Pratum Blog

I'm really on this data privacy and forensics kick, so I've got another post to help make you even more paranoid. Let's talk a little bit about how information regarding you or your family including preferences, habits, interests and other tidbits of information can be siphoned from everyday technology in use around you. Here are 10 everyday items we use which can destroy our privacy one bit at a time.

  1. Vehicle GPS – You can save favorite routes, your last route, restaurants, hotels, etc. on these devices.

  2. Vehicle diagnostics – Can track statistics and averages for trip time, trip length, speeds, acceleration, etc.

  3. Portable media players – music, photos, videos, digital audio notes, podcasts. (These are great for profiling an individual for social engineering attacks)

  4. Identification – Military IDs, new US Passports and some state driver licenses now include RFID chips which can be read very easily. A US service member's medical history is now embedded on their chip. WOW! RFID uses weak security and wireless transmission….bad combination.

  5. Cell/Smart phones – Important contact information, calendars, attachments, they're mini computers but we treat them worse than our car keys.

  6. Voicemail – Here are the four default codes used by nearly all answering machines and VM services by default. 0000, 1234, 9999 and last 4 of the number dialed…try calling random numbers until you get VM and login using these…bet you get "lucky" more than once.

  7. Cable and satellite boxes – can record viewing habits, pay per view and other oddities.

  8. Video game systems – Online services such as Xbox Live track every statistic under the sun regarding what you play, when, with whom, what media content you download and tons of other stuff.

  9. Frequent shopper cards – Go to the grocery store, check out and swipe your store loyalty card for the discounts. Your entire purchase history is now stored in a database and tied to your demographics.

  10. eBook readers – Ok…maybe this one isn't mainstream yet but it's popular with the college crowd. How about your entire personal library being open to inspection?

Now I know what you're going to say. "Dave, please step into this padded room, it's for your protection." And that may be true. I'm certainly not out to say we shouldn't use any or all of these devices. But, to do so without understanding the potential downfalls as related to privacy is naïve at best. It also goes to show why more criminals are looking at online networks to discover information about their victims.

The flip side of this is from the law enforcement and government perspective. If accused of a crime, these are all the areas of your life which might be inspected in order to find motive, opportunity or other elements of a case against you.

Sorry folks…whether you like it or not you have a digital persona, and it's not even on Facebook, MySpace or some other social networking site. It's woven into the very fabric of our everyday life. Get used to it.

Gotta go…my refrigerator just alerted me we're low on milk, eggs and hot fudge sundae topping.


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