The latest to reveal itself is a little thing called a KeySniffer which can wirelessly intercept wireless keyboard signals and capture anything you type. The device itself is little more than an antenna and wireless dongle and some code. If you use a wireless keyboard on your Mac or iPad or Windows tablet a hacker only needs to be within a hundred feet or so and he or she could capture anything you type on the keyboard.
The caveat is that cheaper wireless keyboards don’t use Bluetooth (which has been around awhile, is well tested, and more secure) and that sets them up to be hacked. One news report about the KeySniffer said that a hacker not only could see and capture all the keystrokes, but also inject keystrokes into the keyboard.
What’s the fix? A wired keyboard.
Apple’s Mac line is less vulnerable to such a wireless hack because– as far as my unscientific survey goes– Macs with wireless keyboards use Bluetooth, but that doesn’t mean there are not additional hacking attempts going on.
Step away from your Mac at school or office, for only a minute, and someone nearby could install a keylogger utility which would do much the same thing– capture and store everything you type on your Mac’s keyboard, wireless or otherwise, and you would never know what happened until your identity was compromised or bank account drained.
One of the more recent trends in hacking is called ransomware.
Ransomware is a cryptovirology attack carried out using covertly installed malware that encrypts the victim’s files and then requests a ransom payment in return for the decryption key that is needed to recover the encrypted files. Thus, ransomware is an access-denial type of attack that prevents legitimate users from accessing files since it is intractable to decrypt the files without the decryption key. Other attacks superficially lock the system and display messages intended to coax the user into paying. Ransomware attacks are typically carried out using a Trojan that has a payload disguised as a seemingly legitimate file.
Not to worry. A programmer came up with a solution that prevents such ransomeware from working on your Mac. It’s called RansomeWhere?
This tool attempts to generically prevent this, by detecting untrusted processes that are encrypting your personal files. Once such a process is detected, RansomWhere? will stop the process in its tracks and present an alert to the user. If this suspected ransomware, is indeed malicious, the user can terminate the process. On the other hand, if its simply a false positive, the user can allow the process to continue executing.
Alright, you can worry again because RansomeWhere? is more of a proof of concept that ransomeware can be stopped than it is an actual hacker stopper you can install and use to sleep better at night.
This cat and mouse game has been going on seemingly forever where hackers gain access and an upper hand, OS developers find ways to plug the holes, then it’s repeat ad nauseam.
This is a follow up to my article from last week, If You’re Online, You’re Not Safe. It’s a missive that is gaining support.