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Trojans

According to ancient myth, the Greeks used a giant wooden horse with soldiers hidden in its stomach, to conquer the city of Troy. The Trojans mistook the object for a gift of the gods and underestimated the circumstances of the situation. The same method is used by modern day computer trojans: they are disguised as useful programmes, but at the same time they launch hidden attacks and copy, delete, block or alter data. Many Trojans infiltrate malware into the system which will stay active even when the Trojan itself is deleted. Others install backdoors to enable unauthorised access from an external computer to the infected system. The compromised computer can also be used as a bridgehead to gain access to other computers and systems.

According to ancient myth, the Greeks used a giant wooden horse with soldiers hidden in its stomach, to conquer the city of Troy. The Trojans mistook the object for a gift of the gods and underestimated the circumstances of the situation. The same method is used by modern day computer trojans: they are disguised as […]

TOR Browser Bundle

The TOR Browser Bundle is a combination of a browser, the TOR client and a user interface. It can be booted via USB flash drive, for example. With this method, one could even cover up one’s tracks of the entire web activity in a cybercafé. The free software package saves as few information as possible and sends request via several intermediate stages to the server location. Each stage recognises its precursor and successor, but not the originator or addressee of the enquiry.

The TOR Browser Bundle is a combination of a browser, the TOR client and a user interface. It can be booted via USB flash drive, for example. With this method, one could even cover up one’s tracks of the entire web activity in a cybercafé. The free software package saves as few information as possible […]

Certificates

Digital certificates are used for identification on the web, just like an ID is used in the analogue world. It is part of the Public Key Encryption – a method to encrypt messages via publicly known codes. Only the addressee holds the unlisted counterpart, a private key which can decrypt the messages. The public key certificate is allocated via public key and contains information about the certificate’s originator, the addressee and the duration of its validity. The originator and the addressee can verify and prove each other’s identity by checking the certificates – but only if the certificate was issued properly.

Digital certificates are used for identification on the web, just like an ID is used in the analogue world. It is part of the Public Key Encryption – a method to encrypt messages via publicly known codes. Only the addressee holds the unlisted counterpart, a private key which can decrypt the messages. The public key […]

TOR

The acronym for “The Onion Router” describes a programme that builds up a higher anonymity in communication on the internet via intermediate stages. Every connection runs on several servers. Each server can only identify its precursor and successor, but not the originator or addressee of the request. In October 2013 the Guardian exposed the NSA’s recurrent attempts to identify TOR users. The only way to achieve this was via security gaps in the used browsers, since the anonymisation of TOR is quite resilient.

The acronym for “The Onion Router” describes a programme that builds up a higher anonymity in communication on the internet via intermediate stages. Every connection runs on several servers. Each server can only identify its precursor and successor, but not the originator or addressee of the request. In October 2013 the Guardian exposed the NSA’s […]

Tails

The Amnesic Incognito Live System (short: Tails) aims for the user’s protection and anonymity. It is an alternative to the TOR browser bundle. Just like TOR, the software is for free and has to be booted via DVD, USB flash drive or SD card. This way it will outmanoeuvre any spyware or viruses hidden on the computer’s hard drive. Instead of working with Windows, Tails runs with Linux, which uses TOR and other programmes as well and obliterates most traces of web activity or email correspondence.

The Amnesic Incognito Live System (short: Tails) aims for the user’s protection and anonymity. It is an alternative to the TOR browser bundle. Just like TOR, the software is for free and has to be booted via DVD, USB flash drive or SD card. This way it will outmanoeuvre any spyware or viruses hidden on […]

Skimming

Skimming is an attack on EC and credit card data in order to empty the victim’s bank account. For this kind of attack, the cash point has to be manipulated. The scammers have to install a second undetectable scanner to read the unencrypted data from the cards magnetic strip. In addition to that, a hidden camera has to record the entry of the pin code. An alternative to a camera would be a second unnoticeable numeric keypad on top of the existing pad to co-write the victims entry.

Skimming is an attack on EC and credit card data in order to empty the victim’s bank account. For this kind of attack, the cash point has to be manipulated. The scammers have to install a second undetectable scanner to read the unencrypted data from the cards magnetic strip. In addition to that, a hidden […]

OTR

Off-The-Record messaging (short: OTR) is a cryptographic protocol to encode real time communication like chatting or instant messaging. It authenticates communication partners, encrypts messages, as well as renders impossible any way to find out which key was used by whom. As a result, a specific message cannot be traced back to a specific person – this (feature) is called deniability. Another feature of OTR is the random combination of keys, which is automatically destroyed after their final use. As soon as the keys are deleted, the interchanged messages cannot be deciphered anymore.

Off-The-Record messaging (short: OTR) is a cryptographic protocol to encode real time communication like chatting or instant messaging. It authenticates communication partners, encrypts messages, as well as renders impossible any way to find out which key was used by whom. As a result, a specific message cannot be traced back to a specific person – […]

Backdoor

A backdoor is the part of a software that enables a hacker to gain unauthorised access to a computer or another interconnected device. The hidden programme runs in the background and opens the system to the attackers. This way someone could intercept data, install malware or even manipulate the hardware. Usually backdoors are used to place undetectable viruses or Trojans, to intercept data traffic or to misuse a computer to launch a DDoS attack.

A backdoor is the part of a software that enables a hacker to gain unauthorised access to a computer or another interconnected device. The hidden programme runs in the background and opens the system to the attackers. This way someone could intercept data, install malware or even manipulate the hardware. Usually backdoors are used to […]

Spyware

The term spyware usually refers to any kind of software that snoops on systems, gathers information and may send such data to the originator of the software – all unbeknownst to the user. Mostly such programmes are used to record the user’s behaviour on the internet. The collected data will be analysed for commercial purposes in order to display bespoke adverts on the user’s browser window. Usually  unnoticed, spyware is installed on a standard PC while downloading dubious files or browsing on already manipulated websites. Most programmes only send out user data as long as the computer is connected to the web. One particular type of spyware is keylogger: by recording every keystroke it reconstructs personal data like passwords or credit card numbers.

The term spyware usually refers to any kind of software that snoops on systems, gathers information and may send such data to the originator of the software – all unbeknownst to the user. Mostly such programmes are used to record the user’s behaviour on the internet. The collected data will be analysed for commercial purposes […]

Virus

Many viruses attach themselves to executable files, but could easily hide in digital texts or PDF-files as well. Once a virus has infected a system, it replicates in similar ways a biological virus would – transmitting from one host to another. This way it even distributes itself via removable media such as USB flash drives. The virus not only alters programmes and files, in the worst case, it might even completely delete the host’s hard drive. You can take remedial action by being cautious when opening files and, moreover, by using an anti-virus software, which regularly scans your hard drive for malware.

Many viruses attach themselves to executable files, but could easily hide in digital texts or PDF-files as well. Once a virus has infected a system, it replicates in similar ways a biological virus would – transmitting from one host to another. This way it even distributes itself via removable media such as USB flash drives. […]