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Security Best Practices for Regular Users

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How paranoid should you really be about online security safety? Read Security Engineer Geoff Vaughan's advice on security best practices for regular users.

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Security Best Practices for Regular Users

  1. 1. Security Best Practices For Regular Users Geoffrey Vaughan @mrvaughan Security Engineer
  2. 2. Whoami • Geoffrey Vaughan @MrVaughan • Security Engineer @SecurityInnovation • Appsec pentesting/advisory at all areas of SDLC • Former High School/Prison/University Teacher • Occasionally I’m let out of my basement • Travelled from Toronto to be here with you today
  3. 3. Why This Talk? • I care about you and your data • I’m tired of regular users suffering for mistakes made by large organizations (data breaches) or being caught by the simplest of phishing scam • Often small adjustments in user behavior has a large impact on security / privacy
  4. 4. Tldr; If you only read one slide Giving it all away at the beginning: 1) Use a password manager 2) Keep your devices up to date 3) Use 2-Factor Authentication on all your accounts 4) Free Wi-Fi Comes at a cost – Don’t connect to untrusted networks 5) Lock and encrypt your devices (phones + computers) For more info I wrote a Guide: https://web.securityinnovation.com/essential-guide-to-online-security
  5. 5. Beyond the Basics: How Paranoid Should I be? • Protecting your data and privacy online can take a lot of effort • Complete anonymity is really hard • It will always be a trade off between usability and security/privacy How Paranoid should I be? It greatly depends on your personal threat model
  6. 6. Threat Model? Simplified Definition: Identify and quantify your weaknesses so you can come up with appropriate defenses.
  7. 7. Threat Modelling on Easy Mode • What assets are you trying to protect? • What threats are the assets under? • What is the likelihood of a threat being realized? • What measures can help mitigate or decrease the risk associated with the threat?
  8. 8. Assets to Protect • Personal Information - Name, Age, DOB, Spouse, Children, Parents • Personal Pictures, videos, documents • Financial Information - Banking, loan, credit • Your Location - Home address, places you frequent, or where you are right now • Social Media accounts and data • Physical Devices • Business Assets on your devices • Personal Communications/Conversations - Emails, Text Messages, Chat etc, phone calls • Data about Data – When you called someone, who you text messaged
  9. 9. Threats? • Which of the assets are most important for you to protect? • How might an attacker target each of those assets?
  10. 10. Personal Information Threats • Information obtained through public searchable resources (Google, phone/address look up) • Attacker reads information leaked by peers (tagged pictures, connections) • Social Media post leaks info Defenses • Hack yourself – See what’s out there • Harden your social media security/privacy settings • Use fake names / complete alter ego online • Draw a very clear line between your public and private life. • Ask friends not to tag you
  11. 11. Social Media Settings
  12. 12. Personal Pictures, Videos, Documents Threats • Malware compromises mobile/desktop device • Cloud backup account is compromised • ‘Auto post’ feature publishes content automatically • Data shared with a friend gets shared with others Defenses • Keep your devices up to date • Use strong passwords on all online accounts • Use multi-factor authentication wherever possible • Be aware of all security/privacy settings for the applications you are using
  13. 13. https://twofactorauth.org/
  14. 14. Financial Information Threats • Attacker compromises online banking account (Guesses PVQ, Weak password, Compromised email allows password reset) • Attacker acquires enough information to perform credit/loan applications on your behalf • Website you used improperly stores your information and your credit card/information gets compromised • You use a malicious POS device and your credit card gets skimmed • Paypal (or other) account is compromised Defenses • Lie on all PVQ questions • Strong passwords (password managers) • Use multi-factor authentication • Never give out SIN/SS/Personal Code unless you are sure that the request is legitimate • Big retailers are probably safer than mom/pop shops as they likely spend much more on security*
  15. 15. Password Managers To name a few: • LastPass • 1Password • KeePass • Built-in to browsers (ex. Chrome/Safari keychain) Consider the Features • Local encrypted database • Remote ‘cloud’ features • In browser extensions • Share passwords across devices or users
  16. 16. Your Location Threats • Government/ISP/App developer is able to ascertain your exact location at a particular time • General pubic is able to ascertain your location • Social media posts leaks location • Image data leaks location • Misconfigured app leaks location • Content of image leaks location (OSINT) • Connected to untrusted wireless • Motivated attacker is able to ascertain your location • Compromised mobile device • Phishing email • Compromised mobile application/account Defenses • Complete burner phone + number, Tor/VPN user, completely separate accounts for burner device • Harden security settings, disable EXIF image metadata, be careful of the content of your posts • Previously mentioned device defense strategies: • Keeping devices up to date • Don’t click untrusted links • Strong passwords
  17. 17. Image Content / Open Source Intelligence http://blog.ioactive.com/2014/05/glass- reflections-in-pictures-osint.html • Tweeted a picture from a hotel • Previous tweet said they were in Miami • Hacker used hotel room images on travel websites to find the hotel based on window structure and reflections • Used Google earth to render similar views and get an estimation on floor and building area.
  18. 18. Tinder API http://blog.includesecurity.com/2014/02/ho w-i-was-able-to-track-location-of-any.html • In 2014 Tinder API allowed trilateration of a users exact location • Used in conjunction with GPS spoofing
  19. 19. Social Media Accounts and Data Threats • Social media account gets compromised resulting in information disclosure, posting on your behalf, or data loss Defenses • Strong Passwords • 2-Factor Authentication • Restrict third party app access • Review security settings • Protect your email account similarly (password resets) • Avoid Phishing Scams
  20. 20. Physical Devices Threats • Lost or stolen device results in all data being lost/compromised • Your device is inspected at a border crossing • Your device is compromised while being unattended Defenses • Strong device password • Full disk encryption (usually enabled by default on mobile devices when you apply a password) • Restrict what data you keep on your device (if concerned) • Consider implications of online vs. local backups • Use and test a “lost my device” app • Enable remote wipe capabilities (never a guarantee)
  21. 21. Business Assets • All other threats/defenses apply except now the implications are more severe • Greater care needs to be taking with corporate assets • Consider implications on personal assets if a BYOD policy allows remote management/monitoring/removal of your data • Recommend separating business and pleasure or revise your threat model to consider additional threats
  22. 22. Personal Communications/Conversations Threats • Attacker/ISP/App Provider/Nation State intercepts communication data in transit and reads conversation • Receiver forwards conversation to third party • App Provider is compromised leaking all conversation logs • Government requests app provider to turn over data Defenses • Gold Star: Signal Messenger (now with disappearing messages) • Decent: Wickr • Getting Better: Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp • Avoid: SMS • A couple companies that have proven they have your back: OpenWhisper (Signal), Apple, Facebook
  23. 23. Data About Data Threats • You consider information about who you are talking to and when sensitive information • Attacker/ISP/App Provider/Nation State/Untrusted Wireless is able to collecting metadata about your communication/activity Defenses • Anonymity is hard. At this level even the best get caught • Burner phones / accounts • Full Tor/VPN would make it difficult for organizations to collect data • Time delayed messages might mask some traffic • Create additional noise in communications, talk to more people more often
  24. 24. Resources I wrote a paper: https://web.securityinnovation.com/essential-guide-to-online- security
  25. 25. Another talk today: I’m also presenting one other talk today on a completely unrelated subject: Catching IMSI Catchers: Hunting the hunter, can you tell if your phone’s being captured by a rogue cell phone tower/ IMSI catcher/ Stingray?
  26. 26. Thank you Geoffrey Vaughan @mrvaughan @SecurityInnovation

How paranoid should you really be about online security safety? Read Security Engineer Geoff Vaughan's advice on security best practices for regular users.

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