Internet Privacy — Are We Really Safe?

Internet Privacy has been on the forefront of the tech world recently with news such as a the Flame virus, LinkedIn passwords being leaked onto the internet, state sponsored attacks on google accounts, this is in addition to the already infamous Anonymous who have publicly shown they can hack into basically anything including government facilities.

Here’s the scoop:

  • The Flame Virus is designed to steal different databases, used for spying. Basically Flame can detect and recognize a microphone and camera on the computer, turn it on and record every action and conversation taking place in the room In addition, it can record all your keystrokes, so everything you type and erase gets recorded and sent. Now it can even infect secure computers by masking itself as a Microsoft update. Microsoft has confirmed this and implemented additional security to protect computers.
  • 6.5 million LinkedIn passwords have been leaked onto the internet recently. A user on a Russian forum claimed to have downloaded 6.46 million LinkedIn user passwords. LinkedIn has over 150 million users worldwide, which represents less than 5% of infected accounts. LinkedIn confirmed the breach and disabled the affected accounts and sent them emails to reset their password. However, just to be on the safe side, I would recommend all LinkedIn users to change their passwords. In addition, I would recommend users that utilize the same password for multiple site to change and also change your passwords if you have used the same password on other sites.
  • Recently Google announced that they are taking immediate steps to protect Google accounts that may be “targeted” by state-sponsored attacks. Eric Grosse, Google’s Vice President of Security Engineering, wrote on googleonlinesecurity.blogspot.com, “When we have specific intelligence — either directly from users or from our own monitoring efforts — we show clear warning signs and put in place extra roadblocks to thwart these bad actors.”

The warning will state: “Warning: We believe state-sponsored attackers may be attempting to compromise your account or computer. Protect yourself now.”

Grosse continues in the blog, “If you see this warning it does not necessarily mean that your account has been hijacked. It just means that we believe you may be a target, of phishing or malware for example, and that you should take immediate steps to secure your account.”

  • Anonymous has been in the news for quite some time, hacking into government sites, corporations, and more from all over the world. Anonymous recently announced that “the World will see an unprecedented amount of Corporate, Financial, Military and State leaks that will have been secretly gathered by millions of CONSCIENTIOUS citizens, vigilantes, whistle blowers and insiders worldwide.” They have stated that this will take place from December 12, 2012 (12-12-2012) to December 21, 2012 (12-21-2012). Police have been tracking them, trying to put a stop to it, but for now most of them remain anonymous.

So much of the world already connected to the internet, and with that number rapidly growing, as well as the increasing amount of hacks, virtual attacks, and viruses circulating; it begs the question: Are our internet activities truly safe?

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