Redefining privacy in these modern times

What defines privacy is constantly evolving in these modern times. Smart phones, live streaming video chats, family safety tracking apps and smart home devices have made life much easier. But the flip side of these devices mean that GPS location tracking, microphones and cameras accessible via most any wireless devices have made “living off the grid” an impossibility. Reasonable expectations of privacy have become the subject of debates ranging from our nation’s highest courtrooms to the family kitchen table.

As you read this article, for instance, there are currently 2,000 satellites orbiting in the skies above us. By 2025 as many as 1,100 satellites could be launching each year, including SpaceX’s Starlink plans to add 12,000 small satellites by 2027. These satellites are being created and launched to provide everything from weather monitoring to global GPS positioning to boosting internet accessibility and taking pictures of every angle of the Earth.

Kristy CooperRedefining privacy in these modern times
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How to protect your home wireless network

We are living in an age of data breaches, security hacks, social media shenanigans and all sort of online threats that can make anyone worry about their security. Businesses have their own solutions, but what about our homes? Home wireless networks deserve attention, too, as they are just as vulnerable to security risks. That’s why we’re sharing these actions you can take to protect your home wireless network for a safer, stress-free online experience.

What is a home wireless network?

First, let’s define what we’re talking about. A home wireless network is composed of the computers, gaming stations, phones and other devices that are wirelessly connected to your internet router.

Kristy CooperHow to protect your home wireless network
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How to avoid and block robocalls and fake neighbor calling

Robocalls. Fake neighbor spoofing. Cell phone spam. Whatever you call them, these types of illegal calls are getting worse, and definitely getting more annoying. In fact, according to YouMail’s Robocall Index, last month Americans received 4.4 billion robocalls during just that month. That breaks down to 145 million per day, or 6 million per hour, or 1,700 calls per second. In addition to the inconvenience, robocalls also pose a danger to those who fall prey to fraudulent scams that attempt to invade people’s privacy and often their bank accounts.

While registering on the “Do Not Call Registry” was an initial solution that helped a little, lately it doesn’t seem to matter how careful you are, they still get through. In fact, it’s gotten so bad that the U.S. government is taking action.

Kristy CooperHow to avoid and block robocalls and fake neighbor calling
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How AT&T plans to use private customer info you may not be aware of

If you use AT&T, they are probably aware that you are reading this article right now, where you are reading it, what you click on before and after you read it, and storing all of that information to use in targeted marketing and advertising later on. It’s not just AT&T, either, but we’re sharing this info with you after a recent profile of AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in Fortune magazine in which he openly laid out the mega-company’s plan to profile and target customers for advertising.

AT&T has transformed itself into a media colossus by buying Time Warner, adding to its incredible array of content from holdings including HBO, CNN, TNT, and others in combination with a huge distribution network across mobile broadband, DirecTV, and U-verse. Stephenson shared his vision of permanent, across-the-board surveillance of all those customers for extremely targeted – and personal – advertising.

Kristy CooperHow AT&T plans to use private customer info you may not be aware of
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Best parental control apps for monitoring kids’ smartphones

If your kids have smartphones, you know that it’s a full-time job trying to keep track and control their usage. According to recently released data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), 94% of 15-year-olds have a mobile phone, 86% of minors are on the internet without any content filtering systems, and 28% to 38% of minors access unsafe or harmful content with those rates escalating as they get older.

Parental-control apps have made monitoring and protecting children much easier these days, giving you the ability to track locations, block objectionable or dangerous websites, restrict access to social media or games, and monitor who kids are communicating with. In the long run, these apps can also help children to develop good habits for how they use smartphones as they grow up.

Kristy CooperBest parental control apps for monitoring kids’ smartphones
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Softcom policy on Chinese telecom equipment protects customers

There has been a lot of concern recently about telecommunications companies building their networks with gear made by Chinese telecommunications companies – namely, Huawei and ZTE. The concern centers around the Chinese government installing backdoors in the equipment to spy on users of the equipment. The equipment may be inexpensive, but the cost to security has been high, to the point that President Trump is considering signing an executive order to ban Chinese equipment from U.S. telecom networks.

Kristy CooperSoftcom policy on Chinese telecom equipment protects customers
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What is the FaceTime bug and how it affects iPhone users

The news went viral this week when a FaceTime bug was discovered that made it possible to listen in on, or even see someone, during a Group FaceTime call, even if the person receiving the call didn’t pick up. There’s a temporary fix in place, with a permanent solution promised by Apple to be coming next week. Meanwhile, here’s how this happened, and what you should do.

Kristy CooperWhat is the FaceTime bug and how it affects iPhone users
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How to tell if you’re a victim of a phishing scam (and what to do)

Tis the season for lots of emails sharing news of sales, specials and fantastic deals. But are they all on the up-and-up? It’s easy to overlook phishing emails, and possible you might accidently click on a link that could cause trouble. If you’re suspicious – good! A healthy dose of distrust can be healthy, especially when dealing with emails and texts you’re just not sure about.

What exactly is phishing?

Email phishing tricks readers into clicking on links that either download malicious software to their computer, or capture user names, passwords and other personal information to illegally access personal or financial accounts.

Kristy CooperHow to tell if you’re a victim of a phishing scam (and what to do)
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How Facebook’s recent hacks affect us all

Stolen passwords, illegal hacks, election fraud – this may sound like a crime drama, but what we’re really talking about here is a short list of Facebook’s recent troubles. With more than 2.23 billion monthly active Facebook users around the world, even if you’re not using Facebook it’s very likely that someone in your home or part of your family is. And the troubles that Facebook has been going through highlight the importance of protecting your information no matter what you do online.

Kristy CooperHow Facebook’s recent hacks affect us all
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How to create strong passwords

Breaking news about hacking attacks and network breaches just keep rolling in – Equifax, Yahoo!, MyFitnessPal, the list goes on. We’ve become accustomed to seeing these breaches in the news regarding large companies, but what about your own security? Obviously, this is an important issue that everyone needs to address, and a great place to start is by taking a good look at your own password behaviors.

A recent research project called The Psychology of Passwords paints a scary picture showing that the main cause of network breaches and hacked accounts is, to put it bluntly, due to consumer disinterest in creating and maintaining safe password habits.

Kristy CooperHow to create strong passwords
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