Monthly Archive: June 2012

Finding New Friends Nearby with Facebook: The Social Media Privacy Report

Last weekend, Facebook discreetly launched a new mobile feature: Friendshake, a.k.a. Find Friends Nearby.  Initially available via the mobile website and then offered — while still subtly hidden — in the app version of Facebook, the feature was designed to allow users to find potential new friends located in local proximity.  And just as quickly and quietly as the feature appeared, it was pulled from the Facebook experience.

CNN Misses the Mark in Reporting of Personal VPNS, Travel, Cyber-Crime

Using a personal virtual private network is the only way to guard your privacy at a public WiFi hotspot, yet CNN missed a significant opportunity to point out this simple fact in its recent reporting on travel-related cyber-crime.

Other mainstream media — such as The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and the Chicago Sun-Times (in their words: “Well, why are you sending data in clear text over open networks, anyway? You should never ever do that”) — have heartily endorsed the use of a personal VPN like Private WiFi.

Yet in its recent post, CNN acknowledged that the best approach for business travelers when using public WiFi is to remotely log into their employers’ VPN.


Acxiom and Database Marketing: Learn About ‘Big Brother’ on Steroids and How to Opt Out

Have you ever heard of a company called Acxiom? If you’re like most Americans, probably not. But while you may not know much about Acxiom, they sure know a lot about you.

Acxiom knows more about you than the IRS, FBI, Facebook, and Google. It’s likely that they know your age, race, sex, marital status, education background, political leanings, household income, and much more.

Forrester Research once said Acxiom — headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas — “demonstrated surprising nimbleness in modernizing its offering and arguably leads the industry with its digital solutions,” but what does this $1.15 billion-a-year company do behind the scenes?


Generational Views On Privacy, Facebook, and Geo-Tagging: Who Owns Our Personal Information?

An article from Private WiFi’s CEO, Kent Lawson, raised interesting points about online privacy attitudes among younger people.

The article presented some interesting thoughts from Ella Hickson, a young playwright.

Ella notes she is more aware of the value of privacy and puts forth the idea that most of the younger generation thinks in terms of an “inner circle of friends” and “our public self.”

Trading on Disaster: How Online Trading Can Lead to Identity Theft

Cybercriminals are stealing user names and passwords so they can access online trading accounts directly. Then they’re using that information to make unauthorized trades, wiring the profits to other banks before their victims notice.  Do you know the tell-tale signs of online trading fraud?  Find out how you can avoid becoming the next identity theft victim when you trade online.


Covering Your Ass-ets: Average Internet User Risks $37,000 In Online Accounts

If you’re like most people, you are not covering your “ass-ets” across all digital devices.

A global study from McAfee revealed that consumers place an average value of $37,438 on the “digital assets” they own across multiple digital devices, yet more than 33% lack protection across computers, smartphones, and tablets.

Despite the high financial and emotional value of their assets stored in various places, 32% of the consumers who don’t use security protection on all of their devices still don’t think they need it.

However, 86% did agree that purchasing security protection was money well spent (ahem, like using a personal VPN).

Unsecure Home Wifi Connections Make Surviving War Driving Dicey

Do you think leaving your home Wifi connection wide open is no big deal?  If you do, you could be playing right into the hands of war drivers out to steal your personal information and your identity, according law enforcement officials from Atlanta to Queensland, Australia. Find out how you can lock the door to your Wifi connection and stop war drivers in their tracks.


WiFi in the Sky: Is Your Airline Inadvertently Risking Your Online Safety?

It’s a perk that is welcome by almost any traveler stuck for hours in a metal tube at 30,000 feet: wireless Internet!

For better or worse, wireless Internet service is almost everywhere.

Alaska Airlines, Virgin America, and Delta have already installed WiFi on its entire mainline fleet. American Airlines will install the service fully by the end of 2012. Same plans are in the works for JetBlue, Southwest, and Icelandair.

Online Safety Risks

With so many airlines offering — or planning to offer — wireless Internet service, are airline companies inadvertently risking their passengers’ safety?

Ask the Expert: Can a Botnet Really Turn My Computer Into a Zombie?

Q: “I recently read about something called bots and botnets, and that these things can turn my computer into a zombie. What does that mean? Can you explain what botnets are and what they do?”

A: Botnets are a new and scary online phenomenon. In layman’s terms, a botnet is a network of infected computers that are controlled virtually by a botmaster.

With the rapid growth in bot infections, it’s vitally important that everyone get up to speed about this threat.

Night of the Living BotNets

Botmasters can take over computers in a variety of ways, but usually they do it by sending infected emails to unsuspecting users. When the user opens a file attached to the email, their machine becomes infected.

After a computer becomes infected, the botmaster adds it to his or her botnet, which is the network of infected computers. Infected computers are sometimes called “zombie” computers.


LinkedIn Hack: Member Passwords Compromised in Security Breach

Earlier this week, reports of a major security breach at LinkedIn surfaced as 6.5 million member passwords were uploaded to a Russian hacker website. On the network’s blog, the company confirmed that such allegations were true.

If you are unsure whether your account was impacted by the breach, you can use a secure tool from the password management firm LastPass, according to Mashable. For the latest tips on keeping your LinkedIn account secure, visit our How-To section on Managing Your LinkedIn Private Settings.