online security Tag

Secrecy, Privacy, and Ephemerality in Social Media

Picture 9-11-2014In a world where millions of people post every thought, photograph, or video to our social media profiles, we have effectively given up our privacy. And yet we still cling to the idea of privacy, even if that just means setting some sort of limit to the people who see all the things we’re posting for everyone else to see. Social media security has been a hot-button issue for this reason and over the course of the past couple of years, there have been a large number of breaches and hacks where social media users’ information has been compromised. I’ve talked before about hacks that affected Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat, but these are not the only social media networks and apps that have had breaches in their security.

Back in June, the simplistic social media app Yo was hacked by three college students, who were able to get the phone numbers and contacts of every Yo user as well as being able to send them false messages that appeared to be from other users. Considering Yo was developed in merely eight hours, it wasn’t a huge surprise that there were security issues, but what’s disturbing is how quickly users latched on to the new hot social media app without considering that their personal information might be at stake. The social network Secret was marketed as the ‘anonymous social network’ but hackers last month were able to find an easy way to make it a lot less anonymous.

Though Yo and Secret have issued fixes to these security breaches, as have the larger, more popular social networks, it would not be crazy to say that our faith in social network security is waning. Facebook is making efforts to change things; they acquired a cybersecurity start-up company called PrivateCore last month in an effort to help protect the data of Facebook users. However, with the state of social media privacy and security still unsure, there are other things people and social networks are turning to (including Facebook).

Ephemerality is the nature of apps like Snapchat, Bolt, Slingshot, and plenty of similar social media applications. The idea here is to ensure some manner of privacy by making messages, photos, and videos only appear temporarily before being deleted forever. Recently, Facebook began testing their own new ephemeral feature, which will allow users to use a ‘Choose Expiration’ function. This feature will give posts a life expectancy from anywhere between an hour and a week. Thus far, this feature has only been available to a small set of users operating Facebook for iOS and it is unclear what the future of the feature may be.

Blippy Users’ Credit Card Numbers Found on Google Search

While shopping online has become second nature to many, it is still very risky. Last week a number of Blippy – a social networking service that allows users to share what online purchases they’ve made with friends – users’ credit card numbers were exposed in Google search results. 

Blippy users who share their bank account information have done so with the assumption that this information will remain confidential. However, more than 125 users had their bank accounts breached. (more…)

Facebook Users Get Free Security

14736_229135845249_220342685249_4727313_2980373_nIn today’s economy, there is nothing like the word ‘free’.  And when it comes to your own security, you can’t pass it up.  Facebook has teamed up with McAfee security, one of the world leaders in computer safety, to offer a free six month subscription to McAfee’s security software to all of Facebook’s 350+ million users.  And if users decide they want to continue their software after their subscription ends, they’ll be offered a special discount.

It’s a big move on both Facebooks & McAfee’s part.  McAfee’s say’s they are giving software that costs about $35 on the site.  If you take that and multiply it by 350 million, that’s just less than $12.25 billion dollars before tax. (more…)

Google May Leave China

google-china-608It seems like the world’s most used search engine, maybe leaving the country with the most people.  Google announced late Tuesday afternoon, that after much thought the company is working closely with the Chinese government but may close down it’s website in the country very soon.

“The decision to review our business operations in China has been incredibly hard,” said Google’s David Drummond, “and we know that it will have potentially far-reaching consequences. We want to make clear that this move was driven by our executives in the United States, without the knowledge or involvement of our employees in China who have worked incredibly hard to make Google.cn the success it is today.” (more…)

FBI Warns Social Media Users

cyber_crimeA new report out by the FBI, is warning users of the popular social networking sites, Facebook and Twitter that thieves are only one click away.  The report says there are becoming more and more cyber-thieves on social networking sites, which can provide them with a whole slough a personal information.  Nearly 3,200 hijacked accounts have been reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, and thousands more are expected to be unreported since 2006. 

The center which is an alliance between the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center was established as a place “to serve as a means to receive Internet related criminal complaints and to further research, develop, and refer the criminal complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement and/or regulatory agencies for any investigation they deem to be appropriate.” (more…)

Google Health Announces New Improvements, Raises Old Concerns

It was only a matter of time before our medical records and medical histories teamed up with the internet. And not surprisingly, Google led the way with their Google Health beta program.

Launched in May 2008 to the public, the program is intended to offer users more control over the management of their medical records and other medical dealings. To that end, Google Health allows users to keep prescriptions and test results in a more organized and accessible format. And perhaps the most prominent feature is that users can now import all (or some) of their medical records into their account.

Signing up simply requires a general Google account. Seeing as the hallmark of many Google programs is their user-friendly nature, Google Health doesn’t disappoint. Logging into your Health account just requires your general Google account password.

Offering the edge on real-time medical information, the latest update to Google Health is new software allowing personal medical devices to stream data directly into your account.
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