In the spirit of the season, we decided to look at the rise of technology among the many items that will be given as Christmas gifts this year. Some are completely new and innovative products, others are products we have known our entire lives that have had a technological makeover. But they have one thing in common: they can connect to the internet.
The “Internet of Things”, as it’s called, appears to be expanding by the minute, and is therefore no surprise that many of this year’s most wanted Christmas presents are also among the most hackable. Smartphones, laptops, tablets and eBooks are quite obviously connected to the internet. Other products’ internet connection, however, can often be overlooked, leaving personal details vulnerable. These days’, TVs, cars, home appliances and even some toys have the ability to connect to the internet. But there’s no reason to be alarmed, just to be aware and take the necessary precautions to make your devices and personal data secure.
This is our pick of 2015’s most hackable Christmas gifts.
“Everything is hackable”, whistle blower Edward Snowden said of the newly introduced Australian meta-data retention laws, “So you hope the government agency or the third party provider has very high security standards”. If you’re not exactly sure what the meta-data retention laws are, they require telco companies to store records of phone and internet activity for two years and grant access to security and law enforcement agencies without a warrant. This includes the phone number of people you called or sent SMS messages to, time and date of calls and SMS, length of calls, the location of the nearest phone tower when you sent or received a call or SMS; and for internet activity: the time, date, size, sender and recipients of emails, time and duration of your web connections, your IP address, the volume of your uploads and downloads, location and geographical data.
According to the Australian government these laws have been introduced in an effort to enhance Australia’s security against terrorism and criminals. However it would appear that these new laws could actually reduce Australia’s cyber security. While the meta-data won’t record the content of your communications, there is still a lot of information that, if found in the wrong hands, could put Australians and businesses in a vulnerable position. Continue reading