Monthly Archive: July 2012

Gold Medal Endorsement: Olympics WiFi Provider Recommends Personal VPN in Hotspots

The Chief Operating Officer of European telecom O2 has said WiFi and social media will play a huge role for the Olympic athletes, journalists, and fans at the 2012 London Olympics Games.

Pretty much anyone using the data services at the Olympics games will require secure, high-speed WiFi connections that lets them complete their work, upload photos, and update social media accounts with ease.

So it was a ringing endorsement by BT — the local ISP providing a majority of WiFi hotspots for Olympics attendees — that made Private WiFi so thrilled.


Is Skype Spying On You?

For many years, Skype took user privacy very seriously.

Skype, which provides free online calls and cheap phone calls to hundreds of millions of people around the world, has always been known for using strong encryption and complex peer-to-peer network connections. As a result, Skype calls are notoriously hard to intercept.

The company was very proud of its strong user security record, and even publicly stated that it could not conduct wiretaps because of its secure encryption techniques.

But this apparently is no longer the case.

Why College Students’ Online Behavior Makes Them Prime Targets for Identity Theft

College students can’t get by without Wifi.  Six out of ten students won’t even consider attending a college unless it offers free on-campus Wifi, according to a recent study.  But most students don’t seem care about protecting their sensitive information when they’re using Wifi networks.  And that makes them prime targets for identity theft.  If you can’t imagine academic life without Wifi, find out how to make sure your identity doesn’t get stolen before you get your diploma.


Semper Fi? Woman Sentenced in Online Tax Fraud Targeting U.S. Marines

A 29-year-old Florida woman was sentenced to more than five years in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release, in connection with an identity theft tax-fraud scheme targeting the names and personal data of 44 U.S. Marines.

Convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, prosecutors say Dorothy Boulin expected to be paid 20% of the money obtained from filing phony tax returns. Prosecutors say she had more than 100 photocopies of stolen driver’s license identification cards, Social Security cards, and printouts of more than 200 names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers.

security breach

2012: The Year of Massive Security Breaches

You might have noticed some disturbing security news last week: Yahoo reported that over 450,000 email usernames and passwords were stolen from the company’s databases by hackers and posted on the file-sharing account Pastebin.

Apparently Yahoo had stored these usernames and passwords without any encryption at all, making it very easy for hackers to steal them.

While having one’s email account hacked is bad enough, the news is actually worse than it sounds. Many of the hacked usernames and passwords were identical to those used in other website accounts, such as PayPal or online banking accounts.

Cyberattacks Against Law Firms Expose Clients’ Sensitive Information

The mobile workplace has made law firms prime targets for cybercriminals looking to steal clients’ sensitive information. Though few will admit to a data breach, it’s estimated that 80 major U. S. law firms were hacked in 2011.  It happens because law firms’ cybersecurity measures are often compromised by their own employees who use use easy-to-crack passwords, open up virus infected phishing emails and expose client information at Wifi hotspots.  Find out why strong cybersecurity is critical for maintaining client confidentiality and what you can do to make sure it works.


NYC Starts Offering Free WiFi Via Payphone Kiosks…But At What Cost to Your Online Privacy?

24/7 free WiFi access in New York City telephone kiosks? No, you’re not dreaming!

The pilot program to offer free broadband access via public payphone kiosks is part of the Bloomberg administration’s “efforts to promote greater digital inclusion for New Yorkers,” which also includes wireless at schools, libraries, and senior centers.

The first location is at West 58th Street and Broadway, with at least 10 other locations throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn (545 Albee Square and 2 Smith Street), and Queens (30-94 Steinway Street, Astoria).

Plans are in place to open locations in the Bronx and Staten Island, and NYC officials hope to spread public WiFi throughout the city, which includes more than 12,000 payphones in about 9,000 locations.

It’s costing about $2,000 per location, but what is this going to really cost the average citizen in terms of online privacy protections?

Turns out, it could be a lot more than $2,000.

Mobile Emergency: 1.3 Million Cell Phone Spies

Less than two months ago, we published an article detailing how cell phone companies routinely sell your personal cell phone data to local and federal law enforcement without a warrant or any oversight at all.

Well, according to an article recently published in the New York Times by Eric Lichtblau, it looks like the problem is actually much worse than anyone knew. Not only did law enforcement routinely ask cell phone carriers for personal cell phone data, they made (at least) 1.3 million requests just last year alone.

online dating

Dating Dangers: Is Your Identity Safe When Dating Online?

Online dating services offer a convenient and personalized way to meet that special someone. But along with matchmaking possibilities, these websites can provide an avenue for thieves to steal your identity and wreak havoc with more than your love life.

The Federal Trade Commission estimates that the identities of up to 9 million Americans are stolen annually. The Consumer Reports National Research Center puts that figure even higher, saying that nearly 16 million American households were victims of identity theft during the past year. In many cases, hackers accessed the victims’ online information, according to the Center’s latest survey.

In the world of online dating, a security breach of eHarmony’s system offers one cautionary tale. Some 1.5 million passwords belonging to eHarmony members were recently stolen and posted to the Web, according to news reports.

social media

Findings from The ITRC’s Parenting and Social Media Study

The Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC) recently conducted a survey which attempted to measure the actions and level of concern parents have in relation to their children’s social media activity.  This study was conducted in order to better understand how aware parents are of the potential dangers social media pose to their children, and how adept they are in their attempts to keep their children safe.

PRIVATE WiFi Now Offers Website Security Badges

PRIVATE WiFi’s site seals add a badge of trust and security to websites that display it. Websites can choose from two seals: that the website promotes secure wifi, that the website encourages the use of a personal virtual private network (VPN). A personal VPN secures and privatizes data across a network, usually the Internet, by building an “encrypted tunnel.” Data passes through this tunnel which protects it from anyone who tries to intercept it.


Pop Quiz: Do You Have to Provide Your Child’s Social Security Number on School Enrollment Forms?


This recent editorial cartoon in The New Yorker put a face on how simple it is for hackers to succeed at stealing sensitive information online.

It happens as easily to adults as it does to kids.

Nearly 400,000 kids get their identities stolen each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

In fact, federal authorities have warned about people with bad credit buying “credit profile numbers” or CPNs from businesses that use computers to locate and sell Social Security numbers issued to children.

Identity thieves steal kids’ Social Security numbers because their credit is generally untarnished. It’s not until years later — when they apply for a store credit card, a college loan, or a job — that they find out their credit has been destroyed.