Thursday, October 08, 2015

Internet and Smartphone Privacy and Security

Internet security laws in Canada (an across the globe) are evolving in response to developments in technology, software, and abuses and hacking. 

Digital Privacy Act Canada
Protect yourself by knowing your rights.

Cyberbullying laws Canada
Note the potential for serious charges for committing cyber crimes. 

Internet hoaxes
Most hoaxes are harmless, but the spread of misinformation occurs far more quickly now than in pre-internet days.  Don’t be a part the problem.  If a news story, image or video that finds its way into your Facebook or Twitter newsfeed seems hard to believe, it may in fact be false or faked.  A good website to verify potential hoaxes is Snopes:

Internet fraud
If you suspect fraud or are the victim of fraud on the net report it here.  First search the database to see if what happened to you has already been reported.

A year ago, a hacker leaked nude selfies stored in the smart phones of Jennifer Lawrence and other young actresses on the internet. People have a reasonable expectation of privacy when using their phones.   What the hacker did is a crime.  At the time of writing, the FBI is still searching for the culprit.    

Smartphone hacks are a relatively new phenomenon and cell phone manufacturers are responding.  Android phones are at greatest risk at present, mainly because they’re the most popular (like Windows vs Mac).  iphones are subject to the fewest risks also because of Apple’s tight control on apps and services. 

The biggest risk to privacy remains loss or theft of your cell phone.  (The finder can access your texts, emails and photos.)  Don’t leave your phone unattended.  Lock it with a password. If your phone is lost or stolen, report it immediately to your wireless service provider.  Apps are now available to allow you to remotely wipe your phone if it’s lost.  Avoid storing or sharing privileged or sensitive information on your phone.

Linking social media to Smartphones
Linking your email and social media accounts to your smartphone can be a very convenient way to keep on top of your inboxes.  Take precautions and weigh this convenience against the (still relatively small) risk of having a phone hack or infection lead to your computer being hacked or infected too (or vice versa).
Smartphone as Wallet
Using your Smartphone (or computer) to pay for goods and services is in its infancy, but may be more secure than debit cards in some respects.  The article linked above does a great job of examining the various options currently available. 


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