Adobe was just hacked to the tune of 2.9 million customers’ data, including full names, encrypted credit or debit card numbers and their expiration dates, and other customer order information.
Adobe Chief Security Officer Brad Arkin started a blog post about the incident by explaining that “Cyber attacks are one of the unfortunate realities of doing business today.” He’s right. No company, no matter how trusted or established, can guarantee that they won’t lose, abuse, or misuse people’s data. Data breaches happen all the time, and they always will.
But there’s a trick to beating data breaches: don’t give websites real personal information. Consumers using disposable, or masked, info instead won’t be screwed when the inevitable hack happens.
[Were you hacked but aren't using masked info yet? Check out the 4 things you should do right now to protect yourself.] Read More
Graphic designer Sang Mun introduced a privacy font to thwart the NSA this week, called ZXX.
The font has several styles, the most promising of which is called False. False hides its true message in tiny letters scattered inside big letters. In theory, text scanners would only pick up the big letters, and thus nonsense text, while the real words go undetected.
We downloaded the ZXX font pack and wrote out the message “This is what privacy looks like” using it below:
On his website, Mun writes:
This physical, mental, and technological growing invasion of privacy and surveillance dehumanizes us. The militarization of cyberspace must stop. If not, it’s only a matter of time before we live in a Tectologic Orwellian Society. . . This project will not fully solve the problems we are facing now, but hopefully will raise some peculiar questions.
We need more people out there like Mun thinking creatively about how to fix this whole “lack of privacy” problem. It’s multi-faceted, and it’s going to take work from people in a lot of different fields–design, law, engineering, politics, and more–to improve things.
People say that there’s a relevant xkcd for everything in life. The webcomic, written by Randall Munroe, has even tackled privacy:
None of these privacy personality types really apply to us: we’d be more like “Optimistic Realists.” We see that privacy is under serious threat, but we think it’s a problem that technology can fix. Not one piece of technology can fix everything, but a lot of work by a lot of brilliant people tackling a lot of different problem areas can. You may not be able to stop NSA surveillance outright yet, but you can at least make yourself a harder target.
What about you? What’s your privacy personality type?
Identity theft has become an ever-worsening issue surrounding online and in-person transactions, and the Identity Theft movie with Melissa McCarthy and Jason Bateman, while parodying the issue, still illustrated how awful it can be when it happens to you. While many experts discuss what to look for once you’ve become a victim of identity theft, we’re focusing on what you can do to prevent identity theft from happening in the first place. Read on for 6 tips to stop thieves from ever getting your info. Read More
This article was originally published on VentureBeat.
If you’re like me, the idea of knowing what’s in your genetic profile is both fascinating and scary. Everything from your ancestry to your likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s to how quickly your body processes caffeine is in your genes, just waiting to be uncovered. And the company 23andMe can do just that with only a sample of your spit.
It’s the stuff of science fiction (watched Gattaca recently?), but it’s already here. That’s why I wanted to try out 23andMe as soon as I heard about it…but waited until I had the privacy tools to pull it off pseudonymously.
Let me explain why I didn’t want 23andMe to know who I was. First, there’s the obvious. I admit I care deeply about privacy, but even if you don’t, you have to admit there’s something unsettling about a massive company–and potentially the government–knowing your entire genetic code, especially if you don’t yet know what it contains.
You’ve probably caught at least some of the NSA news this summer. One big takeaway from the surveillance revelations is that private companies have to turn over customer information when the government asks. Customer information is whatever the company collects about you: emails, phone calls…and yes, even your genetic code. Read More