Security for Dummies

security tips and tricks

Gmail and expose…

It was not so long ago, April 1, 2004, when Google mail first appeared. In 2005 there were 5.4 mln subscribers and 51 mln in early 2007. Do you know how many Gmail accounts were registered up to date? Quite a lot…
Do you have a Gmail account? I believe you do. Everyone has it.
It is a great and convenient tool. It is absolutely free. It is so convenient and easy to use! It is superb! BUT… Free, like a cheese in the mouse trap.
What makes me so skeptic? Why do I have a strong sensation of discomfort? What is a problem there? The answer is out there, in your (and my) personal Gmail account…

Did you ever feel the eyes watching you from behind when you opened your inbox? No, not the Big Brother is watching you. The Big Brother is slow and ignorant, while the G-Brother is much smarter and faster. Big Brother watches criminals behind the fence, G-Brother watches you in the web. By the way the similarity is even more transparent here. We both enjoy it for free…

Let me be more specific. One simple test that you can run yourself will show it much better than all words can do. Just send an e-mail to your Gmail account, put some specific subject (e.g. “How to rob a bank” or “where to buy drugs”). You can leave the message empty. Then open it in the web browser.
You will immediately get the point when you look at the Google ads. They will be very specific. They will rely to the subject of the mail, but not only. Another test – leave the subject empty or neutral and attach some word document. When you look at the adds you will realize that your attachment wass scanned. You will be offered stuff related to the content of your document. These ads will be also relevant to your profile. Do you know how big your Google profile is? I assume that it is much larger than your Big Brother’s file. 
Yes, I know that this information is collected to help seller pushing me some goods that I am probably interested in. But I feel concerned that some company keeps it. Moreover, I remember the story about Israeli blogger.

That was a first precedent. More are coming.

July 12, 2008 Posted by | Big Brother, privacy | , , | Leave a comment

Over 10000 laptops are lost every week in US airports

Yesterday article in PCWorld with reference to the Ponemon Institute The figure itself is amazing. But travelers’ attitude is more surprising.  About 77 percent of people surveyed said they had no hope of recovering a lost laptop. Therefore, they even did not claim the lost laptop. About 53 percent said that laptops contain confidential company information, with 65 percent taking no steps to protect the information.
What these figures say? 

  1. 53% of 637,000 = 337,610 laptops with confidential information lost each year
  2. 65% of 337,610 = 219,446 unprotected laptops with confidential information lost

According to the earlier survey of the same Ponemon Institute the average cost of compromised record in 2006 was $182. I can assume that nowadays it is much higher, about $250/record.

Assuming that each laptop has only 1 confidential record, direct annual damage is $54,861,625

Back to article:

Laptop theft is fairly prevalent in the U.S., said Mike Spinney, a spokesman for Ponemon Institute. In a study conducted by the institute, 76 percent of companies surveyed reported losing one or more laptops each year, of which 22 percent were due to theft or other criminal mischief.  Many people are ashamed of reporting lost laptops as they leave them where they shouldn’t be, Spinney said.

Let us compare above figures to the cost of simple measures for data protection:

  1. Encryption of disk – $45 per laptop with software solution or
  2. Encryption of disk – $115 per hardware key
  3. Dell Laptop tracking and recovery – 1st year free, including
  • Combat Theft – Absolute’s recovery team partners with law enforcement to track and recover your laptop 
  • Protect Data – Capability to delete valuable corporate data from the stolen system 
  • Track Your PCs – Manage software licenses, equipment leases, machine configurations and usage with remote monitoring capabilities.

What about your laptop?
Is it protected?
Do you keep confidential info on your hard disk?
Do you encrypt?

July 1, 2008 Posted by | Encryption, lost laptops, privacy, Security, Security Threats | , , | 1 Comment

Every step you take

I want you to watch this video. Big Brother is watching you. You never know when, where and how are you traced. 

n-Tegrity protects your privacy by not leaving any trace of your communication on the host computer you are using it on. Whether you are checking/sending your email, talking on Skype, or VPN or RDCing back to your office – no matter where you are – no trace is left on the host computer. Read more here

June 26, 2008 Posted by | Big Brother, privacy | , | Leave a comment