The 5 top security issues to be aware of in modern tech

The growth of digital transformation is having an amazing impact on the world. AI is being used across the globe to do anything from building cars to saving lives. Phone apps have gone from helping us with communication to transporting users to other worlds through VR. However, as technology progresses, so do hackers.

People will always find flaws in security and these are the 5 top security issues to be aware of in modern tech, where the rapid development of tech is also creating bigger problems in security.

 – Facial recognition

Despite recent stories of King’s Cross in London removing its mass facial recognition system, other places in the UK have announced their plans to introduce mass crowd surveillance. This has resulted in multiple security complaints with the King’s Cross project being recently removed due to privacy worries.

Recently, after much argument, police in South Wales controversially won a case to use Automated Facial Recognition, which they also claim is for mass security and public protection.

Jason Tooley, chief revenue officer at Veridium and board member of techUK comments:

“It is clear that alleviating human rights and privacy concerns over facial recognition must be prioritised by the police. Citizens need to understand that the value-add of this innovative technology is in the public interest, which will drive consent and acceptance. With the rapid rate of innovation in the field, an open biometric strategy that allows the police to select the right biometric techniques for the right scenario will fast-track the benefits associated with digital policing.”

In terms of public privacy concerns, unfortunately, there isn’t really much that can be done to halt facial recognition or similar surveillance systems in their entirety, as the government still argue they are installed for public safety reasons. However, as the King’s Cross system shows, authorities eventually have to bow to public pressure.

– Hackers can get data from listening to typing

A clever – and quite scary – way that hackers have figured out how to tap into people’s security is through listening to the vibrations and sounds caused by a target’s typing, as they enter details into their devices. What’s more is that this type of hacking can be done from a long distance and in a crowded place due to the quality of modern microphones built into these devices.

Simon Marchand, chief fraud prevention officer, Biometrics & Security, Nuance Communications’ says: “The fraudster of today is more sophisticated, more skilled and more determined than ever before. This, alongside the speed at which technology is progressing, often means that typed passwords alone are no longer an effective way to identify whether a person really is who they say they are.”

Although not ideal, experts suggest that placing the phone on top of a tablecloth will alter the vibrations made from typing, confusing those attempting to listen in!

– Deepfakes

From videos of Mark Zuckerberg slating his own company to the Mona Lisa coming to life, deepfakes are everywhere. They replicate the actions and movements of people to create a very real, but fake, video. The utmost security worry behind these videos occurs when considering who the video is of and what they are saying. For example, if a person created a deepfake of the Prime Minister announcing bad news, then the aftermath could have dire consequences.

What’s more is that a person doesn’t have to be a computer expert to make a deepfake. Chinese company, Zao, created an app that lets users replace a celebrity’s face with their own to re-enact famous movie scenes. However, once a photo has been uploaded, it then belongs to Zao. This can then be used for marketing by the company or stolen by hackers who can further use it to fake being that person. Even after the app has been deleted.

Robert Baptiste, a security researcher, told The Register: “It’s dangerous to upload your face to a random app… Once your photo of your face is uploaded, you lose your rights on it. You have no idea how your face will be used.”

The solution for this is to not upload pictures to apps and to be wary when watching suspicious videos!

– Biometrics

Biometrics have probably been part of our lives for longer than we realise. For example, biometric passports go as far back as 2008. But today, using human metrics in tech is everywhere. Something as simple as using a fingerprint to unlock a phone was something that felt unimaginable when mobile technology was first developed. However, despite the strong security behind using unique human codes as a form of safeguarding, they are hard, but not impossible, to hack.

Just last month, researchers at the Las Vegas tech convention, Black Hat, showed an audience how to hack an iPhone user’s FaceID user authentication. This can be done by putting glasses onto the unconscious iPhone user. It works because if the owner is wearing glasses, the biometric system detects the area around the eyes instead.

Threatpost reports that on the topic, researchers said: “Liveness detection has become the Achilles’ heel of biometric authentication security as it is to verify if the biometric being captured is an actual measurement from the authorized live person who is present at the time of capture.”

Luckily, this type of hacking is quite extreme and apart from these intense types of hacking, biometrics is very secure. For now, at least.

– Emails

Email phishing is the tech equivalent of stealing sheep, because this type of theft is the oldest of its kind there is. However, although this is an old-fashioned way of hackers getting their hands on your data, it’s in the modernising of technology where people need to be extra security conscious.

It was found recently that millennials, being the most tech savvy cohort next to the slightly younger Generation Z, are targeted the most by hackers. These cyber thieves are pretending to anybody from bank staff to the police. The reason that 18-34-year olds are being aimed at the most is simply because, from using banking apps to paying with their phones, this age group has the most reliance on technology. They have much more information online than anyone else which is simply allowing easier to access to hackers.

“While we are working 24/7 behind the scenes to protect customers and millions of pounds have been frozen, every day fraudsters are trying to trick people into handing over their personal information like a PIN or password or transferring cash,” says Paul Davis, retail fraud director at Lloyds Bank.

Experts suggest that to prevent this issue, people should never click on or respond to emails they find suspicious as well as ensuring passwords are made complex.



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