Weekly News #6

Weekly News #6

Facebook privacy issues

Smart homes are not so smart when it comes to protecting privacy. WhatsApp gets hacked by Israeli spies. Intel notifies customers about security flaws with chipNew regulations hint companies toward having better data management. Australian data breach affects 10 million civilians.

Smart Homes: Not so Smart

Smart homes definitely reduce effort and make life easier, but it comes at a cost. You and your family’s privacy is put at risk because of the trade-off between productivity and safety.

One of the most popular forms of a smart home is the digital assistant. Google Home and Alexa are the major players in this area. These devices are continuously listening for “activation” words or phrases and thus, your entire conversation history is saved in their server. As a result, many scary and embarrassing stories have surfaced, and yes, even from Amazon and Google products. 

If consumers do their part and take the necessary security steps, they should be able to enjoy the benefits of their smart home without paying a price. Here are some ways you can secure your smart home:

  • Review and delete your voice history from time to time.
  • Secure your network.
  • Change your wake or activation word or phrase.
  • Delete old recordings.
  • Strengthen your passwords.

Do everything you can to secure your home from being vulnerable to attacks.

WhatsApp Gets Hacked

WhatsApp, an app used by millions of people worldwide, has been compromised. On Tuesday, an Israeli spy firm injected malware into targeted phones to steal data, by simply placing a call. Recipients did not even need to answer the call. What’s worse, the call could not be traced in the log. The company states that only a select few have been affected, as they don’t know the exact number.

Intel Chip Suffers Security Flaws

In other news, Intel, also known as the worldwide computer chip maker, has just notified the world about a security flaw that can essentially prove to be harmful to millions of PCs. Attackers are able to get their hands on any data that a victim’s processor touches. Not scary at all.

New Regulations Call for Better Data Management

With privacy laws such as the GDPR and CCPA in place, businesses now need to allow for firmer data privacy enforcement. 

Every company we interact with uses our data-from The Weather Network to IBM. “The companies used the data to calibrate advertising campaigns to potential customers’ preferences, a type of personalization 90 percent of consumers say they find appealing,” says, Eric Archer-Smith, from BETA News. Although it helps with preferences and marketing, if found in the wrong hands, it could prove to be dangerous. Thus, companies today must find the perfect balance between personalization and privacy when collecting consumer data for analysis.

Australian Data Breach Affects 10 Million Civilians

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) recently reported over 10 million people were hit in a single Australian data breach. Although the report did not specify the origin of the breach that affected these people, the breach was disclosed to be between January 1, 2019, and March 31, 2019. Furthermore, private health was yet again the most affected sector.

 

Weekly News #5

Weekly News #5

Facebook privacy issues
It’s Privacy Awareness week! This year, the theme is how ‘protecting privacy is everyone’s responsibility’. Google is trying to fix their privacy blunders even though experts are not impressed, while Amazon is still making the same blunders as before. Beware Canada, a rise in data breaches prompts significant warning. Canadian wireless carrier, Freedom Mobile, exposed for leaking 15,000 of their customers’ data.
Google wants us to know they have changed. They are emphasizing privacy like never before. For example, they are enhancing existing and adding new features.

A lot of their new moves are straight out of Apple’s playbook, such as:

  • On-device machine learning
  • Better in-app privacy controls
  • More control over websites tracking them with cookies
  • Incognito mode on Google Search and Maps

Not to mention, by reducing the cost of their hardware, they have an upper hand over Apple’s costlier hardware.

However, with their announcement on how they plan to give people more privacy control, experts are not very impressed. Ad-blocker company, Ghostery, says these changes are more to save face and less to save consumer privacy. These are marginal improvements, as they may be ignoring larger problems associated with consumer data privacy.

Regardless, Google’s new privacy features put the responsibility on users. They recently announced Android Q, its latest mobile OS, combined with 50 privacy and security features, including enhanced location tracking controls. Additionally, Google users can now set time limits for how long Google retains a certain type of information.

While Google is trying to make up for its data sins, Amazon is still making the same mistakes. Amazon Echo’s kid version, Echo Dot Kids, has been accused of tracking kids data without consent. Complaints have been filed to the Federal Trade Commission urging investigations are made. “We urge the FTC to investigate Amazon’s violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) for the safety and privacy of American children”.

Specifically, in Canada, the BC Office for the Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Better Business Bureau are warning individuals and companies to do a better job protecting their personal data. Last year, online shopping scams reached a whopping 3.5 million across Canada. “People get caught in the excitement to capitalize on a sale, grab that risk-free trial or purchase the last item before it goes out of stock and ends up jeopardizing their privacy.”

That being said, a Freedom mobile data breach has hit 15000 customers. They were warned by researchers days before the breach, but Freedom responded only after the warnings. Luckily, they found no evidence leading them to believe data has been misused and they are now “conducting a full forensic investigation to determine the full scope of impact”.

With privacy awareness week upon us, now is a great time to stay informed on the best tools to help your business remain full-proof in terms of data breaches and privacy protection.