Monthly Archive: February 2011

Online Security: Facebook Responds to FTC’s Privacy Plans

Facebook has responded to the proposed Federal Trade Commission privacy regulations, arguing for a self-regulated industry rather than a government-enforced rule to avoid “stifling innovation.” Facebook wrote to the FTC that new rules should take into account “individuals’ evolving perceptions of privacy,” according to this article on The Huffington Post. The article quotes Facebook’s chief privacy counsel: “For Facebook — like most other online service providers — getting this balance right is a matter of survival. If Facebook fails to protect the privacy of its users adequately, those users will lose trust in Facebook and will stop using the service.” The full 29-page letter can be found here.

Something New to Worry About — Your Camera and Online Privacy!

You may want to turn off the GPS in your camera, according to CEO Kent Lawson. His new post explores the security risks in sharing photos via email, Facebook, Flickr, or any other photo-sharing site, since the date, the time, and even the location, are easily accessible and could fall into the wrong hands.

Hotel Wifi Hacking is on the Rise

Hacking unsecured wireless networks at hotels is easier and safer than robbing guests’ rooms or cracking their safes. For cybercriminals in search of an easy target, the payoff is much bigger.

Password Reuse Opens Doors for Cybercriminals

Researchers from the Security Group at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory conducted a study on two recently hacked websites that also had their password hashes stolen. The two sites appeared to have a lot of overlapping customers and shared email addresses, and the Cambridge study discovered that, of the passwords that were cracked, 76% of people used the same password on both sites. This blog post on InfoWorld points out that “many people choose the same password they use at work for personal websites [but] in these times, not a single day passes without some major password hacking incident becoming public.”

Laptop Security: Video Shows Cafe Customers ‘Naked’ in Public Wifi Networks

Although they don’t mention Firesheep by name, this video report from a North Carolina news station shows exactly how simple it is for anyone to spy on your online surfing habits in a public WiFi network. It mentions “controversial software” and how — whether in a coffee shop, hotel room, airport, or other location with free WiFi – nothing is safe in a public WiFi hotspot. “Right now I am on the hotel wireless network and these are some of the people who’ve logged into that network,” according to one of the security analysts quoted in the accompanying article, which details how easily anyone could apply software that lets them into email accounts or to quickly grab passwords.

Extended Wifi Partnership Adds 500,000 Hotspots for Skype Users

Skype users will soon be able to connect to 500,000 WiFi hotspots with a new pay-as-you-go plan around the world, which includes 500 airports, 30,000 hotels, and numerous cafés, trains, planes, offices buildings, and convention centers. This ZDNet article says that in order to use the compatible hotspots, users will need an up-to-date version of Skype for Mac or Windows and credit on the account.

Study Finds Wireless Networks Are Wide Open to Hackers

If you think home wireless networks are safe from hackers, a new British study might change your mind. It found that half of home WiFi networks can be hacked in less than five seconds. Is U.S. wireless security any better?

Online Identity Theft: Better Business Bureau Warns of Tax-Time Scams

The IRS will never email you and ask you to submit W-2 personal tax information electronically, but a new scam email is asking taxpayers to click on a link to input the information as part of an identity theft scam. The Better Business Bureau shares tips to help you recognize online tax scams in this article from Kentucky’s Times Leader. The article says such an email sometimes comes from a fictitious “Treasury Department” stating a refund or tax inheritance is waiting and the taxpayer needs to provide personal information.

Are NYC Parks Taking An ‘Airport Approach’ to Wifi Wireless?

Free WiFi is scheduled to arrive at 32 public parks in New York on a temporary basis next year: each user will get three 10-minute sessions per month, and after that pay 99 cents a day to Time Warner and Cablevision. According to this article in The Consumerist, many think “there should be totally free wireless in the parks because this proposed plan takes “the airport approach to WiFi, at the expense of citizens, [privatizing] what should be a public good, like water or playgrounds.”

Google Lets Users Double-Down on Account Security

Google has announced a “two-factor authentication” feature that will give people the choice of adding another layer of password security by typing in a second, short-lived password in addition to their regular account password. This post explains the new security feature in detail, explaining that it “should help prevent hackers from getting into sensitive accounts, like Gmail, by snooping passwords or by exploiting security breaches, like the one that recently exposed the email addresses and passwords of Gawker Media commenters — a huge problem since many users reuse the same password over and over.”

Location Based Check-Ins and the Loss of Your Privacy and Security: The Social Media Privacy Report

Location Based Services are becoming more popular than ever. On smartphones, users are making the technology mainstream as they locate nearby services and check-in to businesses and establishments. But sharing this much information via social media can hinder your internet security and online privacy.