Nearly everytime we want to gain access to a new online service we are asked to provide basic information. Name, address, town and sometimes phone numbers are requested. Giving bogus information isn’t always the solution because of data checking software at the service provider’s location.
Hopefully, we know by now to never give out any passwords and usernames to random annonymous requesters. This could either be on the phone or somebody asking for information online. There are many scams involving lookalikes sites posing as eBay or Paypal wanting to “verify” your account. You’ve maybe seen such “phishing” attempts clear your email. Many pose as your credit card company, your bank or your Internet Provider.
Sometimes these phishing expeditions take the form of email forwards. There might be a small “bug” encrypted within a novelty photo or animated GIF. Encourage your family and friends to cease and halt the apparently harmless activity of forwarding stuff to you. Many of the “cute” photos and images can literally become viral. If they don’t halt the practice, just don’t open their forwards, delete them right away.
Often, there are attempts to breach your privacy with trojan viri and spyware. This has been a perennial problem that has been addressed often. I’ll mention it anyway in that today is Data Privacy Day. First and foremost, install the best anti-virus you can find and make sure the updates are downloaded and installed ASAP. This is probably the best and most simple way to protect your data aside from the discretionary practices mentioned earlier.
Most anti-virus, anti spyware, firewalls include email scanning as well. I know of a few excellent anti-virus/firewall packages, but the one I’ve had the best experience with is AVG. They’re not paying me to recommend their product. I have never had a single breach of privacy in the three years I’ve used AVG. I can’t say the same thing about the others.
I also want to point out a new threat to users of webcams. A practice called “camfecting” is becoming more common. Usually webcam hacking software installs onto your computer or laptop via the innocent looking photo downloads mentioned earlier. Or someone has gotten past messaging services into your webcam software.
Once installed, the hacker can turn on your webcam anytime for any purpose at all. If your camera has an indicator LED, you’ll know. If your camera works without an indicator, beware. You should probably cover the camera with a Post It note or something. If your cam is on your laptop, simply close the lid whenever you’re not in the room. You should consider having an indicator installed onto your webcam if it is without one.
The main thing to take away from today’s commemoration of Data Privacy Day, is vigilance. Be aware that there are many folks wanting your private information. Don’t be paranoid about that, just be proactive.
The Blue Jay of Happiness has this link for you today: