In today’s digital age, nearly every one of us has a digital presence. This makes us vulnerable in many ways because digital security is a tricky thing. A New York University professor, Adam Penenberg, recently asked a group of hackers to try and ‘break’ into his life. And they did, astonishing the professor along the way.
The thing with digital security is that there are countless ways to circumvent it. Especially when it comes to a single individual, anything from his habits and tastes to any available information about him can be used to get to him and his machines.
In the case of Penenberg, the hackers first tried to break into his apartment physically but that couldn’t happen. Then they went over to his wife’s studio and left behind a hard drive, hoping that when his wife plugs in the hard drive, they would be able to install the malware on the computer. But the bait didn’t work either.
Finally, they learned that Penenberg’s wife was seeking a potential candidate for hiring. They brought together a resume matching her requirements and then gave her a link, claiming that it contained a relevant video. This is where the bait succeeded. Penenberg’s wife clicked the link and the malware was downloaded into the computer.
Once the malware was installed, hackers were able to dig up data from Penenberg’s hard drive, get access to his bank records, tax returns, financial details as well as a whole plethora of other personal information. In fact, they were able to take over his computer and put a password in place so that he was no longer able to access the machine. Of course, this was all just a demonstration which Professor Penenberg had put together himself but even he was astonished with the results of the experiment. In conclusion, he says that no ‘private’ data is secure and with sufficient resources, hackers can easily access the details of virtually any user.