Author: Kent Lawson

The Rise of the Evil Twin: How a Personal VPN Can Strike Back

We applaud Tech Republic for explaining what we’ve been educating about for years: “Public hotspots all have one thing in common; they are open networks that are vulnerable to attacks and security breaches. Most, if not all, public hotspots do not encrypt data, allowing passwords, email messages, and other information to be intercepted by nefarious types.”

Keep reading to see what else their article suggests — as well as our suggestions for avoiding evil-twin hotspots, dodging hackers, and protecting your identity.

One of NYC’s Free WiFi Providers Goes Kaput

Is New York City’s free WiFi program in trouble?

A research group known as Gotham City Research claims that Gowex, one of the five organizations that former New York City Mayor Bloomberg had chosen to provide free WiFi service in the city’s five boroughs, cooked their books and vastly overstated its earnings. Based on this report, Gowex filed for bankruptcy.

Facial Recognition: The Scariest Privacy Issue

No one doubts that biometric identification is a powerful tool with many possible applications. But there’s a downside to this technology: in essence, our faces can now be used for government tracking and surveillance that was not possible until now. And there are few safeguards currently in place to curb excessive use of this tool.

In Unanimous Opinion, SCOTUS Defends Cell Phone Privacy

In a landmark decision for digital privacy, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided that warrantless searches of cell phones are not permitted by the Fourth Amendment. The Court looked at two cases to see if the warrantless searches of the defendants’ cell phones were reasonable and allowed under the Fourth Amendment. The Court ruled that they were not reasonable, but allowed for exemptions in emergency situations, such as preventing a terrorist act.

You’re Probably White and Middle Class If You Don’t Care about Government Surveillance

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, a group dedicated to defend and protect the right to free expression both in Canada and around the world, recently released a poll which is quite telling of how many of us view government surveillance.

The poll asked Canadian citizens what they would do if they found out that the government was spying on them. A whopping 60% said that they would do nothing.

Heartbleed: A Message From PRIVATE WiFi’s CEO

Let’s start with the good news: you are still safe. The latest Heartbleed situation — which is a software bug, not a virus — has not endangered the privacy and security of our customers’ communications.

But one of our industry’s most respected security analysts claims “catastrophic” is the right word for Heartbleed, because “on the scale of 1 to 10, this is an 11.”

Filing Your Taxes On A Public Library Hotspot Could End Up Costing You Plenty

It’s that time of year again, when thousands of taxpayers flock to public libraries to get free tax advice and help filing their returns. That kind of assistance can make doing your taxes a lot less taxing, but if you use the library’s open WiFi hotspot at any point during the process, it could end up costing you plenty. You might be wondering how we know for sure that public library WiFi hotspots can expose your sensitive information. We know because we checked.

Honey Encryption: A New Tool to Deceive Hackers

Every time we turn around, it seems, we read that hackers have penetrated another company’s supposedly “impenetrable” servers.

Researchers have created a new tool called Honey Encryption, and it’s anything but sweet for criminals who want to get their hands on sensitive customer data.

Hacking at 36,000 Feet: The Ease of Spying On the Person in Seat 2B

Flying from New York to San Francisco last week, I had the opportunity to check out the (unencrypted) GoGo wifi service on the plane. As my interest was purely curiosity, I used a tool that just lists the names of the websites that people are visiting. So what are people doing on the Internet at 36,000 feet?