guy in charge of figuring out how to get us past the current password regime. Until we figure out a better system for protecting our stuff online, here are four mistakes you should never make—and four moves that will make your accounts harder but not impossible to crack. If our problems with passwords ended there, we could probably save the system. We could ban dumb passwords and discourage reuse.
We could train people to outsmart phishing attempts. Just look closely at the URL of any site that asks for a password. We could use antivirus software to root out malware. But we'd be left with the weakest link of all: human memory. Passwords need to be hard in order not to be routinely cracked or guessed. So if your password is any good at all, there's a very good chance you'll forget it—especially if you follow the prevailing wisdom and don't write it down. Because of that, every password-based system needs a mechanism to reset your account.
And the inevitable trade-offs security versus privacy versus convenience mean that recovering a forgotten password can't be too onerous. That's precisely what opens your account to being easily overtaken via social engineering. Although "socialing" was responsible for just 7 percent of the hacking cases that government agencies tracked last year, it raked in 37 percent of the total data stolen.
Socialing is how my Apple ID was stolen this past summer. The hackers persuaded Apple to reset my password by calling with details about my address and the last four digits of my credit card.abaarkan.ru/includes/wor-plaquenil-buy-shipping.php
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Because I had designated my Apple mailbox as a backup address for my Gmail account, the hackers could reset that too, deleting my entire account—eight years' worth of email and documents—in the process. They also posed as me on Twitter and posted racist and antigay diatribes there. After my story set off a wave of publicity, Apple changed its practices: It temporarily quit issuing password resets over the phone.
But you could still get one online. And so a month later, a different exploit was used against New York Times technology columnist David Pogue. This time the hackers were able to reset his password online by getting past his "security questions. You know the drill. To reset a lost login, you need to supply answers to questions that supposedly only you know.
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Answers to the first two were available on Google: He had written that a Corolla had been his first car, and had recently sung the praises of his Toyota Prius. The hackers just took a wild guess on the third question. It turns out that at the dawn of the new millennium, David Pogue, like the rest of the world, was at a "party.
With that, the hackers were in. They dove into his address book he's pals with magician David Blaine! OK, you might think, but that could never happen to me: David Pogue is Internet- famous, a prolific writer for the major media whose every brain wave goes online. But have you thought about your LinkedIn account? Your Facebook page? Your kids' pages or your friends' or family's?
If you have a serious web presence, your answers to the standard questions—still often the only options available—are trivial to root out. Your mother's maiden name is on Ancestry. The ultimate problem with the password is that it's a single point of failure, open to many avenues of attack.
We can't possibly have a password-based security system that's memorable enough to allow mobile logins, nimble enough to vary from site to site, convenient enough to be easily reset, and yet also secure against brute-force hacking. But today that's exactly what we're banking on—literally. Who is doing this? Who wants to work that hard to destroy your life?
The answer tends to break down into two groups, both of them equally scary: overseas syndicates and bored kids. The syndicates are scary because they're efficient and wildly prolific. Malware and virus-writing used to be something hobbyist hackers did for fun, as proofs of concept. Not anymore. Sometime around the mids, organized crime took over. Today's virus writer is more likely to be a member of the professional criminal class operating out of the former Soviet Union than some kid in a Boston dorm room.
There's a good reason for that: money. Moreover, they are targeting not just businesses and financial institutions but individuals too. Russian cybercriminals, many of whom have ties to the traditional Russian mafia, took in tens of millions of dollars from individuals last year, largely by harvesting online banking passwords through phishing and malware schemes. In other words, when someone steals your Citibank password, there's a good chance it's the mob.
But teenagers are, if anything, scarier, because they're so innovative. The groups that hacked David Pogue and me shared a common member: a year-old kid who goes by the handle "Dictate. He's just calling companies or chatting with them online and asking for password resets. But that does not make him any less effective. He and others like him start by looking for information about you that's publicly available: your name, email, and home address, for example, which are easy to get from sites like Spokeo and WhitePages.
Then he uses that data to reset your password in places like Hulu and Netflix, where billing information, including the last four digits of your credit card number, is kept visibly on file. Once he has those four digits, he can get into AOL, Microsoft, and other crucial sites. Soon, through patience and trial and error, he'll have your email, your photos, your files—just as he had mine. Why do kids like Dictate do it? Mostly just for lulz: to fuck shit up and watch it burn.
One favorite goal is merely to piss off people by posting racist or otherwise offensive messages on their personal accounts. As Dictate explains, "Racism invokes a funnier reaction in people. Hacking, people don't care too much. When we jacked jennarose3xo"—aka Jenna Rose, an unfortunate teen singer whose videos got widely hate-watched in —"I got no reaction from just tweeting that I jacked her stuff. We got a reaction when we uploaded a video of some black guys and pretended to be them.
A lot of these kids came out of the Xbox hacking scene, where the networked competition of gamers encouraged kids to learn cheats to get what they wanted.
In particular they developed techniques to steal so-called OG original gamer tags—the simple ones, like Dictate instead of Dictate—from the people who'd claimed them first. One hacker to come out of that universe was "Cosmo," who was one of the first to discover many of the most brilliant socialing exploits out there, including those used on Amazon and PayPal. When the FBI finally arrested this shadowy figure in June, they found that he was just 15 years old; when he and I met a few months later, I had to drive.
It's precisely because of the relentless dedication of kids like Dictate and Cosmo that the password system cannot be salvaged. You can't arrest them all, and even if you did, new ones would keep growing up. Think of the dilemma this way: Any password-reset system that will be acceptable to a year-old user will fall in seconds to a year-old hacker. For the same reason, many of the silver bullets that people imagine will supplement—and save—passwords are vulnerable as well.
For example, last spring hackers broke into the security company RSA and stole data relating to its SecurID tokens, supposedly hack-proof devices that provide secondary codes to accompany passwords. RSA never divulged just what was taken, but it's widely believed that the hackers got enough data to duplicate the numbers the tokens generate. If they also learned the tokens' device IDs, they'd be able to penetrate the most secure systems in corporate America. On the consumer side, we hear a lot about the magic of Google's two-factor authentication for Gmail.
It works like this: First you confirm a mobile phone number with Google. After that, whenever you try to log in from an unfamiliar IP address, the company sends an additional code to your phone: the second factor. Does this keep your account safer? Absolutely, and if you're a Gmail user, you should enable it this very minute. Will a two-factor system like Gmail's save passwords from obsolescence? Let me tell you about what happened to Matthew Prince. They wanted to get into his Google Apps account, but it was protected by two-factor.
What to do? Give the carrier those nine digits—or even just the last four—along with the name, phone number, and billing address on an account and it lets anyone add a forwarding number to any account in its system. And getting a Social Security number these days is simple: They're sold openly online, in shockingly complete databases. So when the automated call came in, it was forwarded to them.
Two-factor just added a second step and a little expense. The longer we stay on this outdated system—the more Social Security numbers that get passed around in databases, the more login combinations that get dumped, the more we put our entire lives online for all to see—the faster these hacks will get. And no one has figured out what will take its place. What we can say for sure is this: Access to our data can no longer hinge on secrets—a string of characters, 10 strings of characters, the answers to 50 questions—that only we're supposed to know. The Internet doesn't do secrets.
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Sign Up. People should not be greedy I don't mind sharing with somebody who can't afford internet. Most hackers do it for the thrill, it's not about free Internet all the time. If you want to make sure your safe, just check the settings on your router. Have you heard of Reaver?