Hackers Don't Always Use High Technology

By Matthew Harwood

With the constant bombardment of media reports warning of hackers using numerous high-tech ploys and tactics to get at confidential information, security researcher Johnny Long reminds people and organizations not to forget about simple, low-tech ways criminals steal sensitive information.

According to, Long gave some examples during the Last HOPE (Hackers on Planet Earth) conference over the weekend in New York City:

Some of those simple ways to get access to supposedly secured systems, such as buildings or computer networks, without using technology include: shoulder surfing, which is viewing exposed information on computer screens; dumpster diving; and if you can't get in the front door, trying the smoker entrance where you'll be less likely to be interrogated.

Long showed photos of laptop screens he had managed to photograph in airports and other public places where executives and military officials were casually but unwittingly revealing confidential and sensitive information to anyone within a few feet. It's clear--nobody tries to hide what buttons they are pushing on pass code secured doors, even at the airport's TSA room, based on his ample photographic evidence.

For more on public-interest hacker, Johnny Long, click here.


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