Posts Tagged ‘Theft’

Stealing ATM PINs with thermal cameras

Published by pratyushkp on August 17th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

At the USENIX Security Symposium last week, researchers Keaton Mowery, Sarah Meiklejohn and Stefan Savage from the University of California at San Diego presented their paper “Heat of the Moment: Characterizing the Ef?cacy of Thermal Camera-Based Attacks.”

Inspired by previous research on safecracking by Micha? Zalewski, they thought it would be easier for a criminal to snoop on ATM PINs using a thermal (infrared) camera to detect residual heat from keypresses rather than current techniques using traditional video cameras.

Thermal imaging provides several advantages. Unlike with traditional cameras, visually masking the PIN pad does not defeat the attack, and the ability to automate PIN harvesting using computer software further simplifies the task.

‘Dating’ Site Nicks 250,000 Facebook Profiles

Published by pratyushkp on February 7th, 2011 - in Social, Technology

Were you one of them?

Those who have watched The Social Network will remember how Mark Zuckerberg goes about stealing photographs from random academic websites and proceeds to use all that for his own website, which was indeed based on a real life system dubbed FaceMash that Zuckerberg had pulled for real. Well, in a cruel twist of irony, a dating website named Lovely Faces has pulled the same trick on Facebook. The folks behind the website are pretty unabashed about it too.

The plot is simple; Lovely Faces rips profiles replete with names, locations and photos right off the publicly accessible Facebook pages. Using face recognition, the website classifies the unsuspecting victims into searchable personality types. For example, one can search for possible (and unwitting) mates in their vicinity based on parameters like “easy going”, “smug” or “sly.”

The website has been created by media artist Paolo Cirio and media critic Alessandro Ludovic who is also the editor-in-chief of Neural magazine. “Facebook, an endlessly cool place for so many people, becomes at the same time a goldmine for identity theft and dating – unfortunately, without the user’s control. But that’s the very nature of Facebook and social media in general. If we start to play with the concepts of identity theft and dating, we should be able to unveil how fragile a virtual identity given to a proprietary platform can be,” goes their explanation of the invasive prank they pulled on Facebook.

Facebook, however, isn’t taking this lightly. Barry Schnitt, Facebook’s director of policy communications warned, “Scraping people’s information violates our terms. We have taken, and will continue to take, aggressive legal action against organizations that violate these terms. We’re investigating this site and will take appropriate action.” There seems to be legal merit to Facebook’s threat, because scraping info from the website does require legal consent, which we presume Cirio and Ludovic haven’t acquired prior to this stunt.

However this may end; what you should do now is head over to Facebook and tighten up your privacy settings. And of course, never share personal information on social network websites.

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