10 Worst Uses of Technology

Like other powerful tools, technology can be used for good or bad. Find out how people use technology to commit crimes so you can protect yourself, or use their tricks to actually do good. Here are 10 of the worst uses of technology.

This post is part of our Evil Week series on Lifehacker where we take a look at the dark side of goal achievement. Sometimes evil is justified, and sometimes knowing evil means knowing how to defeat it. I want more? Visit our wicked week tags page .

10. Spoofing Caller ID

Pranksters and scammers use Caller ID spoofing to take advantage of us – in common phone scams , such as when Microsoft calls to alert you that your computer is infected with a virus and will help you fix it (for a fee). There are legitimate reasons why you might want to display your phone number differently in your Caller ID (like calling a little kid like Santa or Cinderella), and there are plenty of spoof apps and services to help you with that.

9. Uncover blurry information in photos

People blur information in photos to make sure sensitive information cannot be read by others, but it turns out that this strategy is not as safe, especially when you are trying to hide numbers. Takeaway: Don’t use simple mosaics to blur your image.

8. Create a program to steal USB passwords.

It’s bad enough that serious password leaks happen so often that hackers can steal our passwords with just a USB stick and one script , hijacking our password cache stored in our browser and elsewhere. You might want to test your vulnerability for this trick yourself, but anyway, to protect yourself, remember the basics of security: always have physical control over your computer, use a secure password manager (this is how they compare in terms of security ), and enable two-factor authentication .

7. Log into a private BitTorrent tracker or Usenet indexer.

Usenet private trackers and indexers are great communities, but they require dedication and are difficult to get into. While some of our strategies for hitting one of them are not necessarily “evil,” you will make your way into exclusive private file sharing communities.

6. Spoofing email addresses.

Caller ID is not the only thing spammers cheat. If you’ve ever received a weird spam email from a friend, or worse, your email account just spammed all your contacts, then you know how annoying fake emails can be. This is how data thieves spoof email addresses with phishing scams to get information, or force us to send money to Nigerian princes. If you think you are impersonating someone else, there are some additional steps you need to take to protect your account .

5. Spy on someone else’s phone or computer without their knowledge

Is your company following you? Possibly . NSA? Your ISP ? Yeah. But it’s also pretty easy for a friend or family member to dig into your phone or computer without your knowledge – whether it’s physically accessing your phone or computer, or using remote monitoring tools . Parents can spy on their children, other significant people can spy on their partners due to insecurity or suspicion, regardless of the reason, it is not so difficult to hide these traces . If you think you are being spied on, look for signs that none of these covert steps have been taken. If you are sharing your computer with someone else, find out how you can protect your privacy with this guide .

4. Crack Wi-Fi password.

WEP passwords are all too easy to crack with tools like BackTrack, making it easier to access a WEP-protected router. This is why everyone recommends using WPA – or indeed WPA2, the latest encryption standard . Although WPA can be hacked too ! That is, if WPS is enabled on your router. So disable WPS if you can, or try open source router firmware like DD-WRT which doesn’t support WPS.

3. Hack your Wi-Fi network.

Why would anyone want to steal your router’s password? Apart from stealing your Wi-Fi bandwidth , of course, for spying on everything that happens on your network. It’s amazing that hackers can use their creations to intercept network packets . Fake routers and networks created with , for example, Kali Linux can be used to trick computers into connecting and then eavesdrop on network communications. (Yes, there is a lot of spoofing going on in this article!) This is a good time to remind you to check your router settings, especially these basic security settings .

2. Track passwords and cookies.

This is somewhat related to a hacked Wi-Fi network, but more to do with the dangers of using public Wi-Fi. It is very easy for hackers to steal your logins and monitor your browsing session when the network is insecure or you are connecting to sites that do not use HTTPS. To protect yourself, it’s best to use a VPN whenever you use public Wi-Fi, or follow some of these security measures .

1. Hack your computer

Finally, you might shudder to learn that it is quite easy to hack into a computer, whether it is a Windows PC or a Mac , even if your computer is password protected. However, if your computer is encrypted with, for example, BitLocker (for Windows) or FileVault (for Mac), you will be protected from some of the most common methods that hackers use to steal data from your computer. You will also want to make sure you have a very strong unique password to log into your computer. However, if you’ve locked your computer and forgot your password, well, now you know how to get back in.

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