Just how much information does our ‘metadata’ reveal? Governments are quick to remind us that metadata is harmless, but it’s far from – your friends, associates, interests, activities, location, and much more can be gleaned. In this case, the researchers were able to glean access to the subject’s online accounts and passwords through cross-referencing.
“With this password, they were able to access Ton’s Twitter, Google and Amazon accounts. The analysts provided a screenshot of the direct messages on Twitter which are normally protected, meaning that they could see with whom Ton communicated in confidence. They also showed a few settings of his Google account. And they could order items using Ton’s Amazon account – something which they didn’t actually do. The analysts simply wanted to show how easy it is to access highly sensitive data with just a little information.”