Tagged: Mobile Devices

Cellphones, Facebook, Email: Booming Trends Among Seniors, Despite Online Security Concerns

The older generation is increasingly embracing technology to stay connected and remain independent, but technology can be intimidating for some seniors due to fears associated with people having access to personal information. As this article in The Tennessean points out, “computer use among Americans age 65 and older has doubled in the past 10 years, and Internet usage among that age group has more than tripled. Nearly half of people age 75 and older own a cellphone. Seniors are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.”

Not-So-Hot Part About Wifi Hotspots: Free Wifi May Cost You Plenty

Check out this article and video from a CBS news affiliate in Atlanta, which shares the “not-so-hot part about WiFi hotspots,” and why unencrypted devices are easy for hackers to crack. Check out the video for a glimpse of people working “triple-fisted” at the café (that would be working at a table with a smartphone, laptop, and a tablet). Also hear why a security expert thinks public hotspots are now easier than ever for hackers to infiltrate, thanks to tools like Firesheep.

Senator Quizzes Apple, Google, Microsoft Over Consumer Privacy Rights

Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal has asked executives at Apple, Google, Nokia, Blackberry maker Research in Motion, Skyhook, and Microsoft about how they collect data from private wireless networks to create maps of WiFi service. Citing privacy concerns, Blumenthal wrote in the letter that “attempting to document the locations of personal wireless networks in individuals’ homes without their knowledge or consent raises issues of what constitutes a reasonable expectation of privacy for an ordinary citizen.” This article on Bloomberg.com explains more about the Senator’s issues, as well as other wireless news affecting the big search and smartphone providers.

Android Smartphone Users: Avoid Public Wifi Networks

Three computer researchers say they have discovered a major privacy flaw with Android smartphones that may lead to attacks over unencrypted WiFi networks. This article on CNN points out that “users of Android devices running versions 2.3.3 and below could be susceptible to attack when they are connected to unencrypted WiFi networks. Anyone else on that network could gain access to, modify or delete Android users’ calendars, photos, and contacts.” Just 3% of Android users have the latest versions of the operating system, but a Google spokesperson says the company is working on fixing the problems for all users.

Five Ways the FTC Hopes to Protect Your Privacy on Mobile Devices

The Federal Trade Commission recently had a meeting with Congress to explain how it is protecting consumers’ privacy on mobile devices. The FTC said it is working to create solutions that protect consumers without stifling technology innovations, but what exactly does that mean for the millions of smartphone and tablet users out there? Check out five highlights from the testimony you need to know.

Survey: 75% of Top Apps Lack Privacy Policies

A new report shows that 22 of the top 30 paid mobile apps lack even a basic privacy policy. The creators of the Future of Privacy Forum survey even downloaded a sample of the paid apps to determine whether they would get to see a policy at any point during the download processs. This article on MediaPost.com says a privacy policy is “the essential first step for companies to take to be accountable for their practices of collecting and using online data.”

Outdated Privacy Laws Need to Be Changed, Computer Expert Warns

Back in 1986 – when Facebook founder Mark Zuckerbeg was two years old – Congress passed the Electronic Communications Privacy Act. It enacted guidelines for when law-enforcement investigators needed to search data stored on a computer. The 1986 ECPA has not really been updated at all since. It does not address social networks like Facebook, Skype, or Twitter, nor does it deal with smartphone security. This essay on The Huffington Post points out that “what’s really frightening is that the Justice Department is asking Congress not to update the law. Law enforcement likes that most of our electronic communications are offered only feeble privacy protections.”

Apple iPhone Doesn’t Track Location, Google Android Does, Says Steve Jobs

Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs claims the iPhone does not track user location. He instead casts the blame on Google, saying the search giant tracks those who have an Android phone. In an email exchange quoted in The Guardian, Jobs responds to a question about whether Google tracks users or not by saying, “Oh yes they do. We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false.”

Laptops, Mobile Devices Cited in ‘Overwhelming Number’ of Medical Data Breaches

A niche medical news site, ihealthbeat.org, suggests that federal health IT officials should address the prevalence of health data breaches that result from “unencrypted data at rest,” such as information stored on laptops, mobile devices, and USB drives. An overwhelming number of breaches are caused by thefts or losses of this unencrypted data, according to government reports cited in the article.

Does Geotagging ‘Creepy’ App Signal End to Photo-Sharing Privacy?

An article on a site called Thinq says a new geolocation information aggregator “aims to gather public information on a targeted individual via social networking services in order to pinpoint their location. It’s remarkably efficient at its job, even in its current early form, and certainly lives up to its name when you see it in use for the first time.” The article points out that although Twitter’s geolocation setting is optional, images shared via a smartphone records the location information anyway and “Creepy finds these photos, downloads them, and extracts the location data.”

mobile apps

Smartphone Safety and Tax Apps

Filing your taxes? There’s an app for that. Actually, there are a few apps for that. These days time is a precious commodity and the ability to file your taxes through your Smartphone seems like a dream come true. You are now able to snap a picture of your W-2 with your Smartphone, have the information automatically entered and then submitted to the federal government. It doesn’t get much easier than that. Convenience though, often goes hand in hand with a lower level of security and these Smartphone apps are no exception. In order to understand the risks of using these apps one must look at just what is available, what the risks of usage are, and how to protect oneself.