January 28th, 2011 in Consumers, Privacy

Facebook’s new security features

Facebook is often picked on for its hard to navigate and less than effective security features. It’s been called a scammer’s paradise. Even using the wifi at the local café could compromise your account.

Thankfully, Facebook is rolling out some new security features to make your account safer.

The best new feature is the availability of secure browsing using HTTPS. To use encrypted HTTPS protocol, go to ‘Account Settings’ > ‘Account Security’ > ‘Secure Browsing’. This keeps your login information safe, although browsing might be a little slower.

Another new feature is what Facebook calls ‘social authentication’ – verifying your identity by asking you to identify your friends in photos.

Mark Zuckerburg’s profile may have been hacked recently, but hopefully with these new features, yours won’t be.

Read more about Facebook’s new security features: Facebook to offer secure connection, better authentication

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August 23rd, 2010 in Consumers, Privacy

How Secure Is Your Online Information?

Is your online data really secure? As we increasingly use the Internet to manage personal information, the stakes are getting higher for ensuring you have a strong enough password.

A new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology, reported by CNN, has found that the safest passwords should contain at least 12 characters. At 12 characters, according to researchers, it would take hackers 17,134 years to crack you data.

“The researchers recommend 12-character passwords — as opposed to those with 11 or, say, 13 characters — because that number strikes a balance between ‘convenience and security.’”

What’s even better than 12-character passwords? Full sentences. While this isn’t an option for many sites yet, researchers claim full sentence passwords are the best way for users to protect their online data from hackers of all types.

What do you do to increase security for your online accounts? Have you had any problems with security? Let us know in the comments.

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July 21st, 2010 in Consumers, Government, News, Privacy

38 State Attorney Generals Investigate Google Street View – Where’s WI?

Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is leading attorney generals from 37 other states in an investigation of Google’s Street View software.

Blumenthanl says in a release, “Google’s responses continue to generate more questions than they answer. Our powerful multistate coalition — 38 states so far — is demanding that Google reveal whether it tested Street View software, which should have revealed that it was collecting payload data.”

The release does not disclose all 38 states participating because some state laws prevent disclosure of investigations. Blumenthal, however, says his office is seeking permission to disclose the other states. Those listed include:

New York
North Carolina
Rhode Island

The issue of consumer privacy is important to Wired Wisconsin, and we applaud those states that are working to ensure people’s privacy is protected. Why has Wisconsin Attorney General JB Van Hollen not signed on to participate in the investigation? Technology growth is key to developing Wisconsin’s economy and is also dependent on consumer’s trust that their private content is being protected.  Committing to this investigation would be a key step in sending the message to Wisconsin residents that their privacy is valued and protected.

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February 26th, 2010 in Privacy

Please Rob Me!

The internet is a wonderful place, allowing us to easily connect with friends and family, but it also leaves those who aren’t careful vulnerable to harmful strangers.  The website: pleaserobme.com highlights how people can provide too much information about their whereabouts.  Using information from Foursquare and Twitter, Pleaserobme.com collects posts like “@Houston_Scott left home and checked in about a minute ago: I’m at Bank of America (3811 Washington, at Waugh, Houston). http://4sq.com/6Kw5Uw.” They spotlight the carelessness of those who allow exact addresses of their location to be public.

The creators of the site suggest that they aren’t actually trying to encourage burglaries, but, rather, make a point that people are putting themselves at danger.  As the site’s creator points out when you broadcast where you are “it leaves one place you’re definitely not… home.”

Now, we aren’t advocating that you should be terrified to use the internet, but it is smart to use some common sense to keep your privacy.  Just as you avoid walking alone in the city at 3 am or lock your front door, it’s a good idea to protect yourself online too.   

Check out: http://pleaserobme.com/

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February 18th, 2010 in Privacy

What’s the Buzz about Privacy Concerns?

Google Buzz is the new social network created by Google.  It allows users to share links, videos, and pictures with friends.  While many Gmail users have enjoyed this fun, new feature, others were worried that it might violate consumer privacy rights. 

One area of concern was that Buzz accounts automatically followed those who the user emailed and instant messaged most often.  Another problem was it automatically publically shared any pictures on Picasa, Google’s picture software.

After criticism from users, Google has made a number of changes.  Instead of automatically following other users, now Google only suggests people to follow.  It also does not make Picasa pictures public automatically.  Users can even remove Buzz completely from their Gmail accounts.

We want to know what you think.  Have you tried Google Buzz?  Do you think the changes they made created enough privacy protections?

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