Archives: Privacy Tips

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Privacy Tip #256 – COVID-19 Scams Continue to Plague U.S. Public

It has been widely reported that hackers are taking advantage of the pandemic to perpetrate scams and frauds. We have seen attacks against workers of companies through phishing emails that include an attachment or link offering information or access to specialized treatment for COVID-19 to lure people to click on them. Once they click on … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #255 – Federal Agencies Warn of Online Predators’ Access to Children During Pandemic

Late last week, October 9, 2020, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York issued a warning to the public entitled “Internet Predators: Warnings & Prevention for Families During the Pandemic and Beyond”  which is a must read for parents, teachers, families, and frankly, everyone. Warning: it is a scary read in … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #254 – FBI Issues Warning of Using Hotel WiFi if Teleworking from Hotel

On October 6, 2020, the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) issued a warning to consumers about using WiFi when teleworking from a hotel. The FBI acknowledges that many workers are having difficulty working from home during the pandemic due to a host of issues. According to the FBI, “U.S. hotels, predominantly in major cities, have … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #253 – Unemployment Fraud Claims Are Skyrocketing—What to Do if You Are a Victim?

I have received many questions this week on what to do if you are the victim of a fraudulent unemployment claim. It is unbelievable how many people I know who have become victims—yes—including myself. It is disturbing that all of these fraudulent unemployment claims include the use of our full Social Security numbers. The other … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #252 – Deepfakes Easy to Make and Can Be Used to Microtarget Specific Groups

It is sometimes surprising how gullible well-intentioned folks are, and how we all can be manipulated by social media. That is the basic conclusion of researchers at the University of Amsterdam’s School of Communications Research and Institute of Information Law, who recently completed a study on “deepfakes.” Deepfakes are audio and video recordings that have … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #251 – DOJ Charge Four Men with Defrauding Thousands of Senior Citizens in Mail Schemes

The Department of Justice recently indicted four men—two of whom are located in Canada and two in New York—for a mass-mailing scheme that bilked thousands of senior citizens out of tens of millions of dollars. According to the indictments, the accused Canadian fraudsters sent mail to thousands of elderly individuals whose names and addresses they … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #250 – Beware of Vishing

The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently issued an alert warning the public about vishing campaigns [see related post]. Vishing is defined by the FBI as “a form of criminal phone fraud, using social engineering over the telephone system to gain access to private personal and financial … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #249 – Use of Personal Assistants While Working from Home

I continue to be quite surprised at the lack of understanding that people have about personal assistants such as Alexa and Echo. It seems logical to me that when you yell out “Alexa, turn on the lights!” Alexa is using voice recognition technology to recognize your voice for the command and is processing that command … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #248 – Social Media Data Leak Exposes Millions of User Profiles

If you use social media frequently, especially TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, you may want to take note of a recent report by a security research team at Comparitech that an unsecured database has exposed 235 million Instagram, TikTok and YouTube user profiles. The exposed information may have included profile names, real names, profile photos, and … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #247 – TikTok in Multiple Cross Hairs

I have never been a fan of TikTok [view related post]. In general, I do not trust any Chinese technology companies because of the influence and requirements the Chinese government wields over them. The Chinese government has been stealing U.S.-based companies’ intellectual property for decades, has required U.S.-based companies to provide computer code in order … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #245 – Another Breach Notification Letter

This week, I received a breach notification letter from a large financial institution stating that my personal information, including my name, Social Security number, account name and number, contact information, date of birth, and asset information may have been compromised. UGH—that is highly sensitive information. Unfortunately, this is not the first time my personal information … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #244 – Beware of Scammers Posing as Utility Company Employees

The coronavirus pandemic has caused millions of people to lose their jobs and many are struggling to make ends meet, including paying their utility bills. With economic turmoil comes scammers ready to take advantage of heightened anxiety and to prey on individuals when they are the most vulnerable. Recently, scammers have been posing as employees … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #243 – Misconfigured Cloud Exposes Millions of Records of Eleven Dating Sites

Dating sites continue to be the source of compromise of sensitive personal information. Another example of this was discovered recently by security researchers at WizCase, who found that information on millions of users of up to 11 different dating service sites was accessible due to misconfigured cloud storage.  The databases that were discovered included users’ … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #242 – Protecting Children’s Privacy

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) has been on the books for years and is enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). COPPA basically prohibits companies from collecting personal information from children under the age of 13 without parental consent. The FTC has an impressive record of enforcement actions under COPPA and compliance with … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #241 – Who is db851dd?

As you know, I very rarely download mobile apps. Except for a multi-factor authentication app, and of course, the Jumbo privacy app. This week, the Jumbo privacy app advised me that my name, address and email address had been involved in a data breach by db851dd. What the heck is that and how did they … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #240 – Update iPhone OS as Soon as Possible for Jailbreak Zero-Day Vulnerability

We have urged readers in the past to pay attention to the pushes received from mobile phone manufacturers to update operating systems. Although the pushes claim that new features are included, there are also patches included to plug known vulnerabilities. If you keep pushing “later,” and you don’t update as soon as possible, those vulnerabilities … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #237 – Nintendo Users: Change Your Password and Enable MFA

Nintendo has shut down some NNID logins and has told Switch owners to lock down their accounts following a series of fraudulent attacks. Nintendo has confirmed that it suffered an attack by hackers who accessed some accounts and are using PayPal accounts linked to the accounts to purchase items fraudulently. According to Nintendo, approximately 160,000 … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #236 – Foreign Government-Backed Phishing Attacks Pose as Fast Food Chains

Google has warned users in a blog article that nation state-backed hackers are using the COVID-19 crisis to ramp up phishing attempts and, in one example, are posing as American fast food franchises and sending malicious emails with fake offers and coupons to government officials and health care workers. Google has identified over 12 government-backed … Continue Reading

Privacy Tip #234 – Children’s Privacy During the Pandemic

Kids are at home all day now, remote learning and surfing the web more than ever before. Parents are working from home too, and understandably are not always able to monitor and supervise their children’s computer use as much as they should or would like to. Scammers, fraudsters and evil doers know this and are … Continue Reading
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