@LarryM99: The instructor for the hacking training that I took was teaching his 5-year-old daughter to pick locks.
I must admit that I'd love to know how to pick locks -- not that I have much call for it in my day-to-day life, you understand -- but I'm sure it would be a useful skill when the day of the Robot Apocalypse (or the Zombie Apocalypse) dawns.
The fascinating / scary thing about the hacker world is how the most complex security can be beaten by the simplest things. For example, here's a video of a $160 hardened bike lock being picked using a Bic pen (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LahDQ2ZQ3e0). The instructor for the hacking training that I took was teaching his 5-year-old daughter to pick locks. She was opening 5-tumbler locks at that point.
Computers (including smartphones and tablets) are complex beasts, which makes them all the more vulnerable.
@LarryM99: Mythbusters did a show where they hacked fingerprint readers with a xeroxed copy of a print.
I remember a short science fiction story from long ago (Asimov perhaps?) about something like this -- someone (turns out to be a good guy showing how th esystem can be broken) kidnapping a rich person and using his fingerprint and iris scan to buy all sorts of goods.
I forgot to mention in this column that a simple photo of the person won't work -- the system is also looking for little muscle twitches and eye blinks and suchlike to know that it's looking as a living person.
@Adam-Taylor: "security / cryptography is not broken / cracked but bypassed"
About 10 days ago I assisted to a conference and round-table hosted by Telefonica/Movistar (the biggest Spanish telecom provider) about enterprise-level security in information technologies and this was stated and exemplifed by most of the VIP attendants, including a world-class hacker, the boss of security systems at Telefonica and the Navarra Autonomous Police chief officer.
I got really scared when I heard how easy an "unbreakable" system can by bypassed by skilled hackers.
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