Saturday, May 30, 2020

Take Control of Your Digital Life: 7 Ways to Protect Your Privacy

Technology has changed our lives. It’s made our lives more convenient. We can shop for pretty much anything under the sun, order food, talk to loved ones, and even be treated by a doctor, all over the internet. While tech advances have incredible advantages, like everything else, it also comes with a slew of disadvantages. Website hackers are waiting to gain access to your personal information. Malicious online behavior is nothing new, and the hackers are only getting smarter. That’s why data security is so important. Here are 7 ways that you can protect yourself and your identity.

1. Be cautious of phishing

Phishing is one of the most common ways hackers try to get a hold of your personal information. Usually, the hackers will attach a link containing malware or other viruses in an email. Once you click the link, they have access to all of your info. Always be wary of opening email attachments, even if you think you know it’s from a reputable sender.  

2. Remember that incognito mode doesn’t mean you’re invisible

The privacy feature, available on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox may sound secure, but pay attention to the clear warnings. On Chrome, for example, it says, “Going incognito doesn’t hide your browsing from your employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit.” So, it doesn’t help when it comes to data security, but it will prevent anyone using your computer from seeing which sites you visited.

3. Practice safe texting

Signal is an excellent tool for people who want to protect their texts. It’s free, easy to use, and available for iPhone and Android. WhatsApp is another popular chat tool, which uses Signal’s software to encrypt its messaging.

4. Use Strong Passwords

Did you know that 83% of Americans still use weak passwords? According to  Avast Press, it’s a good idea to change your passwords often and pick something more clever than your dog’s name or your birthday.

5. Use a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) lets you surf the internet without anyone tracking your IP address. The good ones aren’t free, but worth the investment in your privacy and data security. You can also use them across all of your devices, like your smartphones, tablets, and

6. Use an encrypted file-sharing software

For anyone who deals with sensitive information on the internet, surely privacy is a top concern. Business owners, doctors, journalists, and lawyers are continually sending files containing their own or their client’s info. Trustwire is one of the easiest and safest ways to send and receive files online. The software uses end-to-end encryption so you can ensure hackers won’t be able to crack the codes to your data.

7. Keep your data backed up

Online backup services like CrashPlan, back up your data and encrypt it at the same time. The backups help protect your photos and documents during a technical malfunction and from ransomware and other malicious attacks.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

FaceApp Lets You Peek Into The Future. Does It Also Violate Your Privacy?

FaceApp is the photo-altering smartphone application that takes one of your photos and 'ages' it by decades. The app works scarily well, and the modified photographs do give users a realistic glimpse of what they could look like in 30 to 40 years, or what they may have looked like as young children. 

The app was created by Wireless Lab of St. Petersburg, Russia, and quickly soared to be amid the top free apps in both the Apple and Android app stores. This could have something to do with the major social media and celeb following. Once A-List celebrities like The Jonas Brothers, Drake, and Chris Hemsworth began shouting out the app on social media, needless to say, the buzz around FaceApp was swarming. 

The Russian hacker jokes are endless. Many influencers have taken to Twitter to poke fun at the fact that Russia now has access to many of our personal photos and potentially our information. While there is no hard evidence that FaceApp is stealing photos and taking them back to Russia for some evil project, there are a couple of privacy issues.

FaceApp And Your Privacy, What You Need To Know

FaceApp's privacy policy and terms and conditions have been raising eyebrows, and growing concerns over cybersecurity and the app are on the steady incline. One clause that stands out is that FaceApp holds extensive rights to its user's photos. Do keep in mind that many other apps do as well, though, and this is the unfortunate "norm" in the world of photo applications. According to Jeremy Gillula, who is a project director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (a nonprofit civil liberties group) does say there is cause for concern. 

According to Gillula, "The fact that a lot of apps and services usually contain this catch-all clause that says you grant us worldwide license to reproduce, modify, adapt, create derivative works from, distribute, publicly perform and display your user content always seems a little over the top to me.  

Is FaceApp Safe To Use?

It's always disheartening when a seemingly fun, harmless smartphone application can create serious concerns surrounding privacy and cybersecurity. Many of the app's young users don't give a second thought to whether or not their information is protected. However, for working professionals, people who own/operate businesses, and anyone who wants to keep their privacy, using FaceApp may not be the best idea. 

Reps from FaceApp have divulged that most of the images uploaded from their serves have a 48-hour lifespan until deleted. They claim to never sell or share user data with third parties; however, in their privacy policy, it does say they reserve the right to share some information. 

This info includes analytic tools to help measure traffic and usage trends, and these are done with third-party organizations. 

All in all, FaceApp most likely isn't using your photos for some kind of world-domination scheme, but you should still be cautious of everything you post on the app.

Trustwire is a browser-based file transfer method. Using the latest end-to-end encryption software, Trustwire guarantees your files will be shared safely with only the rightful recipient. Our free service means no more trips hand-delivering data, worrying about cybersecurity breaches, and knowing the information you divulge to your CPA, lawyer, or doctor remains secure. With Trustwire, you can easily exchange and access files anywhere in the world, and no downloads or installations are required. Are you ready to start surfing the internet securely? Sign up for a free account Trustwire here.

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