Have hackers stolen your personal information? This handy quiz will let you know

Data Breach

Over the past few years, there has been no shortage of high-profile credit card breaches at some of the largest retailers in the country. From Target to Home Depot, it seems that we can't go a few months without hearing a story regarding some new worrisome data breach. With respect to Home Depot in particular, it's estimated that nearly 60 million credit cards were compromised over a 5-month period.

Compounding the problem is that retailers aren't the only target that hackers have their eyes on. In recent months, hackers have managed to obtain confidential information from targets as varied as the U.S. Government, health insurance providers, and even popular apps like Twitter and Snapchat. Indeed, it can get a bit tiring trying to keep up with what sites have been exposed to security breaches and when.

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White House: No pardon for Edward Snowden

White House Edward Snowden Pardon

The White House is not quite ready to give Edward Snowden a free pass. The former NSA contractor turned whistleblower made some of the most important revelations in modern history about the covert operations conducted by Western intelligence agencies. Despite his many supporters, however, the U.S. government isn't about to just let bygones be bygones.

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Brinks safe hacked with USB stick and 100 lines of code

Brinks Safe Hack USB

As typically portrayed in action movies, breaking into an ostensibly impenetrable safe often requires a world class lock-picker or, barring that, an array or C4 explosives positioned in just the right orientation.

But in the real world, surprisingly enough, defeating the security mechanisms on a top-notch Brinks safe can be done with nothing more than a USB stick and 100 lines of code. At the always entertaining Def Con Hacking Conference set to kick off in Las Vegas next week, researchers Daniel Petro and Oscar Salazar of Bishop Fox will detail how they were able to skirt around the defenses of the Brinks CompuSafe Galileo with relative ease.

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Just how secure is your smartphone?

Whether you’re playing World of Goo, Candy Crush Saga, a full-on RPG, or the latest real-money casino games, every mobile user needs to be concerned about security.

No-one wants personal details stolen, logins compromised, or credit card information hacked into, but the truth is that attacks are on the rise. Look at the Ashley Madison hack as an example.

On mobile it can happen too, and it’s one of those areas which mobile gamers tend to ignore, but with scams and viruses only going up, is it time to act?

Android and iOS Security

Tech-heads went apoplectic earlier this year when mobile security firm, Skycure, discovered a major flaw with iOS 8.  In essence, it meant that the OS was open to SSL hacks. This would rendered phones unusable and iOS users were urged to update to keep their devices secure.

Just how secure is your smartphone?

Meanwhile, a million gamers on Android phones were hit by a malicious Trojan virus masquerading as an app in the Google Play Store.  Thinking they were innocent games, players downloaded ‘Cowboy Adventure’ and ‘Jump Chess’ accidentally up to a million times before being removed. It’s feared that countless Facebook details have been compromised.

While rare, it seems likely that the games – which clone a fake Facebook game page to entice players to log in with valuable information – were in this case infected by the developers themselves.

Handling SSL Encryption

Many no-download apps especially those for mobile casino players – require you to connect with the Internet.  Although there have been horror tales about hackers creating false networks which trick smartphone users into logging onto them, most mobile gamers are protected as well as their desktop counterparts. But how do you know that your details are secure when you enter them into a game or app?

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) will encrypt personal login information and data like credit card information. Every time personal data is sent over the internet, the info is scrambled before reaching its target. It’s also perfect for gamers wanting to connect across networks, as in multi-player RPGs.

Of course, as has been seen with the SSL scare on iOS 8, any app using an SSL certificate can be given a fake one by hackers, causing it to crash. Apple is currently working to fix the problem.

Anti-Virus Apps

With mobile viruses and malware on the up, it’s good to know you can beef up your mobile security totally free. With personal information, log-ins, and bank details all stored on game servers, it’s not enough just to cross your fingers and hope for the best.

Just how secure is your smartphone?


Apps like Avast for mobile will let you add extra layers of security to apps like Facebook, while the Premium edition detects which apps use ads – perfect for those annoying pop-ups when you play games.

Experienced desktop security provider, AVG, also has a free download version of its Anti-Virus software for Android users.

Security doesn’t stop with regular mobile gamers. Mobile gamblers have also seen the need for increased security measures.  Mobile gambling is on the rise, and with so many millions of dollars stored in online accounts, there’s plenty at stake (literally). Luckily, casino sites are licensed and regulated to ensure players’ money is safe and the games are fair. Reputable gaming jurisdictions like Malta, the UK and Gibraltar insist on proper security before issuing licences.

It’s also here that games are tested for fairness. RNG’s (Random Number Generators) are audited for fairness by approved testing bodies like eCOGRA and TST Global (Technical Systems Testing).

Reputable Developers

As with any type of gaming, trusting reputable software developers is key to avoid problems.  The Cowboy Adventure episode showed that hacks are as likely to come from manufacturers themselves as they are the external hackers.  With thousands of apps appearing every year, it can be easy to take your eye off the ball.

Read customer reviews, check software firms’ backgrounds, and scour the news to see if a developer has been blacklisted.

The post Just how secure is your smartphone? is original content from Coolsmartphone.


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  • Android flaw lets attackers into your phone through MMS videos

    Hangouts on a Galaxy S6 Edge

    If you're an Android user, you'd better hope that a stranger doesn't send you a video message in the near future -- it might compromise your phone. Security researchers at Zimperium have discovered an exploit that lets attackers take control if they send a malware-laden MMS video. The kicker is that you may not even need to do anything to trigger the payload, depending on your text messaging app of choice. While the stock Messenger app won't do anything until you see the message, Hangouts' pre-processing for media attachments could put you at risk before you're even aware that there's a message waiting.

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    Via: Forbes

    Source: NPR

    Pakistan to shut off BlackBerry email over surveillance jitters

    BlackBerry Classic

    Remember the days when governments were threatening to cut off BlackBerry's secure email because they couldn't spy on your messages? They're back. Pakistan's Telecommunication Authority has ordered local carriers to shut off BlackBerry Enterprise Service from November 30th due to "security reasons." While the agency isn't specific about what those concerns are, BES typically encrypts messages in such a way that an outside party can't (usually) intercept them in mid-flight. Most likely, Pakistan is worried that gangs and terrorists will use BlackBerry phones to chat in secret.

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    Source: Reuters

    Terrifying: Hackers take over a Jeep driving down the highway at 70 mph

    Car Hacking Experiment Charlie Miller

    Driverless cars promise to be safer than cars driven by humans... but that's assuming they don't get hacked by malicious actors. Hackers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek recently used Wired's Andy Greenberg as a human guinea pig for their latest experiment that involved taking over his car while it was driving at a high speed.

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    How to avoid seven of the most common online scams

    How to Avoid Online Scams

    The Internet is great for a lot of things — research, entertainment, getting caught up on world news — but it can also be a dangerous minefield if you aren't careful. Ever since the Internet became commonplace in society, scammers have found ways to take advantage of the unsuspecting masses.

    On Thursday, WhoIsHostingThis? shared its latest infographic, highlighting seven of the most common online scams, as well as offering tips for how to avoid them.

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    Touring the Turing, a wonderfully weird encrypted smartphone

    You'd think a company that makes security as seriously as Turing Robotics does wouldn't paint its first smartphones purple, red, gold or blue, but you'd have it pegged wrong. For a freshman effort, CEO SYL Chao envisioned an Android phone that was meant for designers and aesthetes as much as it was for security nerds and paranoiacs who crave the encryption tech inside it. Weird? You bet, but after spending a little time with some pre-production prototypes, I can't help but pull for this underdog. %Gallery-slideshow305275%

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    The massive hack of the U.S. government’s employee database is even worse than we thought

    OPM Hack 21.5 Million Workers Affected

    Wow. Remember the gigantic hack into the database of the federal government's Office of Personnel Management? Well it turns out that the hack has affected an estimated additional 21.5 million current and former federal workers, along with their families and friends. In short, this is a complete disaster.

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