You might want to start assuming that all of your online interactions are unsecure; Heartbleed is out there waiting to strike. Tech professionals are calling Heartbleed the worst software bug the industry has seen in the last 15 years, and it is estimated that 150 million apps on the Android store are still vulnerable to Heartbleed. Companies are working feverishly to protect you and your data, although the real solution has yet to come about, meaning you are still at risk. Heartbleed bug has even been called, “The bug that broke the Internet,” after impacting sites as large and powerful as Facebook, Google, and Twitter. Data once assumed safe is clearly accessible to hackers, so how can you protect yourself from Heartbleed? And what does this mean for the future of technology and cyber crime?
Heartbleed can’t be traced, which means you don’t even know if you have the virus on your device. The best thing you can do is work to actively protect yourself against these hackers. Thanks to ethical hackers we have a better understanding of how cyber criminals operate, ethical hackers could use their advanced understanding of technology to harm you, but instead they use their knowledge for greater global good. According to ethical hacker and security researcher David Kennedy, there are a number of ways you can actively protect yourself against Heartbleed, and any other form of hacking. To keep hackers out of his data, Kennedy swears by the following:
-Never use the same password for two websites, let alone all of your websites.
-Say yes to 2-step verification codes. Google, for instance, will request a password and then prompt for a code sent straight to your phone if you log into your Gmail account from an unknown computer. This extra step helps keep hackers out, remember hackers are looking for easy targets, which are in surplus.
-Make really long, random passwords full of numbers and letters. Kennedy doesn’t keep any passwords in his head; all of his passwords are too complex for memorization.
Here’s the interview:
Kennedy goes on to say that the future holds promising advancements in security through biometrics. Today it is already starting, with Apple’s finger print access and Samsung’s Galaxy eye tracking device. There is even a wristband that can accurately track the rhythm of your pulse for recognition, recently created by a company called Binoym. For now, biometrics can’t open any device alone, with so much potential for glitches backup passwords still exist for everything. Even the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor has a backup passcode on the occasion your finger is too moist or incorrectly positioned. When your iPhone can’t read your fingerprint, it prompts you to enter your password. Your fingerprint is hard to duplicate, but guessing passwords isn’t so complex.
Professor Steven Furnell recently published a piece in the scientific journal Biometric Technology Today, in which he argues that the biometric technology we have right now is not geared to people looking for stronger security, instead they are looking for a more convenient way to access their phone. Unlocking your phone with your face seems like an easy way to gain access, but Furnell notes it’s not a good way to keep your mobile device secure. Referencing the recent glitch in face recognition technology that allowed photos to gain access, as if the person were there in the living flesh. In the future Furnell sees biometrics working towards active security over convenience, since that’s the growing concern with viruses like Heartbleed sweeping cyber space (Read More).
Fingerprints have gotten the majority of the attention, but there are other forms of biometric technology in the works (and for sale) including iris, voice, face, and even vein recognition. Some argue that the next best password detector will be voice biometrics, because scanning your face or eye is disruptive to your life and speaking is not—although that depends what setting you are in. Banks, governments, and many other institutions are pushing the use of voice passwords, hoping someday for a virtual assistant much more advanced than Siri.
By the year 2016 it is predicted that 30% of businesses will use biometrics on their mobile devices (Learn More). Many see the future of biometric technology incorporating all of your identification, credit cards, and information into one system that can only be operated and controlled by you. This idea seems a bit scary, like putting all of your eggs in one basket—if one credit card gets stolen, they have all been stolen. But when this time comes, tech experts believe biometric technology will be advanced enough to keep your information 100% secure. We sure hope so!