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July 30, 2013
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Vail Daily letter: Hackers’ paradise

While it may be fine to theorize about the right to privacy with regards to the Internet and email, the fact is that the current Internet was initially developed as means of sharing data among a relatively small and mutually trustworthy group of peers. It was not developed with security as a major factor and therefore has and will always have vulnerabilities.

Any use of the Internet is subject to hacking, and hacking goes on all the time. Whether you are using a PC, cell phone, laptop, iPad, it simply does not matter. It is the basic structure of the Internet that will always be vulnerable. Just today I looked at a summary of some the latest issues reported about Internet data hacking:

Ubuntu forums hacked; 1.82M logins, email addresses stolen.

SIM crypto cracked by a single text; mobes stuffed with spyware.

Apple developer center still down.

Apple blames days-long developer center outage on “intruder.”

The director of national intelligence asks why people trust Facebook more than the government.

How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages.

SIM sleuth finds security flaw that may affect 750M phones.

Apple software developers site hacked.

The bottom line is that any time you use the Internet, you are using an insecure medium, and for all practical purposes you do not have any guarantee of privacy. Of course, there are ways to lessen the chance of having your private communications and data being hacked. But I doubt many will want to give up social sites like Facebook or the convenience that cookies provide frequent users.

Many fail to use effective firewalls, and rarely, if ever, run antivirus programs. I still find an amazing amount of people who “unintentionally visit” porn sites, apparently unaware that these sites have been for years a prime resource for clever hackers to literally steal all the information from your Internet-connected device.

Most of us use a variety of online services that host our personal data, and these are always in danger of attack. I have accepted these risks for the convenience of online banking and payments. But the risks remain. That is why you should frequently check accounts you maintain that are accessed by Internet service companies for such purposes as online banking.

Setting limits on payments also helps. Avoiding placing anything on social media sites that you do not wish to share with the world is another.

And make sure you understand that your smart phone is not smart. Hackers are far more clever than your phone.

John Valersky

Edwards


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The VailDaily Updated Jul 31, 2013 03:56PM Published Aug 6, 2013 02:40PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.