Monday, 8 July 2013

Do you know your Virtual Value?

The Value of a person is pretty subjective. It can have multiple notions. However, in our physical world, we are apparently talking about the person's social status or his/her economic level. Now, we obviously spend a lot of time in the virtual world everyday right? I meant our social media and cloud presence. So, do you know what's your value up there? Tricky huh? Well, not very! 

In a world where information is power everything holds a value. You and I as normal people may not realize our worth but, businesses out there do! Marketing, Sales, Distribution, etc. are what people say as elements necessary for a business. But Information forms the nucleus of any business. Though, it is not explicitly mentioned it is implied. How would i know whom to sell my product if i din't know there are people out there in need of it? It is as simple as that! So, as an individual, your tastes, preferences and  lifestyle are important sources of information. While people can make money out of it by catering to your needs, there are also people out there who make money by selling this basic information.

Hackers could gather this info about you, not just you but of many many people without their knowledge and make a database out of it. They sell this info out and you may not even know until trouble actually starts peeping at you!

It is surprising to know that there is a way to calculate your value in case a hacker were to use your information. This application is called the CLOUDSWEEPER! It is a research project  being conducted at the University of Illinois, Chicago by Peter Snyder and Chris Kanich. This tool helps users understand the online risks and makes them confront the necessity to secure their accounts.

Once you choose to run this tool, it requests for permission to access your gmail account. However, it does not ask for your credentials. Cloudsweeper then sweeps through all the information in your account that may seem lucrative to hackers. It then puts a value to your account, i.e. indirectly to you. For example, Apple is worth $8 and Amazon is worth $15 as of now! The important thing to understand here is, greater the value of your account, higher is your risk!  (The value referring to the money a hacker could earn out of your account)It only indicates that your account is more vulnerable! This does not end here! If you are interested in working on this vulnerability issue, Cloudsweeper offers you ways in which you could deal with your security essentials.

Sometimes we pass on our passwords through mail and never anticipate that they could be stolen. It is also possible that some of you hold one password for all of your accounts. So, technically speaking  in both the cases, one account of yours could hold the key to open multiple other accounts that belong to you. Never thought so right? There is so much such info that we unknowingly hold on the cloud without encrypting. Cloudsweeper  offers to encrypt such info for you. 

Cloudsweeper makes use of OAuth, which is an open authorization standard to access user accounts without getting to our credentials. This enables users revoke their access at any point of time.

For everyone who thinks they aren't really exposed to such vulnerabilities, since they are normal, this tool is a reality check. So, start clicking to know how much worth your virtual self if!

For cloudsweeper tool click here:

Content and Picture Courtesy: Internet