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Outsmart Your Smart TV: Take Simple Steps to Protect Your Privacy

The smart TV ranks high on the list of holiday bestsellers, and this holiday season was no exception. The popular televisions, which are more like deluxe computers, include internet capability, allow for streaming music and video, interactive media, web browsing, audio commands, and more. Given these perks, you can imagine how this all-in-one television could make an ideal gift. However, the question is just how smart is your smart TV? The answer might frighten you. For all of the reasons that your smart TV is appealing to you, it is also particularly attractive to hackers. Its increased functionality provides them with expanded capabilities to exploit vulnerabilities. As the FBI’s Portland, OR office noted in November, your smart TV’s internet connection makes it a gateway into your private life; your microphone amplifies that passageway for hackers. “At the low end of the risk spectrum, they can change channels, play with the volume, and show your kids inappropriate videos. In a...

Jan 3, 2020

Microsoft Takes Proactive Measures to Fight Cyber Attackers and Protect Customers

Microsoft is seeking to reinforce its cybersecurity, following a recent legal victory against overseas hackers. According to CNBC, the court ruling allowed Microsoft to appropriate 50 domains that hackers used to infiltrate user accounts. “Thallium,” a group of hackers reportedly based in North Korea, used malware to collect and misuse the personal information of thousands of users in America, Japan, and South Korea. The latest pernicious attacks compromised systems and enabled emails, calendar entries, and other password-protected information to remain available to hackers even after users had changed their passwords . Thallium hackers gained access to Microsoft accounts through phishing techniques, in which users are prompted to click on links that appear to be from genuine sources. The fallout from such hacks is substantial, as the malware embedded in the links creates infinite system vulnerabilities. Thallium is not the only group of its kind. Other groups, such as the...

Jan 2, 2020

Instead of Big Brother Watching You, Now You Can Watch Big Brother

The California Consumer Privacy Act may be a beacon of hope for consumers who want to take the reins back from Big Brother. The law is the brainchild of Californians for Consumer Privacy Founder Alastair Mactaggart , who helped fund the ballot initiative that eventually became law. CCPA — which will take effect on Jan. 1 — will offer individuals the right to prevent data collection companies from selling their personal information. It also gives consumers the right to understand how companies plan to use their data and sue in the case of specific violations. The first of its kind, the law may give a green light to other states seeking to avoid the approval quagmire of similar federal privacy initiatives in favor of introducing local efforts. As reported in a recent USA Today article , though the new law gives consumers certain rights, it may not give them the wherewithal to exercise them. For example, under the CCPA, offenders can be fined from $2,500 to $7,500. However, the...

Dec 27, 2019

New Breach Calls Facebook Security Measures Into Question

The security of 29,000 Facebook workers was compromised in November when computer equipment was stolen from an employee’s car. The thief walked away with Facebook 2018 payroll data that included employee names, bank account information, salary, and bonus details, and partial Social Security numbers. “This theft impacts current and former Facebook employees only, and no Facebook user data was involved,” a Facebook spokesperson reported to Business Insider. The data was included on two unencrypted hard drives, which, according to Facebook policy , should never have been removed from the office. Employees were notified of the incident Friday. As is customary with breach incidents, affected workers were offered free subscriptions to identity theft monitoring services. The theft, once again, places a spotlight on Facebook’s security measures, as the social media giant has often been highlighted for data security issues. However, unlike Facebook’s most recent breaches, this incident did...

Dec 16, 2019