The Starbucks mobile app, the most used mobile-payment app in the U.S., has been storing usernames, email addresses and passwords in clear text, Starbucks executives confirmed late on Tuesday (Jan. 14). The credentials were stored in such a way that anyone with access to the phone can see the passwords and usernames by connecting the phone to a PC. No jailbreaking of the phone is necessary. And that clear text also displays an extensive list of geolocation tracking points (latitude, longitude), a treasure trove of security and privacy gems for anyone who steals the phone.
Troubling. At first glance, it’s tempting to think, “maybe it’s not that bad, someone would still have to steal my phone”. Not necessarily. I often see people (myself included) asking waiters, bartenders, and anybody who’s working anywhere to plug their phones in. They almost always oblige, taking the phone off somewhere and bringing it back when asked. Not that I think I’ve come across anyone that has done anything malicious, just pointing out an instance of vulnerability. I think that if the phone is passcode or fingerprint locked, the filesystem wouldn’t be accessible by a computer, but I’m not sure. In any case, be careful with your stuff and don’t do bad things with other people’s stuff!
Snapchat was recently hacked, and my info was amongst the compromised data. It might seem like there isn’t much they can do with your username and phone number, in fact I don’t really consider either of those things private. It’s not as bad as all that credit card information that was stolen from target and adobe, for sure. However, one of the big lessons I took away from reading Kevin Mitnick’s book: “Ghost in the Wires" is that a lot of big breaches are actually made possible with pieces stolen from several smaller "hacks". For example–and this is a paraphrased example–he’d trick somebody into giving him an internal phone number. He’d trick another person into telling him their supervisor’s name, and yet another person into telling him which model computer they were using. For the final act, he’d call that internal number, say his name was the supervisor’s name, and then talk to the person on the other end knowledgeably about what was in front of them. I’ve seen hacks strung together like this on a previous project that I worked on and learned that with enough time, people can think up some clever ways to use stuff. I’m not saying that you should quit the internet, just be careful about what you put online. And if you work on the internet, please be careful with what you’re saving.
Great example of how a perceived disadvantage can actually be an advantage.
Answer by Wendy Chen:
I grew up poor (like not being able to afford food poor) and ended up relatively wealthy in my mid 20s. I’m actually going to focus on the unfair advantages I got growing up having nothing.
Unfair advantages of growing up poor:
- I’m a relentless risk taker: what’s the worst thing that can happen? I go back to not being able to afford food? I was happy then, so I can be happy anywhere.
- Very few things make me sad, angry, or upset. There are tons of things that are outside of my control - emotional reactions to external events are a choice. External events aren’t good or bad, they just happen. You can only control your internal response.
- Letting go is easy. Growing up poor usually means you will experience many borderline abusive situations / people. Just let it go and move on. Actually, you will unbelievable gratitude if you forgive people who know they have been abusive towards you.
- Relentless focus on self improvement. The only way to get out of poverty is to focus on improving yourself. So this has always been the focal point for me - more important than money, security, everything.
- You realize that the world treats you the way you treat yourself. I made my money so quickly that I didn’t have time to change my wardrobe. So I once went to a party of ultra high net worths wearing two pieces of cloth tied together with ribbon. But I walked with such confidence that people were asking me “what designer is that?!?”. If you respect and love yourself, others will treat you the same.
Strange habits developed from growing up with nothing
- Eating. I didn’t eat much meat growing up, so even now I don’t really know how to appreciate meat. I still eat boiled vegetables and bread/rice for >50% of my meals.
- I find it hard to relax sometimes. I’m still working on that.
- I’m not particularly concerned with how other people perceive me. This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but it helped a lot when I was a kid.
I’ve been seeing this apple commercial a lot. The one where the kid is seemingly on his phone throughout the entire family vacation, and later we find out that he’s actually making a sweet family video. I liked it as soon as I saw it, but it just dawned on me that maybe one of the reasons that I like it so much is that I can relate to that kid. I’ve shot and edited a few videos. I know how it feels to be looked at funny for pointing a camera at someone, or people staring at you with a judgmental look that says, “what the heck is that guy shooting that for?”. I also know how it feels to show someone the finished piece—edited with a proper soundtrack—and see them watch it with positive emotions. That part is a lot of fun. The apple commercial captures that feeling really well.
I’m a little sad that I didn’t get to watch the last 49er game at Candlestick Park. As part of living a spartan lifestyle, I try hard not to get emotional over inanimate objects, so I didn’t think I would care that much about “The Stick” getting torn down. Then I watched the broadcast of the final 49er game there. The flashback footage brought back memories of my family, friends, and sporting heroes throughout my life. That place, that stadium, is so tightly intertwined with memories of my childhood, teenage, young adult and adult life, that it’s hard not to get at least a little sentimental. That time we were watching the Giants play the A’s and the earthquake happened. That other time when my dad and I ran onto the field after the 49ers won the championship and I watched my P.E. teacher climb up the goal post as everyone around me was stealing the grass. That old, windy, traffic-jammed place was always a joy to go to. They’ll tear it down and build a bunch of housing, San Francisco desperately needs it. The Giants have already moved into one of the best stadiums in baseball, and the 49ers will soon move into their state of the art stadium. We’ll follow them, and move on to make new memories, but I’ll always remember Candlestick Park, like a childhood friend I grew up with.
I rode a bike in the snow for the first time and survived to make this video.
From David Jaewon Oh's ALL BLACK EVERYTHING [feat. Black Roses NYC], a yearlong photo documentary project on Black Roses NYC and its love affair with running and the city. Check out the full set: http://www.upsetspecialistphoto.com/allblackeverything #nevernotrunning #newyorkcity #urbanrunning