Nowhere to hide: 9 new hacks coming to get you

The proliferation of insecure devices in every facet of our lives will have consequences far beyond the digital realm

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The world’s largest publicly known fingerprint database, the FBI’s Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS), contains at least 70 million fingerprints. Tens of thousands of sites and hundreds of thousands of computers have access to those files. What are the odds that no unauthorized entity hasn’t gained access to IAFIS and copied the whole thing? I would say about the same odds as every IoT device being perfectly secure. Since the future of authentication is two-factor, with biometric playing a huge role, it is likely that your biometric marker will be sold exactly as your credit card information is sold today—often and cheaply.

For this reason, most computer security experts think all biometric authentication schemes should require at least one other authentication factor, so your biometric marker alone can’t be used to access sensitive information. The hacker may have your retina scan, but hopefully they don’t have the PIN number stored in your head.

Your (chipped) kid will be stolen

This has not happened yet. No one is putting GPS-tracking devices into their kid—yet. We are, however, already chipping our pets, and certainly one day the world will accept chipping our kids as a necessary evil. In fact, some very smart people are already asking whether it might already be time to do it.

But being able to track your kid with a GPS chip has the unwanted consequence of allowing others to follow them to. I’m sure government officials and chip manufacturers will tell us how safe and secure these chips will be, as medical patients have been told the same thing for decades about medical devices. Nope, when chipping a kid becomes the default, thieves will use those same technologies to take kids. And like the average criminal today knows to throw away their victim’s cellphone to avoid police tracking, so too will the internet-savvy criminal of tomorrow cut out that pesky GPS tracking chip. It’s simply a matter of time.

Then again, perhaps we can prevent this dystopian future by refusing to enter it willfully in the first place.

Either way, it’s clear that our world is becoming more connected, and the vendors supplying digital devices aren’t doing nearly enough to secure them. Like now, where in the face of criminal APT attacks and ransomware, computer security experts are longing for the old days of script kiddies and music-playing macro viruses, we may soon be longing for the days when computers where the only objects being exploited.

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