Hot answers tagged

182

Be careful about assuming too much. You say that you know "surefire" that your university is spying on you, but your only evidence is that your mom is computer illiterate and you're "sure some of them know more than they should" about you (WARNING - this is a red flag for those of us not in your situation, you do indeed sound extremely paranoid). If you ...


82

One possibility that I came across by accident: Google (and possibly other search engines), keep track of what you search for, if you are logged in. Anyone with (access to) your login name and password can access your search history. This includes any computer you logged in to Google on (e.g. if you accessed your Gmail from your mother's computer). I do ...


75

This sounds like it would mostly likely be some kind of Internet monitoring software (a.k.a legal spyware) installed on your computer when you set it up. Some ISPs provide this kind of service either network blocking or device monitoring (e..g this article from the UK). From the statement that they can view HTTPS connections, we can rule out just standard ...


49

I'm completely confused, though. What is the security benefit here? Nothing. The most likely scenario is that something in between is timing out the connection after 5 minutes to conserve resources. That could be a firewall, a WAN accelerator, an SSL accelerator, etc. Or it could be just a bad default setting. Who knows? Network admins often have ...


28

This sounds like a good example of a security "cargo cult". A security control has been implemented blindly without understanding the context involved or indeed implementing it correctly. Generally speaking in security the point of an idle timeout it to reduce the risk of situations where a client machine is left unattended and a malicious user gets to the ...


25

Sorry if I'm stating the obvious, but: Why don't you ask your mother how she's doing it? Or someone at the uni, if your mom is not cooperative? Or, if you receive support from a social worker, ask him/her? Or, if all the above fails, a sufficiently trusted computer-literate friend who can gain access to your computer (if the monitoring is device-based) or ...


16

Potentially, yes. That said, many distributions (e.g. Debian, Ubuntu) run package versions which are extremely out of date (years) with few backported security patches, and most people do just fine. You're also usually only exposed on the network you're immediately connected to, so if you're only using a trusted LAN then it's not so much of a concern. ...


13

I'm completely confused, though. What is the security benefit here? It might not be a question of security but have a different reason. Unfortunately your question only offers your view so we can only speculate what the real reason might be. One explanation might be that there is a simple stateful packet filter where the states time out after 120 ...


10

Was your computer supplied by the university, or using a university OS image, or custom network access software? You mentioned you're not using the university network, however if you have their network monitoring software installed, then they still could see your history. It's unlikely to be your ISP. They don't typically have the resources, or inclination ...


10

If you router offers a real DMZ then the rest of the network would be safe even if your Windows PC is compromised. A real DMZ is a separate network which has no or only very restricted access to the internal network. But, what most SoHo routers call DMZ is actually an exposed host, i.e. traffic from outside is forwarded to a single host inside the internal ...


9

First thought that came into my mind is shared browser user, maybe you have used computer at home with your account, and then did not sign out? For example, if you use Chrome, all your browser history is being synced between all of your devices, including your moms computer. You could use a different browser, and some kind of VPN to ensure that your traffic ...


9

Short answer: You can't. Before you buy any service you should take a look at their Privacy Policy. For instance Hide My Ass: What data we collect: We will store the stamp and IP address when you connect and disconnect to our VPN service, the amount data transmitted (up- and download) during your session together with the IP address of the ...


6

There is no reason to think a network operator can access the data. The document says it clearly: Encrypts metadata to hide it from unauthorized network observers. In other words, you are questioning that what's said in the document is false. The only people that could shed more light on this would be WhatsApp or Open Whisper Systems (the company ...


6

There is a potential risk in using old versions, but in many cases this risk is less significant than the risk of using reasonably patched system which has all sorts of dubious software installed, and may possibly contain malware. There are of course distributions dedicated for use as a live OS dedicated for doing such things as banking. They are hardened by ...


6

As you may have noticed this has nothing to do with security whatsoever. Instead, the practice of killing long-lived dormant TCP connections has to do with bugs - it's a work-around for buggy software. One of the more famous examples of software leaving TCP sessions hanging is Internet Explorer (at least up to version 7). IE had the habit of not ending TCP ...


5

I doubt that this has anything to do with google. According to your description google maps was only your starting point and from there you've opened the different websites for the various business. Some of these sites might be either infected or they contained ads and through these direct infections or the malvertising you got served some Scareware which ...


4

Have you heard about JWT or stateless sessions? This sounds like a job for an encrypted packet that gets sent to the client, and sent back, for the next packet to be sent. This JSON Web Token could be used to signify who talks to your server by containing the information it needs in an encrypted format to make sure things are secure and compliant. This is ...


4

You could use Tor, or maybe simply a VPN, for no more time than necessary to find out if she still knows what you've been browsing. If positive, you have determined that your computer is compromised. Now: Make sure there are no weird pieces attached to it (there are hardware keyloggers). Format your hard drive and do a clean install of the operating system ...


4

Others have mentioned shared profiles, known passwords, and google history, and the ways to resolve those. But even more likely is: what do you get if you google your name, plus the word "youtube"? Do you get the videos she mentioned, because those are the ones you have commented on using your account? That is to say - perhaps she is not spying on you, ...


4

MAC filtering doesn't provide an high security. An attacker can simply see which devices (and their relative MACs) are connected to your network, and spoof one of theese MACs. When he changes it to his machine, he can connects to your network without any problem. In conclusion, MAC address filtering doesn't increase your security.


4

This object type is not readable for human. Why should it? It is intended for a computer and not for a human. I've never seen this kind of security. Is this general dev stack? It looks very safe. I doubt that this is primary a security feature. My guess is that they use some higher level development tool which just generates this kind of stuff. ...


3

She pays for your internet. Many providers offer plans "for kids" with parental control, including full reports of visited resources. Using those is the easiest and most obvious option for computer-illiterate person. Changing PC or other hardware won't help of course as long as you use same internet access. If your PC is free of non-standard security ...


3

I say that you haven't given us enough information to identify how this is done. Your mother's lack of technical literacy may not matter much as long as she knows somebody (or knows somebody who knows somebody) who was willing to lend a hand getting a solution installed. Perhaps, also, it's not your mother who is spying on you, but someone else (with more ...


3

If you want to be sure that you are safe, reinstall your operating system from a clean (stock) image. Then turn on 2-factor authetication for all possible services (Google, Facebook) and change all passwords (including your mailbox password). Against network traffic spying you have to use VPN connection - it encrypts traffic from your computer to the VPN ...


3

First off "using a VPN" and "using a VPN provider" are not the same thing. The bottom line is you can't be sure that data exchanged with the public internet won't be spied on. Even if your provider doesn't spy themselves their upstreams may do so. Using a VPN provider to access services on the public internet is just trading one potential spy (your ISP ...


3

If you used a LiveCD and never/rarely went out of your way to get a new one, yes it would eventually contain old and buggy software. However, the point of the LiveCD is that there is nothing saved in a nonvolatile way, so even if you do manage to luck out on your "risky click of the day" and the browser downloads some malware, all you have to do is hit the ...


2

This is a rather large issue that has received a lot of attention in the past (not just on Stack Exchange). This boils down to several subtopics: Trust; Legal responsibilities of the VPN service provider; and Legal responsibilities of the VPN's hosting providers and data centers. There are many VPN services that claim to anonymize and protect your ...


2

BGP hijacking is real and there are enough and easy to find reports in the internet, like this one or this one or this one. But of course you need to be at the right place to do it. Simple from your DSL connected system is not possible but you need to be at the level of ISP's which actually participate in BGP routing. Though you can still play with the ...


2

Due to the security built into TLS this can not be done by changing the existing TLS handshake in the proxy. Instead a TLS connection between the target server and the proxy and another TLS connection between the proxy and the client must be created. The latter connection cannot get the original certificate from the server, but the proxy must create a new ...


2

Short Answer: Mostly Likely Not. Your Traffic will be encrypted. However, it is possible to read the data by other means. If the sniffer is some type of malware on either your machine or the receiving end as it could view the data before the payload is encrypted or after its de-capsulated. If the attacker obtained the SSL certificate and is performing ...



Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible