Is Your Smart Home Tracking You?

Is Your Smart Home Tracking You?

Who’s tracking you?

According to CBC News, Smart TV maker Vizio is paying out 2.2 million dollars to the US Federal Trade Commission and other authorities. The reason? They tracked what viewers were watching without consent. Users of their “Smart Interactivity” feature unknowingly sacrificed privacy in exchange for automatic suggestions based on viewing habits.

Imagine turning on the TV to watch the big game. You turn up the thermostat and grab a cold drink from the fridge. The game is in overtime, and the referee just made a bad call.

With smart new appliances connected in the Internet of Things (IoT), every move you’ve just made could be tracked and shared … from grabbing a brew to yelling at the ref.

And we don’t even notice it. We expect Google to track our searches. However, we don’t think about companies collecting data from our kids x-box, the thermostat, or the fridge.

With mics on Televisions accepting voice commands, even what we say in our homes will be picked up…. think about that one for a sec.

New High-Tech Credit Card Scam Alert – Shimmers

New High-Tech Credit Card Scam Alert – Shimmers

Thieves have come up with yet another way to scam our credit cards. Law enforcement are finding slim plastic cards with electronics inside POS (point of sale) terminals. We were concerned before by skimmers where waiters could quickly scan your credit card into a pager sized device on their belt. Now we have shimmers which you cannot see inside the credit card machines.


5 Social Media Privacy Tips for Business and Pleasure

5 Social Media Privacy Tips for Business and Pleasure

Do you use social media for business, pleasure, or both?  Many treat platforms like Facebook and Instagram as big popularity contests.  Amassing huge numbers of followers can be personally exhilarating – whether you want to feel like a rock star or build out a business.  However, it can also expose you to personal risk.

For example, even if you share posts and photos only with people you know and trust, those connections may not always cultivate awareness about sharing your information with others.  And even after you delete posts, others will still have access and the ability to keep sharing.  This is true on almost every social media platform.  

In general, it’s best to assume that anything you ever share has the potential to be seen by anyone, anywhere.

Being aware of how things are shared and what privacy settings are available can help you get the most out of your favorite platforms while staying safe and safeguarding your safety, privacy, and reputation.

How Safe Is Your Data From Ransomware?

How Safe Is Your Data From Ransomware?

It announces its presence with a giant screensaver announcing that ALL your files are completely locked up.  And in 72 hours the perpetrator will throw away the key.

Or you suddenly view a “surveillance” webcam-selfie with an official warning that you’re wanted by the FBI.  A message demands payment of a fine if you ever want to use your computer again.

Welcome to Ransomware

Ransomware is a newer form of cyberattack that can:

  • encrypt your files
  • freeze your computer screen
  • storm you with pop-ups
  • and literally hold all your precious data for ransom.

It vows to return everything to normal after you pay up.  But of course, it’s run by criminal cyber gangs, and they don’t necessarily keep their promises.

The New BlackBerry – Why Outsourcing The Hardware May Be Their Best Move

The New BlackBerry – Why Outsourcing The Hardware May Be Their Best Move

According to the latest announcements, the struggling BlackBerry is now outsourcing its hardware production.  You might think that’s counter-intuitive – because the hardware was great.  It’s what made them different (hello, easy-to-use QWERTY keyboards).

When the iOS and Android devices took over the market, Blackberry seemed to fade out of sight.  According to comScore, their share of smartphone subscribers in the mobile market dropped to only 0.9% last year.

What went wrong? BlackBerry’s nearly fatal flaw in the mobile market was in the software. The company never jumped on the app craze which helped iOS and Android shine.  So … why get rid of the hardware?

According to the latest announcements, BlackBerry plans to concentrate on the part of software they do best – security.

Data breaches such as Dropbox and LinkedIn

The data breach for Dropbox hitting the news today occurred 4 years ago (in 2012). The reason it is hitting the news now is the information was recently leaked out into the open through the dark web. It includes 68 million Dropbox accounts but also 117 million from a 2012 LinkedIn breach as well. Since 2012, Dropbox has been proactively forcing password resets. Therefore even if someone managed to recover account information from the 2012 hack, they wouldn’t be able to access the accounts. If you haven’t yet changed your password since prior to mid-2012, you are obviously urged to do so immediately. On that note, you should be updating your passwords on a regular basis as 4 years is way too long to be using the same one for reasons such as this. Dropbox handled this breach very well. They were proactive and mitigated a huge amount of risk to their users.

Where is this hacked information leaked?

It appears on the dark web. I explain what is the darknet in a prior article.

How do I manage all my passwords?

There are several techniques I share in earlier posts which include password tips and considering a vault such as LastPass

Also here are 12 fraud awareness tips to protect yourself online