Anonymity Online Through The Tor Project

Since it’s release in 2002, the Tor (short for The Onion Router) has been a system running intended to enable online anonymity.

Tor client software routes Internet traffic through a worldwide volunteer network of servers in order to conceal a user’s location or usage from someone conducting network surveillance or traffic analysis. Using Tor makes it more difficult to trace Internet activity, including “visits to Web sites, online posts, instant messages and other communication forms”, to the user. It is intended to protect users’ personal freedom, privacy, and ability to conduct confidential business by keeping their internet activities from being monitored.

http://www.torproject.org/

I have tried using Tor years ago and it seems somewhat practical, but effective for someone who would like anonymity online. The Tor client software can be run through virtually anything that uses the internet on your computer. The downside I found with it though was that sometimes it can cause slow speeds, due to running through other people who have slow internet. Also the fact that you are volunteering yourself while on the Tor network, might make some uneasy about using it.

Have any of you guys used Tor? and if not, do you think it is worth using it to protect your privacy?

USB Hardware Keylogger with Wi-Fi

I’ve always known about hardware based keyloggers, but until recently I have not realized how advanced they have become. Upon my surprise, recently I came across a Wi-Fi Premium USB Hardware Keylogger being sold online. It has a somewhat hefty price tag at $169, but it’s amazing what it can do.

Features:

  •    2 Gigabytes of internal memory
  •    Automatic E-mail reports with recorded keyboard data
  •    Background connection to the Internet over a local Access Point
  •    Built-in time-stamping module
  •    Internal clock and battery with over 7 years lifetime guaranteed!
  •    No software or drivers required, Windows, Linux, and Mac compatible
  •    On-demand access at any time through TCP/IPWi-Fi
  •    Support for WEP, WPA, and WPA-2 encryption
  •    Ultra compact and discrete, less than 2 inches (5 cm) long
  •    Works with any USB keyboard

Link to the google product page

Just having 2 gigabytes of memory allows for a ton of text to be stored. Probably about 1000 word documents. Scariest thing about this Keylogger is it’s Wi-Fi connectivity. Once deployed, the attacker wouldn’t have to worry about collecting it and has the information they need as soon as they want. I do wonder though if the claim of it working with any USB keyboard is in fact true.

What do you guys think about this new breed of hardware keyloggers?

Making The Right Anti-Virus Choice

An increasing amount of people use Anti-Virus products every year, as it is important to do so. Some are certainly better than others and choosing the right Anti-Virus is important for many reasons. When considering an Anti-Virus product one should take these features into account.

  • Real-time Scanner
  • On-access Scanner
  • On-Demand Scanner
  • Heuristic Scanner
  • Compressed File Scanner
  • Scheduled Scans
  • Script Blocking
  • POP3 Email Scanning
  • Web-mail Protection
  • Instant Messaging Protection
  • Automatic Virus Updates
  • Automatic Program Updates

Here are some statistics on the top Anti-Virus programs for 2011. The statistics are done by AV-Test, an independent IT-Security Institute that does detailed test reports every year.

  • “Protection”: Covers static and dynamic malware detection, including real-world 0-Day attack testing.
  • “Repair”: Check the system disinfection and rootkit removal in detail.
  • “Usability”: System slow-down caused by the tools and the number of false positives.

http://www.av-test.org/en/tests/test-reports/

Personally I have always been a fan of Kaspersky, but within the last 4 years the top Anti-Virus products have been changing positions. Even Norton has gotten better and is less known for bloatware then what it used to be.

What Anti-Virus products do you guys recommend? Or do you believe these statistics to be quite accurate?

New Intel Identity Protection Technology

Just recently Intel has been putting authentication technology into its chips. These consist of some Core and Core vPro processor-based PCs from HP, Lenovo, Sony and others. These enhanced chips started shipping to consumers over the summer, while many were clueless of the technology.

Intel Identity Protection Technology generates a unique number for the specific PC and a six-digit code that is used to authenticate your computer with your account when logging into a Web site. (Credit: Intel)

This is a two-factor authentication process, which adds an extra layer of security. When you visit a site and type in your username and password, an algorithm running on the chipset generates a six-digit code that changes every 30 seconds from the embedded processor. That generated six-digit code is then validated by the site. Although the downside is that the web site needs to be using this identity protection technology that works with the Intel chip to enable this two-factor authentication.

I think this security tech is promising because it’s making use of hardware to add security. I would hope though that the algorithm that’s used to generate the six-digit codes would be hard to figure out or replicate by a hacker.

http://news.cnet.com/8301-1009_3-20126770-83/intel-chips-let-web-sites-check-your-computers-id/

What do you guys think about this added security method in Intel chips? Is it practical and would sites adopt it?

Laptop Shoulder Surfing

Privacy problems with using laptops in public has always been a concern. As we all know, a low tech way to hack a laptop is to simply peer at the laptop while the owner uses it. I’ve personally have seen a fair share of laptops being used in public with no consideration of those around them. A big problem I think is just human psychology. While a person is engaged in using their laptop, their mind is in that mode and everything around them is a separate world.

What people really should do is put more thought into preventive measures. They sell many different privacy filters these days that are made of a type of plastic using microlouver technology. They have gotten better since they first came out. Nowadays they work well enough that someone sitting next to you will not be able to make out your screen.

Then the question comes up, what about someone behind me? Well you need to make sure you use a laptop in public where your back won’t be exposed to others. Like sitting in a corner or near a wall of some sort. That is unless you have snuggie security.

Who knew snuggie security idea could be an answer?

There is the everywhere security model.

The side security model

and the keyboard security model

Would you use snuggie security? or do you guys think there is a better way out there to keep your laptop privacy, other than the things I have mentioned.