One way or another, passwords are always in the news. They're either being stolen in data breaches, or mocked for being too simple; derided as pointless, or lamented for being technologically backward. No matter what opinion any of us have on passwords, though, one thing is indisputable: we're going to be using them today, tomorrow and for the forseeable future. Unlike touch or facial recognition technologies, passwords are used everywhere because they're cheap to implement and simple to use. For end users, they are as low-tech as security tech ever gets.
All evolution comes with challenges and the dark world of cybercrime continues to thrive and is this year's second most reported economic crime. The recent NHS computer hack using Wanna Decryptor ransomware shut down IT systems with 75,000 attacks in 99 countries. The unprecedented ransomware breach froze computers across the health service with hackers threatening to delete files unless a ransom was paid. The passwords were scrambled with the MD5 algorithm, which nowadays is easy to crack. According to Zdnet.com, the unidentified hacker explained his motives for the attack: "I heard the database was getting traded around so I decided to dump it myself – like I always do". He said it was "mainly just for the challenge and training my pentest skills." He exploited a union-based SQL injection vulnerability in the site's software, a flaw he said was "easy to find."
Defined as the "ability for (computers) to learn without being explicitly programmed," machine learning is huge news for the information security industry. It's a technology that potentially can help security analysts with everything from malware and log analysis to possibly identifying and closing vulnerabilities earlier. Perhaps too, it could improve endpoint security, automate repetitive tasks, and even reduce the likelihood of attacks resulting in data exfiltration.
Making privacy and security a part of your regular smartphone use just takes a little effort. The launch of Apple's iPhone 7 has been greeted with much enthusiasm. The new phone comes with all of the latest bells and whistles, including the iPhone 7 Plus' dual-lens camera. However, when getting a new phone many people give little thought about what they need to do to protect their privacy and security. Whether you are getting a new smartphone or continuing to use an older model, everyone should be taking precautions to protect their privacy and security.