Tag Archives: privacy

Beware of Ransomware!!

The term “ransom” has been around for hundreds of years and is best described as a way to redeem someone from captivity, bondage, detention, etc., by paying a demanded price.

Today, we have another destructive variation of the word ransom — that is “ransomware.” What is it and what can we do about it?

TechRepublic recently produced Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide, written by James Sanders. This is an executive summary quoted from the guide:

  • What is it? Ransomware is malware. The hackers demand payment, often via Bitcoin or prepaid credit card, from victims in order to regain access to an infected device and the data stored on it.
  • Why does it matter? Because of the ease of deploying ransomware, criminal organizations are increasingly relying on such attacks to generate profits.
  • Who does this affect? While home users have traditionally been the targets, healthcare and the public sector have been targeted with increasing frequency. Enterprises are more likely to have deep pockets from which to extract a ransom.
  • When is this happening? Ransomware has been an active and ongoing threat since September 2013.
  • How do I protect myself from a ransomware attack? A variety of tools developed in collaboration with law enforcement and security firms are available to decrypt your computer.

Sanders adds: “For those who have been infected, the No More Ransom project — a collaboration between Europol, the Dutch National Police, Kaspersky Lab, and Intel Security — provides decryption tools for many widespread ransomware types.

Here are a couple of informative infographics by LogRhythm:


Zarb Prof’s Tips and Quiz for Being Safer Online

Although it’s nearly impossible to totally protect ourselves (whether a person or a company) against identity theft and an invasion of our online privacy by hackers, there are several things that we can do to make it tougher for hackers to get into our online accounts and social media.

How big is this problem? Take a look a look at this chart on cyber crime based on November 2015 data generated by Hackmageddon. Cyber attacks on U.S. sites dwarf those in the rest of the world.


 
Watch the two videos highlighted below to see some of the things we can do. Can YOU pass the quiz in the second video?
 

 

Facebook Cracking Down on Third-Party Access to Data

There have been a lot of calls by government agencies, consumer groups, and individual users for Facebook to better control the information it provides to third parties. Now, it is taking another step.

As reported by  Deepa Seetharaman and Elizabeth Dwoskin for the  Wall Street Journal:

“Facebook’s restrictions on its user data, which were announced last year and put into effect in May, are rippling through academia, business, and presidential politics. Dozens of startups that had been using Facebook data have shut down, been acquired, or overhauled their businesses. Political consultants are racing to find new ways to tap voters’ social connections ahead of the 2016 presidential election.”

“’Facebook giveth and Facebook taketh away,’ said Nick Soman, who collected the locations of Facebook users’ friends to enhance his anonymous-chat app, Reveal. He later sold the app to music service Rhapsody International Inc. Mr. Soman said he admires Facebook, but learned a lesson about relying on third parties for a key component of his app.”

 
Click the chart to read more.

Are You Managing Your Passwords Well?

Everyday, millions of Internet accounts around the world are hacked into. Are YOU doing enough to protect yourself? Take a look at this past post we’ve made.

Then, check out these password manager tools recommended by TechRepublic and visit this site to see a video about these tools:

  1. Windows Password Key Standard
  2. Kruptos 2 Professional
  3. 2 Password
  4. Quicky Password Generator
  5. LastPass Password Manager

 

 

Must Reading: How Vulnerable are YOU to Being Tracked by Hackers?

Earlier this week, we posted aboutWhat Happens to Our Privacy If a Company Is Sold?” The answer was pretty disconcerting!!

In this post, we are furthering the discussion by publicizing a very recent article How Many Times Has Your Personal Information Been Exposed to Hackers?This article includes a a brief vulnerability quiz and many useful observations:

“Half of American adults had their personal information exposed to hackers last year alone. In a recent attack at the federal Office of Personnel Management, hackers stole the most sensitive personal data for 21.5 million people.”

“Answer the questions below to learn which parts of your identity may have been stolen in some of the major hacking attacks over the last two years and what you can do about it. Not all attacks are included here, and many attacks go undetected, so think of your results as a minimum level of exposure.”

 
Click the image below to take the quiz and to learn more about this important subject.
 

 

What Happens to Our Privacy If a Company Is Sold?

Most of us are not fully aware of the privacy policies and rules that go into effect if a company sold is sold or goes into bankruptcy. Suppose we signed up for a Web site that had specific restrictions on how our personal information could be used, such as not providing it to a third party. Do these restrictions remain if the company is bought by another firm?

Not surprisingly, our privacy rights are not as strong as they should be in these situations. Therefore, we need to give out personal information very carefully — and monitor its use.

As Natasha Singer and Jeremy B. Merrill recently reported for the New York Times:

“The privacy policy for Hulu, a video-streaming service with about nine million subscribers, opens with a declaration that the company ‘respects your privacy.’ That respect could lapse, however, if the company is ever sold or goes bankrupt. At that point, according to a clause several screens deep in the policy, the host of details that Hulu can gather about subscribers — names, birth dates, email addresses, videos watched, device locations, and more — could be transferred to ‘one or more third parties as part of the transaction.’ The policy does not promise to contact users if their data changes hands.”

“Provisions like that act as a sort of data fire sale clause. They are becoming standard among the most popular sites, according to a recent analysis by the New York Times of the top 100 Web sites in the United States as ranked by Alexa, an Internet analytics firm. Of the 99 sites with English-language terms of service or privacy policies, 85 said they might transfer users’ information if a merger, acquisition, bankruptcy, asset sale, or other transaction occurred, the Times’ analysis found.  The sites with these provisions include prominent consumer technology companies like Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn, in addition to Hulu.”

Click the image to read more from the NY Times.