The revelation that so-called advertising cookies (tracking software) were digging deeper into the website viewers personal and private details than would be reasonable, not for the website owners benefit but the tracking companies commercial gain. Lead to website browsers offering the ability to block advertising cookies. The advertising cookie creators then looked for a different route into web page viewers life and found that separate from the browser the users contacts, emails and password list were easier to glean information from. Un-surprisingly this method provided unique tracking opportunities that as an aside also opened up access to an individual’s credentials and online security.
Now we have the Spectre and Meltdown security flaws which antivirus/malware protection software is redundant to combat. These security flaws are hardwired into your devices at manufacture and affects everything from a mobile phone to a desktop PC and on to Cloud Storage, all regardless of the operating system. There is a partial fix being pushed out via operating system and browser updates, but this fix does slow down the systems and programs on these devices. The real fix will come when you update your hardware, once the new hardware is invented that is.
In essence if you or your organisation uses the internet, web searches, social media etc you and your company are at risk - big time.
Not perfect, but one interim solution to lessen the impact is to have separate networks for the separate activities, i.e. not have all the communications on the same network. Just because you are asked to sign-in somewhere doesn’t mean you are safe, in all probability it’s the opposite. These new hardware security flaws permit keyboard logging to those outside – they see your user name and password as you type them.
It has been said many times before, the only secrets or confidential information you have are the ones you have locked up in your head. Everything else is just a postcard, that includes anything that needs the internet, as it leaks like a sieve.
“If I had my way, I would write the word ‘insure’ upon the door of every cottage and upon the blotting book of every public man” sic Winston Churchill. In all probability that should now include ‘encrypt’.