Tag Archives: hack

PDF Error Can Give Hackers Control of Your iPhone, iPad, or iPod

The same security hole that allows users to jailbreak their Apple products can also give hackers easy access to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod.

iPhone photo by William Hook

According to Reuters, French security firm Vupen has confirmed that by simply visiting a website and opening a contaminated PDF file, you can give hackers complete control of your iOS device.

The hack is triggered when visit a web address in your Safari browser that automatically opens a PDF document. Contaminated documents include an infected font file that causes an error that gives the hacker control of your device. Once the hack is triggered, it can delete files, download your data, or install applications.

If your running iOS 3.1.2 or higher on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, you’re vulnerable. To avoid the problem, Gizmodo advises that you avoid opening PDFs directly until a fix is released–or if you must, only open PDFs from highly trustable sources.

One Step for Privacy and Security

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford wrote what he considered to be private email correspondences to a “dear friend”. Unfortunately, the recipient of his email communications had her email account hacked. This unauthorized access meant that Governor Sanford’s private, intimate email correspondences were media fodder for the national and international press. The breach of email security was one of the reasons that Governor Sanford has much unwanted attention and public embarrassment.

This example may be extreme. However, it illustrated a point. What you do on the computer and on the internet may not be private and secure. What you have on your hard drive, like this year’s tax information, can be accessed by hackers and by malware.

One of the basic ways to protect yourself is to encrypt your computer information.

Encrypt – encrypt – encrypt. Security people have been saying this for years. And we agree. Encryption is an extra layer of protection. Somehow, there is a common belief that encryption is difficult and totally geekish. It’s not that at all. SafeBit Disk Encryption makes it easy:

SafeBit features on-the-fly disk encryption, by creating encrypted virtual disk drives, where you can hide files and folders, keep them encrypted all the time, but still work with these files just like you work with normal files. Disk Encryption is transparent to the user…

This program is efficient – and easy to use. It effectively provides security, and stays out of your way. It really is non-intrusive. And, to encourage you to protect your sensitive data, the SafeBit people are being kind and offering our readers an unbelievable discount of forty per cent (40%) off the normal price:

This is an exclusive, time limited offer that is available to our readers. It expires on July 15, 2009. Safebit supports 32-bit versions of Windows Vista/XP/2000/NT.

There are two more things that needs to be said. The first is that you may have all the security software protection ever recommended on your machine. You may be protecting yourself from malware, spyware, trojans, rootkits and all that other garbage. An infection still can compromise your computer. No security software program dares to offer a hundred per cent protection. What happens if you lose or have your machine stolen? For example, missing/stolen laptops are reported every day. Then, all your confidential information is available to whoever is powering up your machine. And this security breach leads to identity theft. Yes, this type of encryption should be on every government and business laptop. [Give a shout if you want this program in high volume. We will see what we can do for you.]

The other thing is that there is no backdoor. The SafeBit people state this clearly.

The software does NOT include any backdoor. Neither the vendor nor any other entities are able to break the SafeBit Disk encryption.

You must remember your password. There is no two ways about it. The vendor is not going to be able to save you. Again, you must remember the password. The program really is that good. Losing your machine may be costly but losing the confidential personal information on that computer may mean possibly long term anguish. SafeBit is just an efficient, easy way to protect yourself.

The NeoByte people will give you a choice. They are offering our readers a forty per cent (40%) discount on their Invisible Secret product. That product was reviewed previously.

Both these programs will help to keep prying eyes away from your sensitive, confidential files. Protect your privacy.

Overclocking and Webcam Hacks

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See? We get some excellent topics and conversations going when I open up the phone lines. Mbonzo had a question about overclocking! He’s a long-time chatter, and has sent in top five lists before, as well.

The question is that he has a new system and old overclocking equipment. He’s having trouble getting it to stabilize. My first suggestion was to cool it… he says he is water cooling it. I told him to get colder water and had to laugh. If it’s pushed to the limit, even with a super-cooled system… something is going to be unstable. He’s bringing the system to its knees. Someone in the chat room suggested trying Cryo-Cool, which I imagine is even colder than water. There’s not much more he can do, honestly, other than to cool it even more.

Mbonzo also had another question. He’s thinking of going with Dual monitors… and wonders how much of his power supply will be sucked up. Those won’t eat up as much as the video card itself will, which he indicates is a GeForce 8800.

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Protect Yourself from Getting Hacked

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Have you ever been hacked? Are you sure you haven’t been? I was once, through my own stupidity. It’s easy to have it happen to you. Fortunately, it’s honestly easy to keep from getting hacked, as well.

  • Do not give out your IP address. This is one of the most important things to remember if you don’t want to get hacked. If you give out your IP to someone you don’t know, they can see files on your computer that you might not want to be seen by other people. Also, they could crash your computer. Just remember: don’t give it out to ANYONE.
  • Don’t download any program if you don’t know what it is. If it says “free computer virus scan” and it looks fake… it probably is. The reason is that some people put key loggers in those programs so they can store everything you type. If you type in your email address and password, they can see that data and use it to get in to your email. Remember, if you don’t want to get hacked… don’t download anything that you don’t know what it is or what it does.
  • Secure your Wifi network if you have one. Today, most houses have Wifi, and probably about half of them are unsecured. I went driving around in my neighborhood and found 32 wifi networks. Only ten of them had a secure network. If you have an unsecured network, people who have access to your network can hack in to your computer. They could gain control over your computer if they know what they’re doing. Use a hard-to-guess password that contains a mixture of numbers and letters, and change it frequently.
  • Make sure you log off of any account you have on your computer before walking away. This applies to shared computers. If you have company over and you let them use your computer, they could gain access to your passwords or personal information if you don’t log out of them. Also, if you are on a shared computer, never take advantage of websites that offer “saved login information”.
  • Keep a secure password for everything you have. Make a password that is long and hard-to-guess. Even people you know could hack in to any account you have, such as your Paypal. If they have your Email and they know you real well they might have a chance on guessing your password.

I also wanted to point you towards the blog post Kat wrote recently with her take on staying safe from Hackers.

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What is iPhone JailBreak?

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I’ve had my iPhone for a few months now, and I’ve talked about it several times in previous videos. People ask me all the time if I have or am going to use JailBreak to hack my iPhone. Here are five reasons why I have not… and likely will not… hack my iPhone.

  • #1. It’s not sanctioned by Apple. Apple has been very careful with how they have developed their hardware, and are very closed about it. When someone develops something for an Apple product and that development isn’t sanctioned by Apple, you run the risk of it not working as it should, conflicting with the device itself, or just all-around bricking that iPhone.
  • #2.My iPhone just works already. It’s not perfect, no. There are other things that I wish it could do, yes. But… it’s not doing anything that I don’t want it to do. So why mess with something that already works?
  • #3. There is an SDK (Software Development Kit) coming soon from Apple. This will allow developers to create more things for the iPhone. With the enthusiasm already shown for this, I am confident some pretty cool things will be created in no time, and released.
  • #4. Hacks can lead to problems. I have done this to other devices in the past. Every time, it invariably either messed something else up, or caused an issue with a future update. I need my device to work, not get screwed up because I installed something the device wasn’t expecting or necessarily designed for.
  • #5. Wirelesspacket brought up this one. He pointed out that you don’t have a trust system in place when you use something like this. If it’s not sanctioned by Apple, then the trust system you are relying on may not even exist. You’re trusting the hack will do what it says, and won’t cause issues. But you can’t be sure.

Another thing Lenny brought up is that one thing JailBreak lets you do is to install SSH (Secure Shell) on your iPhone. If you don’t uninstall it, you are very vulnerable when using an unsecured wireless connection. Anything and everything that is on your iPhone (including your phone book and all your stored data) can be recovered by someone else on the wireless network.

So the answer is no… I will not be hax0ring my iPhone. Have you? Will you?

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Phil Torrone

Confirmed Gnomedex Discussion Leader: Phil Torrone. Last year, “pt” was a smash hit. With his inter-presentation hacks, he quickly became the most popular geek at Gnomedex 5. More people went home talking about the hardware mods he demonstrated than we would have anticipated. With Gnomedex 6.0 being “a higher resolution,” we’re resolved to giving him a bit more time to explore his geekier side. If a physical product can be hacked, pt can hack it. If a physical product can’t be hacked, pt will find a way – and then share his knowledge with the rest of the world.