Pete Recommends – Weekly highlights on cyber security issues, March 18, 2023

Subject: 9 Tips to Protect Your Smartphone from Hackers
Source: gHacks Tech News

When considering the term “hackers,” the common perception is often of individuals seeking unauthorized access to computers to obtain passwords, steal identities, or cause general disruption. However, it is important to note that smartphones are also potential targets for these cyber threats, putting sensitive information at risk. Even with heightened precautions, the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) remains an advisable course of action to ensure security.

It is crucial to recognize the potential dangers of data breaches, as evidenced by recent incidents such as the Pegasus scandal. In these instances, cybercriminals may gain access to personal calls or messages, track location data, and even remotely activate microphones or cameras from any corner of the globe.

As the availability and usage of spyware tools expand among both authoritarian regimes and ordinary individuals, the need to safeguard personal mobile devices against potential hacks is paramount. It is crucial to maintain good digital hygiene practices and be equipped with knowledge to secure one’s smartphone defenses, as well as knowing how to recognize signs of a possible hack.

This article seeks to provide comprehensive guidance on two key areas. Firstly, preventative measures to stop unauthorized access to mobile data, and secondly, a step-by-step guide on what actions to take if a hack is suspected or confirmed.


Subject: AT&T data breach hits nine million customer accounts
Source: Android Central

What you need to know:

  • AT&T has confirmed that some nine million customer accounts have been exposed after a third-party marketing vendor has been hacked.
  • Customer information such as first names, account numbers, phone numbers, and email addresses were compromised as a result of the data breach.
  • AT&T’s own systems were not affected by the breach, nonetheless.

The massive security breach impacted approximately nine million customer accounts, and it took place in January, the same month that T-Mobile suffered a massive data breach affecting approximately 37 million postpaid and prepaid accounts.

Additionally, personally identifiable information such as first names, wireless account numbers, wireless phone numbers, and email addresses were exposed.

Subject: New algorithm may change the future of secure communication
Source: Help Net Security

Researchers have made a significant breakthrough in secure communication by developing an algorithm that conceals sensitive information so effectively that it is impossible to detect anything hidden. The team, led by the University of Oxford in close collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University, envisages that this method may soon be used widely in digital human communications, including social media and private messaging. In particular, the ability to send perfectly secure information may empower vulnerable groups, such as dissidents, investigative journalists, and humanitarian aid workers.

Steganography vs cryptography – The algorithm applies to a setting called steganography: the practice of hiding sensitive information inside of innocuous content. Steganography differs from cryptography because the sensitive information is concealed in such a way that obscures the fact that something has been hidden. An example could be hiding a Shakespeare poem inside an AI-generated cat image.

Despite having been studied for more than 25 years, existing steganography approaches generally have imperfect security, meaning that individuals who use these methods risk being detected. This is because previous steganography algorithms would subtly change the distribution of innocuous content.

Posted in: Cybercrime, Cybersecurity, Economy, Email Security, Financial System, Legal Research, Privacy, Social Media