Monthly Archive: January 2011

Business Exec Spreads Free Wifi in Albuquerque

An Albuquerque man who owns Citylink — a national company that manages telecommunications networks and services — says he hopes to spread free WiFi throughout his city within several months. A local Albuquerque TV station notes that his motives aren’t entirely altruistic — users of the free WiFi will see a map promoting various local businesses based on their specific hotspot locations.

online privacy kids

Tracking Kids’ Online Behavior May Diminish Computer Privacy

A company called School Safety Partners shares the top-10 privacy and liability risks for parents signing up for online monitoring and anti-bullying programs. After all, almost all monitoring companies reserve the right to change their privacy policies or the terms of how your information is shared at any time without notice.

Wifi Wireless: Security Researcher Questions Network Protection

A computer programmer has allegedly figured out how to break into’s cloud computing network to effectively hack into other people’s computers. According to news agency Reuters, the researcher uses specialized software to “test 400,000 potential passwords per second using Amazon’s high-speed computers.” For better protection against hackers, remember not to use simple passwords to secure your network.

home hacking

Home Sweet Hack

Think your home wireless network is safe from intruders? Maybe or maybe not. For cybercrooks intent on stealing your valuables, an unsecured wireless connection can make WiFi hacking a lot easier than breaking and entering.

mobile phone privacy

California Supreme Court: No Warrant Needed For Cell Phone Search

Be careful what you text in California. A new law says police officers do not need a search warrant to search your phone, potentially stripping privacy rights to your text messages, phone records, emails, photos, videos, and anything else you keep on your smartphone. But what about the Fourth Amendment, you ask? Exactly. If you haven’t password-protected your smartphone, now may be the time to take the extra step.

credit fraud

Miley Cyrus Hacker Arrested on Credit Fraud

A man who bragged about hacking into Miley Cyrus’ email account was arrested on a separate matter and was charged with possession of unauthorized credit card account numbers. The Associated Press says FBI agents searched his computer, and the suspect allegedly had used 200 credit card account numbers and related personal information to make fraudulent online purchases.

big data

How Far is Too Far? (Part 2 of 2)

Part 1 of this series discussed how companies can track our location, but that is just one piece of information in “the new normal” of what marketers can find out about us. Now in Part 2, check out how our travels around the Internet leave digital fingerprints all over the place.

Online Security: Global Spam Email Levels Fall

BBC News reports on a a “precipitous decline” in spam messages, noting that one security firm detected around 200 billion spam messages being sent each day in August 2010, but just 50 billion by December. The majority of spam is sent by networks of infected computers known as botnets; the article points out that one botnet, called Rustock, was once responsible for almost 48% of spam, but by December it accounted for just 0.5% of global spam.

Online Privacy Diminishes with Facebook and Users Keep Coming Back For More: The Social Media Privacy Report

This week’s installment of the Social Media Privacy Report examines the discrepancy between growing online security concerns among experts and internet users’ apathetic attitude towards the threat to their internet safety and privacy. Meanwhile, Facebook remains at the pinnacle of the social media frenzy and despite web protection issues, it continues to thrive.

Hacked Database: Honda, Acura Drivers Warned of Possible Identity Theft

Cybercriminals hacked into an email database for 2.2 million new Honda and Acura owners that contained customers’ names and email addresses, as well as online login names and their 17-character Vehicle Identification Numbers. This MSNBC news article warns drivers to promptly change their passwords and be cautious of unsolicited emails requesting personal information because “if the hackers were able to present themselves as Honda, and reassured you that they were genuine by quoting your Vehicle Identification Number, then as a Honda customer you might be very likely to click on a link or open an attachment.”

net neutrality

Computer Privacy, Internet Freedom, and the ‘Open Internet’ Apps Challenge

The FCC has announced a challenge for researchers, inventors, and software developers to create apps that allow users to monitor and protect Internet openness. Some call this contest a mere side-note to the brouhaha over how net neutrality rules will either destroy capitalism as we know it or cement the power of the wireless oligarchs.

Privacy Protections and Computer Vision: Helpful Or Alarming?

Computer privacy is changing every day, and with new computer vision technology that can observe us and understand us better, the New York Times poses the question of whether that is helpful technology or an invasion of privacy. Among many other ways it will become part of our future, this new computer vision may be part of law enforcement, national security, and military operations, as well as how doctors and nurses will rely on extra patient safety measures in the operating room.