One's laptop battery: now there is one component I never thought could be subjected to hacking or malware. However, the possibility of hacking and tampering with a laptop battery has been proven by researcher and veteran security researcher Charlie Miller, to be presented at the Black Hat Conference on August 4.
Laptop batteries have evolved into smart devices which monitor and report various values like temperature, voltage and other performance data. Safeguarded by two passwords -- with the standard ones being available in public documentation -- the batteries can be hacked into. Apple and some other companies do not bother to change the standard passwords which come with the battery, leaving this pathway open to someone willing to put in the effort.
Once hacked, the battery can be infected with malware which will remain on the device even if it is fully cleaned and re-installed. Knowing that this type of backdoor was left wide open with not even the simple precaution of changing those passwords makes me wonder what other little cracks are just lying in wait for discovery. It seems that if a computer becomes infected in this way, there isn't much of a way to get it fixed -- there are some sources that say Miller showed the battery could even be made to overheat and explode, aside from a simple malfunctioning.
It seems to me that the best solution to such an intricate problem would be to dump all your important files into a new place once the infection is discovered. Alternatively, if you fear something happening to the copies remaining on the laptop, destroying the files would be a pretty handy option, as well; both of these are standard features of Notebak, which keeps making me relieved every time I find out about these new threats.
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While walking down the street in China, two women were assaulted by a man who got out of a vehicle, grabbed a laptop one of them was carrying and sped off. Authorities are currently attempting to recover the laptop, which has a Chinese operating system and all information in the language, as well. Unless the thief knew the women and targeted that laptop specifically, he will probably be looking to turn a profit by selling the device; this is where a good mobile security application could save the device as well as all the owner's hard work.
As soon as the thief turns on the device, Notebak can help track it. In addition, a helpful locking screen allows the thief -- or anyone that finds the device -- communicate with the owner; if the thief is after money, this is how he can safely collect a reward without robbing this woman of her valuable work and information. On the other hand, the woman can also go online and retrieve her info: everything a good mobile security software should do for you. It may sometimes seem paranoid to install security devices on your personal computer, but hey -- it can come in handy. No one wants to attempt recalling hours of written work or losing a bunch of photographs: protect your computer now, and be glad later, it's that simple.
We're currently in the process of translating our software into multiple languages, and will have a version for many types of operating systems. We're working hard to help you keep your data secure -- while honoring all the hours you've put into your computer.
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Here is yet another reason to install a mobile security software on every computer you own: an employee of the Lamberton Independent School District had her personal computer taken out of her car, forcing the district to issue a notice to parents and other employees because there's a chance there was sensitive information on the computer.
Whether there was such sensitive info on the laptop may never be answered now, but the worry and hassle caused by the incident could easily have been avoided. With a mobile security software like Notebak the owner could have retrieved all info -- sensitive or not -- and then destroyed it all so that no one else could get at it. This is another one of those cases where those involved could have saved themselves a headache and questions from concerned individuals.
Of course, hindsight is 20/20; but hopefully, this school district will think a little bit harder about mobile security when it gets its employee a new laptop (if it ever does). And of course, this is a chance for all of us to re-think how our laptop is protected. We may never really stop to wonder if we have any 'sensitive information' on your computer until it's really too late; save yourself the hassle and just install some solid software today, and then forget about it! When the time comes, you'll be ready.
Featured image: xJasonRogersx/Flickr
Some more laptop thefts are hitting the news: one from a law office -- where nothing else was stolen -- and another from a Fairgrounds. Not all laptops may have some super-sensitive information on them -- like the one stolen from the medical clinic -- but it would be pretty unpleasant having yours go missing; all that stuff you work on, save and file away is not something you can forget about. And that's not even mentioning the hardware, itself. That's why Notebak is pretty cool software to have: first of all, you can set up a GeoFence, which locks your computer if it leaves a certain boundary, determined by you. This could be your home office or a large office building, if you're a large company wishing to prevent laptops from leaving the building. Second of all, it makes it pretty simple for someone to return your hardware to you, by giving them all the information they need to contact you -- anonymously (they'll never know your name or any other details).
Laptops go missing; it's a fact of life. Yours may not have super-secret documents on it, but it's still not something you wouldn't ever want to part with, especially unwillingly. Protect yourself with some smart mobile security, and especially the type that pulls all the right moves to reconnect you with your loved machine. I'm constantly seeing news about stolen laptops, but there are also the stories that don't make it to the press: ones about people losing their computers. It happens. Backing up your data regularly is a drag to some people who don't know any better (me, for one), so I prefer to take the easy way out and guarantee myself file recovery, plus some enhanced protection, on a daily basis with some easy software. Mobile security -- it's important.
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You probably heard at least several news stories about hackers attacking some big names. There was the CIA, the Sony Playstation Network (which had to shut down for over a month and dropped 24 percent in the markets), among many others; and now it seems that the next target might be Apple. Mobile security has always been a pretty big deal, but it seems that lately it's becoming a movement. Although you may not be the CEO of a major corporation (or maybe you are!) you should still be concerned about the security of your own mobile devices. Facebook is always trying to sneak one by its users by making its default browsing non-safe, on purpose (check if you have "http" (unsafe) instead of "https" (safe) when you access the site -- the setting can be changed in your Account options); with an ever-increasing number of mobile connection choices available to you, choose to protect yourself and your information by stepping up your mobile security.
Although the average user doesn't have much in common with the targets of the big-name hackers -- Lulzsec and Anonymous -- we should remember that smaller guys are out there, too; they may not be on the same vindictive mission that these guys are, but these stories remind me every day that I should keep a close eye on my laptop's security.
At the very least, my main concern is my information -- documents, pictures, files and such that I have all over my hard drive. Having Notebak installed gives me the confidence to just sit back, relax and browse some internet. I know that if anything happens -- like some strange hack or losing my computer, I can retrieve my info via my online account (from any other computer), and that I can always delete the info on my laptop if I want to -- and hey, who doesn't have that file or two? Having Notebak installed gives me some peace of mind when I read the news.
Featured image: benjamin-nagel/Flickr
An anesthesia clinic in Tennessee had a laptop stolen from its offices which contained the information of over 1,500 patients. Medical records along with names, age, addresses, social insurance numbers and everything else important to a clinic is on that laptop. So far, there has been no one apprehended for the theft, and the laptop has not been found. The clinic is currently offering a hotline to address patient concerns, as well as provide identity theft services free of charge.
The manpower going into resolving this incident is pretty big -- investigations, damage control, hotline manning -- and the clinic is no doubt losing some money by having to offer these free services. In addition, it certainly doesn't look good in the press. This is exactly the kind of situation which would benefit from some mobile security.
Outfitting clinic computers with smart mobile security should play a key part in the set-up of organizations which deal with sensitive data -- especially a whole slew of information on each person. Had the clinic had the forethought and opportunity to install some advanced software on its computers (like ours!) it could have remotely retrieved the stolen info from the laptop, and then proceeded to wipe clean the hard drive. The news would have read that the situation was expertly dealt with, and no worried inquiries (well, maybe several) would be made. Being prepared for the worst is the best line of defense: by outfitting all computers of an organization -- especially a medical clinic -- with mobile security, patients' data is safe and information is always in the hands of the right people.
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This blog is my sojourn into the world of mobile security -- a pretty important concept. Consider this: mobile security, in this case, applies to your laptop (unless your desktop gets moved around a lot, that's a realm relegated to simple home security); to have mobile security should mean that you are protected both when you are with your computer, but also when you are separate. That's just what we do: we keep you (i.e. the "you" that is entrenched in the cloud of information stored on your computer) safe. We do that by giving you something which you can install, and never worry about again -- until you find yourself in need of some mobile security.
I admit that I myself wasn't too worried about my own laptop security until pretty recently. But then I saw a dejected post from a friend that had lost his thesis because his laptop was stolen -- and that was at what I assumed was a trusted university library. It got me thinking: have I been risking my precious work this whole time? I started looking into how important mobile security really is, and that's how this blog was born.
If you use your computer for anything more than checking emails, you probably have at least several documents on there you wouldn't be happy to have deleted at a moment's notice. There are items on here you want to keep, possibly forever; but on the other hand, you also don't want to be scared about the prospect of going wherever you please and taking your laptop along with you. That's where we come in: mobile security. You can leave your laptop on a library desk while you make a quick trip to the bathroom -- without packing it all up and awkwardly holding it all; you can go order another drink at the cafe without glancing over your shoulder every couple of seconds; in essence, this simple software gives you freedom.
It's a pretty important part of your life. Learn about it with me.
Featured image: ElvertBarnes/Flickr