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
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
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
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
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)
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
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.
Summer is a great time to get away, but empty homes can be a magnet for thieves and trouble. Studies show that burglaries happen more often in the summer than in the winter, a number that makes sense considering windows or doors often left open to let in the warm breezes and fresh air and homes left empty for days or weeks as homeowners enjoy their vacations.
New technologies that only require the use of devices with internet access in the home that communicate with smart phones are making a big difference, though, by alerting homeowners to potential problems as they occur or even stopping them before damage is done.
Check out these ideas you can integrate into your own home.
Kristy CooperWhat do I need to protect my home while I’m away?
Ignoring emails from financiers in Kenya promising shipments of gold is pretty easy. But when an email arrives from a business you work with, a close friend, or colleague asking you to click on a link about your job, your account, or this weekend’s party, what do you do? Over the years, phishing emails have matured from obvious, laughable scams to sophisticated emails that cleverly conceal their deception while seeming to come from trusted sources. And no matter how smart or savvy we get about them, they just keep on coming. In fact, according to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG), phishing attacks in 2016 shattered all previous years’ records with a 65% increase from 2015 and a 5,753% increase over the past 12 years.
Phishing scams work by tricking you into clicking on a link or attachment that can infect your computer or take you to a website that looks real, but isn’t, and can steal your private information. According to the APWG, 100,000 new phishing attacks get reported every month, and thousands of people fall for them.
Kristy CooperUnderstanding email phishing & how to outsmart it
A few weeks ago, legislation was signed into law that made changes to internet privacy. The new law may allow Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to sell customer internet use data. Prior to this legislation being signed, the law required that ISPs transparently disclose private data collection and sales, prohibiting them from selling customer data to 3rd parties, and requiring that ISP consumers opt in to the collection of their private financial or browsing history data.
According to DSLReports, the vote to dismantle the rules is seen as a massive win for giant ISPs; especially as those like AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast now realize new massive advertising income potential by selling their customer’s private internet use data.
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