Forget Big Brother…. We Have High Schools

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Now I am not sure about you, but this is one of those stories that at first made me laugh…. then when I thought about it the smiles went away.

Hey I got kids and if this happened I just might have to put on the boxing gloves.

Basically the gist of the story is that a school in Philadelphia USA issues laptops to their students.  One day Little Blake Robbins goes to school and is slapped with a “improper behavior in his home” disciplinary action.

Of course the first question is, WTH?  After some questioning what is found is that these laptops have web-cams on them and those web-cams where set so the admins can turn them on remotely at will.

Allegations are being launched against the school that they used these cameras to spy on students and their families, a massive breach in privacy.

If you are like me, we do a lot of things with the laptop in the room.  From personal conversations, arguments, dinner, getting dressed, heck I have even heard some stories about people taking the laptop into the bathroom with them (JUST HEARD STORIES PEOPLE).

So how far is too far?  I can understand the schools having monitoring software on the computers, I can understand filtering sites, heck I can even grasp having very strict rules on usage (although I might help my kids get around some of those silly blocks) but this, this is just too far.

I can only imagine those pervs sitting in their admin office and spying on the 16 year old teenage girls while sitting in their bedrooms at night.  This story just screamed out to me. As a social engineer I would love to be able to do this to my clients and get all their passwords and just walk in and say, “All your base are belong to us“, that is where the smile came from.

Yet on children?  our children?

Another question is who is responsible for our children’s behavior?  Is it the schools?  When they leave the school grounds, do the teachers still have a say in what is said or done?  Do we want to take the parents out of the equation?

From a social engineering point of view, how much information is too much information?  From a SE angle there is no such thing as TOO much information.  As a person, if you want to protect from this you need to seriously consider what it is that you release to the public.  Pictures of our family, kids, names, addresses and such personal information can lead to a serious hack on you and your family.  Take that to the next step, use this information from a business perspective now and what you have is a path to own your business too.  This is a scary story as it makes us reflect on the way information is released and the amount of it we allow out into the world.

This opens up a whole another topic.  Keep tuned because we will be posting some serious stories in the near future.

For a full story online check out:  http://www.boingboing.net/2010/02/17/school-used-student.html or

http://newsolio.com/students-spied-on-via-laptop-computers-by-lower-merion-school-district-in-philadelphia-claim,5537

The Importance of Information Gathering

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Our friend and contributor Matt was kind enough to put into writing a few stories from his law enforcement days. This excellent example shows how important it is to pay attention to the little details when information gathering. Sometimes the littlest details can make or break the story…..

Social Engineering in the news

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It brings to light some very interesting facts…. malicious social engineers are looking at what is “bothering” people and then offering information and/or solutions if “you just click here.” Everything from money help for the economic woes people are experiencing right down to cures for the H1N1 Virus. It makes a further valid point, that the users are the ones who are to blame.

Ask The Social Engineer

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Do you have questions you want answered from a social engineer, about social engineering or learning how to become a social engineer? Send them in and we might just use yours for the next column.

Liar, Liar your hands are on fire….?

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Probably one of the hottest topics for social engineers is how to detect who is lying and how to improve your ability to fool your targets. Today we picked two articles to discuss about this topic briefly.