In this blog I thought I’d take a moment to outline the top 10 ways that tidy online behavior helps people stay out of trouble.
For many of us, our mobile phones have become virtual extensions of our bodies, and our payment systems, so any attempt to take these devices away, steal our information from them, or pile on additional charges, hits close to home. Fortunately, two recent rulings are helping defend our rights to privacy and transparent pricing.
Privacy has taken a beating over the past several years as dozens of companies and governments around the world have exploited technology to monitor our actions, read and listen to our private communications, track our locations, and more.
Need a passport in a hurry? Maybe you’ve procrastinated, or just discovered your passport expired, or you hadn’t planned on traveling but a business trip or emergency requires you to do so…. How do you get a new passport in just a few days?
For most consumers, the assumption is you need to use one of the many services that will ‘rush’ a passport through the State Department process. This assumption is not only false; it’s expensive and puts your most sensitive information at risk.
Instead, make an appointment with your nearest passport agency office, pay their express service fees and it will likely only take you two days to have a new passport in hand.
It’s not easy protecting your identity these days. According to a report from Javelin Strategy & Research, a new case of identity fraud occurred every two seconds in the U.S., in 2013.
That’s a 33% increase over what was reported in the previous year’s Javelin report which calculated there was a new ID theft victim every 3 seconds in 2012. That’s a shocking year-over-year increase, and 2014 doesn’t look any better.
So what is a consumer to do?
The purpose of my blog has always been to deliver on one goal; helping you get the safety, security and privacy information you need to make clear, informed choices about protecting yourselves and your families online.
So in an unusual step, I want to address the great deal of concern consumers have about Comcast’s choice to turn their customer’s home modems into public WiFi hotspots. While this behavior has been going on for some time, it was only last week that Comcast went past a ‘beta’ phase and formally announced it was turning “50,000 paying customer homes into public hotspots[i]” in the Houston area, and “the company says it’ll be in millions of homes across the country by the end of the year.[ii]”
In what is being called an “extremely sophisticated” cyber-attack suspected of having infected a quarter of a million computers in the United States, and up to a million computers worldwide, the Justice Department announced on Monday that it had taken control of servers used to control the GameOver Zeus botnet[i] and CryptoLocker ransomware[ii].
The general advice to consumers in the aftermath of the Heartbleed bug, a serious flaw, discovered in a piece of code (OpenSSL), has been to “log off of all your online accounts, then change your passwords … but only after you know the sites you use have fixed the security flaw.” This begs the question of “how am I supposed to know if the site has been updated with the fix?”
By now, you’ve probably heard of the “Heartbleed bug”, or serious flaw, discovered in a piece of code (OpenSSL) designed to provide secure access to websites and used by at least 66% of internet sites[i]. Some security researchers even call Heartbleed the biggest web security threat ever.
The flaw allows hackers to steal the very information that the cryptographic security code was designed to protect – including “the secret keys used to identify the service providers and to encrypt the traffic, the names and passwords of the users and the actual content [being sent]. This allows attackers to eavesdrop on communications, steal data directly from services and users and impersonate services and users” according to the Heartbleed.com website.
Did you know your child’s identity may be stolen even before they’re born? And, the likelihood that a child or teen’s identity has been, or will be, stolen before they reach adulthood is rising dramatically – it’s the fastest growing segment of ID theft in the U.S. Some estimates suggest that children are up to 51 times more likely to be a victim of identity theft[i].