Look around your home or office. To the left is a new Amazon Echo. To the right, your Siri-enabled iPhone. Across the hall is a Nest thermostat.And each device is collecting data on you, your habits, and your lifestyle – every minute.
The suspected CIA spying tools that WikiLeaks has dumped have been linked to hacking attempts on at least 40 targets in 16 countries, according to security firm Symantec.
Our phones track our location, what stores and restaurants we visit, ISPs may track our web wanderings, CCTV and license plate scanners monitor us in public, our expenses are tracked via credit card databases, Android phones log recordings of our voice in the Google cloud – and IoT enables the tracking of what we watch on TV, how often we open the refrigerator door … the primary business model of the Internet is 24 x 7 surveillance.
What do you think of this?
Employers are monitoring employees activities across a broad spectrum of functions – including your health, your physical activity, even attempting to measure your mood. At least one company required employees to have an app on their smart phone – which was then used to track the employee’s whereabouts and activities 24 x 7, including when they were not on the job.
In the case of health tracking, comply or the company effectively makes your health insurance benefits cost more.
Stop and think and make a note of all the places your are monitored. Start making a list – you may be quite surprised at how much your activities are monitored.
Android devices have an “Ok, Google” voice activation feature. This enables voice input of search and other functions on your Android device.
Google also records a copy of the audio when it does this. Google also occasionally records incidental audio having nothing to do with a search. It certainly has for me.
You can manually delete the records, one by one, which is very time consuming. You need to go to this Google page and log in, and then click on Manage Activity and go through Google’s cloud-based storage of your conversations in the past.
Google also records your location as you travel about, and even identifies what businesses or properties you have entered. Google’s Chrome logs every web site and page you visit in to the Google cloud.
In the past couple of weeks, Microsoft has come under fire for its Windows 10 keystroke logger, that when enabled, records you keystrokes and sends those to Microsoft. That means account names, passwords, personal search requests (even if using Tor) and so forth. You can disable their keystroke spying logger by going to Settings | Privacy and switch off the item labeled “Send Microsoft info about how I write to help us improve typing and writing in the future”.
Whenever someone else wants your personal data, you need to ask:
- who has access to this data?
- how will this data be stored securely?
- how long will this data be stored?
- how will the data being disposed of when it is no longer being stored?
If you do not know the answer to those questions, then you must be leery of donating your personal data to others. This also applies to non-computer world. When you are asked to fill out a paper form with lots of personal data, say to make a credit purchase, you should ask them how they will use the data, keep it secure, and how will they dispose of it?
Similarly, Microsoft’s docs.com web site for publishing and sharing your files makes all files public, by default. The result is that the docs.com search function readily unearths a lot of private data files that users probably do not even realize are posted online. These include school transcripts, medical records, passwords, credit card and other account data, banking statements and more.
THE PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE INTERNET IS TO SPY ON EVERYONE.
I lost Internet service for about 3 days this week. Bad timing!
Once my Internet came back I discovered that while offline, malware took over one of my web sites. It was sending spam messages to Twitter and Facebook, which I quickly blocked. Took me longer to identify the mechanism, clean it up, then remove the spam messages. The malware also prevented me from logging into the control panel for the web site, which I fixed by FTP’ing some replacement code.
I thought I’d gotten everything – but no, I missed the entry point for the malware – how that was discovered was unexpected!
Today, I backed up that web site and all of my web sites – files plus databases. While I was copying files from the remote web server to my local PC, my local PC’s antivirus software detected the malware file! It was a backdoor entry script that was installed to the web server in 2016. Someone used that to use the web site’s software to send out spam messages. Visibly, the web site continued to operate as normal – pretty sneaky.
I try to run “clean” and “secure” systems with many precautionary measures in place. But … every second of every day, we are under attack. Hacking is rarely prosecuted, and I’ve heard that in some countries, it is never prosecuted. Those countries host an entire industry of hackers, who have now moved on to ransomware and other tricks to make a profit off of hacking.
Researchers have determined a method of tracking individual users across web browsers. That means, changing to a different browser – or even using incognito or private browsing mode – to avoid tracking your online behavior, is no longer sufficient.
The researched identified 36 different properties that can be identified across browsers – some of which, when combined, identify a unique computer user – with 99% accuracy.
Source: Websites Can Now Track You Online Across Multiple Web Browsers