Finnish security firm F-secure kicked off its 2016 European labs tour this week with an unusual free gift. A bottle of ‘glitter’ nail polish was handed over to all, boys and girls alike.
For all the security-driven software developer know-how that’s out there, a bottle of nail varnish might just be even more powerful than code.
Method in the glittery madness
But of course there was method in this madness, this is clinically sharp Scandinavia after all.
The rationale here is as follows. If you travel with a laptop you are always at risk of it being compromised with malware if someone were to snatch it from you while you are away from it or sleeping or en route somewhere or out of your hotel room etc.
This scenario is in fact known as the “Evil Maid Attack”.
Tamper proof stickers are never really tamper proof, says F-Secure. So there must be a better way to secure your machine while you are away from it.
The concept here hinges around the user painting a swipe of glittery nail polish over stickers placed over ports or screws on their machine. The nail polish leaves an essentially very random pattern, so you take a smartphone picture of the polish as you leave and try not to take any other pictures while you are away.
When you return, you take another smartphone picture and you are able to swipe left and right to see if the pattern has been disturbed in any way.
Opsec: operational security
This technique is known as Opsec, or operational security and F-Secure says that this is both an ‘art and a science’ when applied and carried out correctly.
“Of course, this is not a fail-safe system that keeps hackers out. But it lets you know if they’ve been in so you can decide not to exacerbate the breach by continuing to use the PC,” advises F-Secure.
Who knew Finnish information security intelligence was so funky?