Keyboard biometrics

Authenticating people online is used for all sorts of reasons. Tracking you on a website gives marketers an idea of what to tailor to your needs. It is good to know that someone enrolled in an online course is actually the person completing the course or that if you are logged into a bank account you are entitled to that access because you are you. Keyboard biometrics/keyboard dynamics are becoming increasingly important as part of an authentication method. Artificial Intelligence has made it easier to quantify a user’s keyboard habits and each person is unique in how they use a keyboard. I am different from standard keyboard to iPad keyboard to touch screen keyboard. Sometimes I use a stylus on a touch screen so I am not sure at this point how easy it is to track me across devices. Apparently how you type in a password is unique. How you swap between keys is unique. There is a whole lot to learn about keyboard biometrics.

The video gives you a good overview of what keyboard biometrics entails. PCWorld looks at it form an AI point of view. Tripwire looks at the security and privacy issues in particular. If your behavioural dynamics are being shared and utilised without your knowledge then that goes into the arena of what exactly is being collected as we use our devices , what does it entail and how is that information being used. It’s not unreasonable to want to know what we are unwittingly divulging just because we want to be on the internet. There is a balance between collecting information for the common good – like, for instance,  treatments of specific cases of illnesses, conditions and diseases and then collecting something which is our own personal data (keyboard biometrics) and not tell us. If it is protecting us, then that is a good thing. If it’s being used for something else it’s not. If it involves us, we need to know.

In any case, this is the way authentication is going to go and it’s important we know about it, discuss it and look at what it actually means in practical terms for us.

Working on your privacy

Two things you can do without going any further are switching off bluetooth unless you need it and turning off location if you  don’t need it. Location is still detected via Google but  you  do not need to go out of your way to tell everyone where you are. Turn location on when you really need it. For some reason my Linux Mint 17.2 has bluetooth on by default. For privacy’s sake it should be the other way around.

Now for some links which will help you to make some good decisions about privacy and know how to manage it:

Lifewire has 10 things for you to look at to help improve your privacy.

spreadprivacy has tips for iPad and iPhone users.

wired   has tips for managing privacy on android devices.

PC Mag has some good information to help you manage Google privacy.

The video gives you security information about Safari.

On websites and accounts you use, check your settings. Look at the privacy policy for the websites and accounts. None of this is perfect at the moment. Privacy and security are ongoing issues. You also need to be prepared to let key people know what you think are acceptable and unacceptable terms of privacy. If they don’t know they will do what they think is right.



Facebook hacking

thatsnonsense siteIf your Facebook or Messenger app is hacked, feel no shame, no guilt and no bad feelings. Just deal with it.




  1. Let everyone know.
  2. Check all your apps on Facebook to ensure they are the ones you have selected
  3. Do not mass forward messages no matter how well intentioned they are.

Facebook has pretty good security and wants you to take responsibility for it too so check your settings on a regular basis. Messenger seems to be the current problem and will create issues for people.

thatsnonsense is a site which is designed specifically to help you manage the dreaded hacking. It’s upsetting, annoying, puts you off. All of those things, but you can manage it with help and knowledge. thatsnonsense has a section dedicated to Facebook and its issues. You might like to read the post about the current wave of hacking via Messenger and how to deal with it. You might not need it but your friend might.

AirDrop dropping in

If you are having trouble finding AirDrop on your iPad there is help at AirDrop transfers files to compatible devices/computers on the same network. AirDrop comes with iPad 5s and Mountain Lion and I have been using on my iPad 5 since I got it at the end of last year and had no idea there was the famously infamous AirDrop. I know the symbol. I use it all the time to email and DropBox files. Airdrop is supposed to directly connect the wireless capabilities of devices/computers and create a peer to peer network which is then not using bandwidth. On a MacBook you can turn it on and off by using the sidebar and then also see a map of who is available:

Finder > sidebar to the left. AirDrop is listed in the sidebar> Click AirDrop > you can see an animated radar icon which has activated by AirDrop and shows who is broadcasting >Click on another one of the sidebar options> Airdrop is now off.

What is wrong with an on/off switch? Leaving it to some random find in the control panel of the iPad or the Finder sidebar of the MacBook tends to suggest the default Apple wants is Always ON…which is a security risk and poor device management. Bluetooth can be switched on and off. Mobile data can be switched on and off. Wifi can be switched on and off. Why not AirDrop? No wonder people have found their new iPhones and iPads were running out of battery power too quickly.

This is from the Apple site:

Looking for a fast way to share files with people nearby? With AirDrop, you can send files to anyone around you wirelessly — no Wi-Fi network required. And no complicated setup or special settings. Just click the AirDrop icon in the Finder sidebar, and your Mac automatically discovers other AirDrop users within about 30 feet of you. To share a file, simply drag it to someone’s name. Once accepted, the fully encrypted file transfers directly to that person’s Downloads folder.

You have to accept incoming files but if you are inadvertently broadcasting then you are there to be discovered by anyone who can connect to your device. Apple is not very clear on the protocols and security and for that reason I want to know AirDrop is off unless I specifically choose to use it. I do the same with BlueTooth and wi-fi. I don’t have unsupervised connections! That aside, you can see from the video there are some advantages to AirDrop. How it beats BlueTooth I am not sure. We’ll find out.

Facebook Virus

Facebook, Inc.Image via WikipediaI went on Facebook at the end of August and the first night I was on there I downloaded a virus through an app I put on. There is a report of a new one which is quite nasty because it infects your friend’s computers as well. It is important to have good anti virus software and good cleaning programmes. Facebook does become unstable from time to time because it has millions of users and it is a massive network. There are bound to be malicious people within this network. My way of dealing with it is to have the tools on board to clean my computer and then apply some common sense. There was a Facebook virus which got onto my sister’s computer and it was confusing her and making it hard to type things. I tracked it down and got rid of it. Not everyone is confident on a computer. I do believe Facebook is very quick to shut down malicious activity as soon as it becomes aware of it. It does do what it can to keep the site stable but every once in a while you get the idea it’s gone flighty again. Given what a massive network it is , I think it does an admirable job of keeping it running as smoothly as it can and certainly a darn site better than the less complicated and far smaller work place networks. I always make sure I clean up my computer when I go off line. Keeps interference to a minimum. One day we’ll have automatic filters for all this stuff.

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