Questions tagged [security]

Questions about security; as it applies to any vulnerable and valuable asset, such as a person, dwelling, community, nation, or organization.

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152
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9answers
14k views

Is closed-source code more secure than open-source?

My computing teacher told us that closed source software is more secure than open source software, because with open source "anyone can modify it and put stuff in." This is why they do not want to use ...
98
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3answers
22k views

Are Americans more likely to be killed by vending machines than terrorist refugees?

The Financial Times did some analysis of Donald Trump's controversial immigration restrictions (which were claimed to be about protecting Americans from terrorism). They focus on analysing risk from ...
73
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2answers
16k views

Does Melania Trump's security cost double the National Endowment for the Arts' budget?

This viral post was found at The Resistance with 16,000 shares in less 12 hours. It's from @chapmanchapman who seems to be commenting on Trump cutting the National Endowment for the Arts. The est. ...
73
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3answers
14k views

The origin of “99 cents”

I've seen two competing theories on the origin of pricing products at $<desired dollar amount minus 1>.99 (i.e. charging $19.99 instead of $20, of $5.99 instead of $6): Psychological pricing ...
60
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2answers
6k views

Will unsubscribing from spam get you even more spam?

To quote Rick's Spam Digest: It’s just too likely that the spammer uses the “removal” feature as a means to compile lists of known-deliverable e-mail addresses, and you could simply wind up getting ...
49
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2answers
26k views

Does the “Nonstop Elevator Hack” work?

I stumbled across this claim pretty often in the last few years. Now the problem is that I wasn't able to reproduce it but maybe it was just because I rarely visit tall buildings with multiple floors ...
47
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3answers
13k views

Do four random common words make a stronger password than passwords like “Tr0ub4dor&3”?

In xkcd comic #936, Randall Munroe claims that passwords like "Tr0ub4dor&3" (uncommon base word, caps, common letter substitutions with a number and punctuation suffix) has ~28 bits of entropy, ...
47
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1answer
4k views

Do antivirus vendors write viruses for profit?

I think this forum post sums it up nicely: I think that anti virus companies [...] are the ones who develop most of the viruses on the market today. If you think about it, it does make sence ...
42
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1answer
8k views

Is it possible to recover data on a zeroed hard drive?

Let's assume that I have a modern magnetic (not SSD) hard drive, manufactured within the past ten years, and the hard drive is packed with the only copies of an unpublished paper about cheap cold ...
40
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3answers
17k views

Will entering the ATM's PIN in reverse notify the police?

I received a rather intriguing email. It says that if I am at an ATM and I'm in the process of getting robbed, I just enter my PIN in reverse order e.g. 4321 instead of 1234. The ATM will still give ...
28
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3answers
1k views

Is anti-malware software effective?

I have heard claims that anti-malware software isn't really effective and will "only catch 33% of malware", and so it's best to "get rid of them; you don't have to pay, and your system will be faster"....
27
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1answer
4k views

Do Facebook or its third-party partners use my photos in ads?

There's a current scare going around FB that now that it wants to make some actual money, they'll start using profile pics and other things uploaded to facebook in advertisements. Here is an example ...
25
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2answers
20k views

Can mobile phones be tracked when they're switched off?

Seeing as mobile phones aren't sending signals when switched off, is it possible to track a mobile phone when it's switched off? NSA growth fueled by need to target terrorists By September ...
22
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3answers
2k views

Does United States have no technology to allow Internet voting in a secure way?

In 2011, nearly a quarter (24.3%) of participating voters in Estonia cast their ballot by remote electronic voting (that is, on their computer/phone/tablet via the Internet). Several larger ...
22
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1answer
2k views

Was the C compiler trojan horse written by Ken Thompson ever distributed?

This is a followup to the comments in this question. Thanks to Oddthinking for bringing up the issue. Ken Thompson gave a famous speech upon receiving an award titled "Reflections on Trusting Trust" ...
22
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1answer
7k views

Can the Rape-aXe only be removed by a doctor?

The Rape-aXe was a prototype of a female condom designed to attach itself to an attacker's penis with barbs if an attacker attempts to penetrate the woman wearing the Rape-aXe. The inventor claims ...
21
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1answer
2k views

Are 95% of Ashley Madison dating site's accounts male?

The hackers who procured and recently published Ashley Madison's internal databases, the so-called "Impact Team," have claimed that the accounts in the databases were predominantly, in fact "90-95%" ...
20
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1answer
18k views

Is it safer to NOT light your house at night?

At some point, I read a news report that investigators found out it is actually safer not to light your house when you are not there or when asleep. It mentioned that thieves found very dark places '...
19
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1answer
9k views

Do removable faceplates on car stereos deter theft?

Everyone has probably seen a car stereo head unit with a removable face plate; the idea being you can take the faceplate with you to deter theft. The claim is specifically made in this product ...
18
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2answers
4k views

Are locks as easy to pick as in the movies?

Are door locks as easy to pick as in the movies? They seem to only take around 2-3 seconds to pick be it with a credit card or a hairpin. Is this realistic? Or is it simply Hollywood being Hollywood? ...
18
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2answers
1k views

Do the “Presidential Alerts” give the government full access to all phone functionality?

John McAfee, libertarian politician and former computer programmer, tweeted this: The "Presidential alerts": they are capable of accessing the E911 chip in your phones - giving them full access ...
18
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4answers
1k views

Did the FBI not require assistance from Apple to unlock the San Bernadino terrorist's phone?

Edward Snowden's official Twitter account posted the following tweet: The first 4 points are not in contention, but the 5th point states that the FBI does not require Apple's assistance to unlock the ...
18
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1answer
2k views

Does scam-baiting make a noticeable difference to the prevention of internet fraud?

So I've recently found out about scam-baiting, and I've discovered a whole community around just wasting the times of scammers, such as 419Baiter and TheScamBaiter. A lot of the people there are ...
16
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2answers
10k views

Is posting my bank account number online unsafe?

With a credit-card number, validity date and CVV-code, people can make purchases, so this information should be strictly protected. But if I post my bank account details online (IBAN + BIC/SWIFT), ...
16
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3answers
932 views

Is there a “cyber war”?

I've been extremely sceptical of this new concept of a cyber war. That is, a malicious country or organisation could attack another country by bringing down their network through, say a DDoS or a well ...
15
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2answers
2k views

Have “backdoors” in software programs been seen in the real world?

Has there ever been a software program that has been shown to have an in-bad-faith "backdoor" allowing privileged access? When I say "in bad faith" I mean, "that cannot be credibly explained by ...
15
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2answers
1k views

Does US Intelligence have built-in interfaces in major social networking sites that allow them to browse personal information at will?

From this interview from Julian Assange: He believes the social network is joined by Google, Yahoo and other major US organisations that have “built in interfaces for US Intelligence”: It’...
14
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1answer
17k views

Is the trending Facebook “privacy notice” necessary and/or effective?

This facebook post has gone viral among my friends PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning - any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to ...
14
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1answer
636 views

Can aircraft be hacked and “commandeered remotely”?

This sensationalist article by John McAfee on Business Insider makes a number of unsupported claims about cybersecurity. In the article, he claims that (emphasis mine): For the purpose of our ...
14
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2answers
3k views

Can cardiac rhythms be used to uniquely identify a person?

Nymi, claims: "Like a fingerprint, your heartbeat is unique", and "Your Nymi lets you use your unique cardiac rhythm to authenticate your identity" Is it true that heartbeats are unique, like ...
13
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1answer
1k views

Have ATMs across the US “spat out money” in the second half of January 2018?

In a response to the DDoS attacks on several Dutch banks and other institutions, cybersecurity specialist Rian van Rijbroek claimed on 29 January 2018 on the Dutch news programme Nieuwsuur that banks ...
13
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1answer
4k views

Can the USA turn off the whole internet by deactivating root DNS severs based there?

Drinking with a friend, he told me how his lecturer had revealed to his class that the US can turn off the Internet for the whole world if it wants to, because all of the DNS root servers are there. I ...
13
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1answer
910 views

Do home alarm systems reduce burglaries?

Does installing an alarm system in your home have an effect on the number or results of burglaries? I am about to buy a house with an alarm system installed, with a siren/flash light on the front ...
12
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2answers
1k views

Did Seth Rich give Wikileaks the DNC leak emails?

This image has a few claims, are they true? Image text: Hi, I'm Seth Rich. I was the DNC staffer who gave Wikileaks the DNC emails proving that they had rigged the primaries against Bernie Sanders ...
11
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1answer
832 views

Does aluminum foil safeguard your credit card from RFID attacks?

Evidence against Does Aluminum Foil Stop Identity Theft? Some sources say that if you actually have an RFID-enabled credit card, aluminum foil does the same job, if not better, than an expensive ...
10
votes
1answer
873 views

Do 1.4 million Americans have Top Secret clearance?

One of the claims related to the PRISM scandal is that, regardless what NSA and other agencies assert, leaks are inevitable because of sheer number of people with access to secrets. According to this ...
9
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3answers
1k views

Was John Podesta's email password “password”?

Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, said in a recent interview with Sean Hannity that John Podesta’s password was 'password'. The Daily Mail reports: In an interview, Assange revealed the ...
9
votes
2answers
548 views

Can diabetics with pumps be killed from a half mile away?

Black Hat: Lethal Hack and wireless attack on insulin pumps to kill people Like something straight out of science fiction, an attacker with a powerful antenna could be up to a half mile away from ...
9
votes
1answer
805 views

Did Facebook allow Netflix, Spotify, and the Royal Bank of Canada to read users' private messages?

From As Facebook Raised a Privacy Wall, It Carved an Opening for Tech Giants Facebook allowed Microsoft’s Bing search engine to see the names of virtually all Facebook users’ friends without ...
9
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0answers
255 views

Were the BOSS Linux update servers hacked in 2015?

The Hackology Blog claims that update servers for BOSS Linux were hacked in 2015, eventually allowing access to Indian military and government servers. This website claims that: Hackers infected the ...
8
votes
1answer
280 views

Do US agents intercept and install spyware on new computers ordered by persons of interest?

In a Fox news article entitled "German magazine claims NSA hacking unit uses powerful methods to obtain data", a magazine article in Der Spiegel is cited as claiming, among other things: ...if the ...
8
votes
1answer
418 views

Do BT routers secretly connect to a NSA/GHCQ network?

Today I was pointed at this document which claims, among other things, that the secret agencies perform man-in-the-middle attacks by using a second network connection established by the home router. ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

Has Telegram decrypted user messages and provided them to a gov agency?

Background: Telegram is a secured messaging app, similar to many others (WhatsApp, Signal, ...). It emphasizes its security features and has become (like a few others) a way for people to exchange ...
8
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0answers
295 views

Did Russian hackers obtain billions of passwords?

Many news outlets seem to be reporting this story (NY Times article) about Russian hackers allegedly acquiring billions of usernames and passwords. A Russian crime ring has amassed the largest ...
7
votes
1answer
652 views

Fooling a commercial security door using printed scan of a fingerprint

According to wikipedia,the popular program called MythBusters were able to fool a security door with a printed scan of a fingerprint ^ "Crimes and Myth-Demeanors 1". Mythbusters. episode 16. season ...
7
votes
2answers
864 views

Are contactless payment cards/phones insecure?

I've heard claims that contactless cards and NFC is no less secure than chip and PIN as indicated below. According to Barclays: All our new Contactless debit cards include the latest advanced ...
7
votes
1answer
1k views

Did Sean Spicer tweet a password twice in two days?

This article came up in my news feed and I immediately called shenanigans on it: White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer Just Tweeted Something That Looks an Awful Lot Like a Password Recently, ...
7
votes
1answer
475 views

Can you use a computer's CPU's electrical noise to extract an encryption key?

This 2015 Wired article claims it is possible to use a remote device to determine a key used during decryption by sampling the radio emissions from the processor at 100kHz They also claim that by: ...
6
votes
1answer
426 views

Do airliners use single physical network for both avionics and passenger wifi access?

BBC reports (emphasis mine): Planes including the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Airbus 350 and A380 have a single network that is used by both pilots to fly the plane and by passengers for ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Can governments destroy the value of Bitcoin, if they wanted to?

Note that this is a question about Bitcoin that is separate from my other question, which had asked whether Bitcoin is a pyramid scheme. Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan, claims that the governments ...