Not for the paranoid, but you may want to read some of the easy ways people can watch you and your information. Many of the items on the list I was aware of but quite a few I was not and found them intriguing. Good thing I'm not paranoid.
I've always known there was a way to remotely access someones cell phone and turn it on for real time audio and even video (think CSI), but now I know it is true and I bet you do not even need to load software on it to work in many cases (they are all web based nowadays and always on and connected....).
10 Ways Your Voice and Data Can Be Spied on
By Tim Greene
Mon, July 27, 2009 â€” Network World â€” Attackers seeking to do harm or mischief to networks work with an ever expanding arsenal of tools that sometimes seem to be the stuff of spy fiction, but they are all too real.
Here are 10 cloak-and-dagger ways, legal and illegal, to secretly tap into networks and computers to capture data and conversations.
1. Wireless keyboard eavesdropping: Remote-exploit.org has released an open source hardware design and accompanying software for a device that captures then decrypts signals from wireless keyboards. The device uses a wireless receiver that can be concealed in clothing or disguised as a common object that could be left on a desk near a PC to pick up signals.
Called Keykeriki, the technology targets 27MHz wireless keyboards to exploit insecurities that remote-expoit.org discovered earlier. The company plans to build and sell the hardware.
2. Wired keyboard eavesdropping: Electromagnetic pulses that keyboards make to signal what key is being hit travel through the grounding system of the keyboard and the computer itself as well as the ground for the electrical wiring in the building where the computer is plugged in.
Probes placed on the ground for the electric wiring can pick up these electromagnetic fluctuations, and they can be captured and translated into characters. The potential for this type of eavesdropping has been known for decades, and many experts believe spy agencies have refined techniques that make it practical. Andrea Barisani and Daniele Bianco, researchers for network security consultancy Inverse Path, are presenting their quick-and-dirty research on the topic at this year's Black Hat USA conference in the hopes of sparking more public research of these techniques.
3. Laptop eavesdropping via lasers: Bouncing lasers off laptops and capturing the vibrations made as keys are struck give attackers enough data to deduce what is being typed. Each key makes a unique set of vibrations different from any other. The space bar makes an even more unique set, Barisani and Bianco say.
Language analysis software can help determine which set of vibrations correspond to which key, and if the attacker knows the language being used, the message can be exposed, they say.
4. Commercial keyloggers: Early keyloggers were devices attached in-line with keyboards, but they advanced to software tools that grab keystrokes and store or send them to an attack server. Commercial versions have the software loaded on memory sticks that can dump the software on a computer and then be reinserted later to download the collected data.
5. Cell phones as remotely activated bugs: Software loaded onto certain models of cell phones can silence the ringers and cut off the light displays that would normally be triggered when calls are made to them. The caller can then listen in on conversations in the room where the phone is located.
According to press reports, the FBI received court permission to use this technique to spy on suspected Mafia members in New York.
6. Cell phone SIM card compromise: If attackers can get possession of a cell phone briefly, they can use commercially available software to download and read SIM cards and their store of phone numbers, call logs, SMS messages, photos and so on.
For instance PhoneFile Pro is software on a USB stick that claims to enable both the download and the display of the data.
7. Law enforcement wiretapping based on voice print: Phone company voice switches include software that can search all conversations going through it for voices that match sets of voiceprints. Whenever the switch makes a match, it can trigger a recording of the conversation and alert law enforcement officials, says James Atkinson, an expert in technical surveillance countermeasures.
The feature is designed to support communications assistance for law enforcement (CALEA) -- the law that requires phone companies to provide wiretapping access under court order to specific communications traffic.
8. Remote capture of computer data: Under a sketchy technique called Computer and Internet Protocol Address Verifier (CIPAV), the FBI has remotely tracked down data about individual computers.
Details of the technology have never been publicly revealed, but they were used to track down high-school students who sent e-mail bomb threats. CIPAV grabs IP and MAC addresses, running processes, visited Web sites, versions of operating systems, registered owner and logging of computers the target computers connect to. It is believed the software that does this is dropped in via exploiting instant messaging.
9. Cable TV as an exploitable network: Because most cable TV networks are essentially hubbed, any node can monitor any other node's traffic, says James Atkinson, an expert in technical surveillance countermeasures. By and large security is rudimentary and the encryption used could be hacked by someone with basic technical skills and readily available decryption tools, he says.
10. Cell phone monitoring: Commercially available software claims to capture cell phone conversations and texting. Attackers need to get physical access to the phone to upload the software that enables this.
There are several commercial brands on the market, but there are also online complaints that the software doesn't work as advertised or is more complicated to use than the vendors let on.
Have you ever been in an office building trying to use your cell phone or Blackberry and it is almost impossible because there is no signal? You end up leaning against the window in a conference room just to get a good signal. We have some clients in large office buildings who have this problem. You walk 10 feet away from the windows and you have nearly no signal at all. This was causing a lot of pain for users trying to use their phone or do email when away from their desk. Luckily there is a solution to the problem and after implementation, there are no more worries about having a weak signal.
Like I mentioned earlier, we have a client that needed to get better cell signals throughout their office space. They have about 10,000 square feet with a large part of the space away from the windows that had no signal at all. We found a cell repeater solution that allowed us to simply mount a window antenna on one end and an omnidirectional antenna about 50 feet away on the other end to boost/repeat the signal throughout the office. Since the equipment was pretty much plug and play we figured it would just take a couple of hours to get it all installed and working. Warning - It is not so simple and it ended up taking about 30 man hours trying to find the best placement for everything so it worked well and was hidden as much as possible. Once in place though the signal was great. In fact recently before the installation I sat in a meeting in one of their conference rooms and couldn't get my PDA to sync my email since there was no signal at all. Now, oddly, it shows a slight signal but it works just fine (I did go in to the advanced diagnostics on my PDA and it shows a very good signal so who knows why the pretty little indicator on the main screen does not).
There are a lot of different types of cell repeaters on the market, so do a search and find the one that works best for your environment. For one of our clients, we chose a model from the firm below. Good price, good support, and it works well.
The economy is in a bad spot lately and people aren't buying cars - at least that is what the news proposes. I think that may be true, but the car dealers are either dumb or just don't care. This is my story....
My company car lease was up in May so I figured the timing works out great since I can either extend the current lease cheap for another year or get a great deal on a new car lease. Boy, was I wrong on both counts. I contacted my current lease provider and asked what the lease payment would be to keep the car for an additional year. I figured that they didn't want the car back since no one is buying cars and would love to have me keep it. They said my lease payment would double and couldn't give me a rational explanation as to why. What the heck? So I dropped the car off and moved on to looking at new cars.
I was looking at the usual suspects and some not usual ones - BMW, Lexus, Volvo, Acura, VW, Hyundai (hey don't knock the Genesis), Infiniti, and Audi. I figured with these brands the dealers would "get it" and give me a good deal and leave out all of the stereotypical car sales BS. Unfortunately that NEVER happened or even came close.
I wanted to make my life easy and leverage the Internet to work with the dealers. So I started emailing them asking for the best lease deal for the model car I was looking at with the general options I wanted. Many of the dealers said I had to come in to the dealership for the best pricing and would give me nothing in email (one dealer eventually did but then said that it was only valid for the next 4 hours so I better come in and take a test drive - what a dope). On the opposite side of the spectrum, several dealers gave me all of the information and said that was the best deal they could do. Those dealers seemed to be giving me good numbers until I checked Google, Edmunds, and other sites.
I finally narrowed my choice down to an Acura TL. It had all of the technology toys I was looking for, drove great, and it looked to be a good bang for the buck since the lease payment was less than any other of the cars I researched. So now I needed to find the right dealer. I did the same routine above with the Chicagoland Acura dealers and got the same results. Some dealers would give me nothing via email or phone and others were more open about it. The sad thing is that I visited a couple of the dealers for a test drive and both of them pretty much ignored me when walking in the door or after the test drive. It is quite disheartening to walk in to a largely empty car dealership and have no one pay attention to you for nearly 30 minutes even though you went to the counter and asked for a sales person twice.
So I finally chose the least worse dealer. The lease payment was on par with the numbers I had been getting (they said it was their best possible deal even though I saw others getting better deals in other states) so I went in to lease the car. Sad to say after two hours with them I drove off with the car but will never do business with the dealer again. They put me through the stereotypical dealer 101 sales pitch and cycle. Their finance guy showed me his computer screen to explain all of the financing. When I started questioning numbers (i.e. the sales price for the car) he was not smart enough to handle it and ended up changing the numbers on the screen and the lease payment dropped nearly $100 per month and they were still making money off the deal. In the end the finance manager came in, actually yelled at me, said that we were working off the lease payment for negotiation and not the price of the car (Yeah right... I'm stupid), ended up dropping the lease payment some and then said that I didn't deserve getting more of his money but he would do it anyway. Yikes.
What perplexed me the most was that all of the dealers were so short sighted. Here I am leasing a company car, which means that I will be needing to lease another one in 3 years. You would think they would want my repeat business, but all of the dealers seemed only focused on the transaction. They didn't care about me as their customer, they didn't care about tyring to maintain a relationship, they were not proactive with anything, and their responsiveness and communication skills were severely lacking. My basic business practice is to treat my clients as family, be responsive, communicate, and take care of whatever they need. If no one is buying cars how come the dealers are not even doing the basics? I just don't get it.
I've had the new Acura TL for a couple of weeks and love it. Great car if you are looking for one. Just don't buy it from the dealer I did and you should be OK.