GetNetWise

Posts Tagged ‘Privacy’

Keeping Your Web-based Email Safe and Secure

Friday, October 1st, 2010

Many of us use Web-based email services like Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo for personal communications. Many of my most personal and secret conversations are stored in my Web email account. It’s horrifying to think that my email life is a password away from anyone anywhere to access. Most importantly, use passwords that are hard to guess but easy to remember! That said, recently we have seem some pretty clever practices by Web mail companies to make those communications more private and more secure.

Now Hotmail allows users of their Web mail to provide a mobile phone number so that Hotmail can text a password reset code in case you forgot. This is probably more secure than having secret security questions that can be guessed by others. Hotmail also allows users to register “trusted” computers that are recognized by the email service. See this great CNet blog on the subject.

Recently Google’s Gmail has implement a similar mobile phone text reset mechanism. And it also provides a handy tool to find out whether anyone other than you has accessed your Gmail account.The “Last account activity” shows you what what type of device accessed your Gmail (e.g. Browser, Mobile), the IP addresses of the device and when it was accessed. For instance, if the “Last account activity” report says your Gmail was accessed by a mobile device yesterday and you don’t access Gmail on mobile, you may have a problem.  Gmail also alerts you to suspicious behavior on your account. Here is a more thorough blog post on the subject.

All I can say is, Way to go Hotmail and Gmail.

Take control of your data with iAds opt out

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

One of the biggest new features of Apple’s new operating system, iOS 4, is the iAds mobile advertising system. iAds will show you full-screen ads within apps on your iPhone or iPod touch. Like most other advertising these days, iAds are also targeted based on data collected about you from your phone usage – so, for example, if you’re searching for nearby pizza joints, you’ll probably see pizza-related ads. But what if you don’t want iAds to be collecting your personal information to tailor the ads you see?

Fortunately, Apple has provided a quick way to opt out of “interest-based” advertising if you’d prefer not to share your data with iAds. You will still see ads on your device, but they won’t be targeted based on personal information (although they still might be related to the content of the application you’re running). Just point your iOS4 device’s web browser to http://oo.apple.com. You should see a message telling you that the opt-out was successful.  If you have more than one device running iOS 4, you must opt-out individually for each device.

It’s worth noting that this opt out does not affect the collection of location-based data – though Apple assures us that location information is collected anonymously and safely.

Click here for more details from Apple.

Is Your Android Safe and Secure?

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

Relative to the iPhone the Android app phone is spanking new. The 20,000 or so apps for Android developed so far for Android phones are dwarfed by the number of iPhone apps — 120,000 and counting. In addition to all the fun and clever apps written for the iPhone, there are many security and safety apps written for the platform as well. Whether you want to block porn for your 12 year old or whether you want to remotely wipe clean your data from a lost iPhone, well, there’s an iPhone app for that. Now that more and more Android devices are being sold more and more developers are writing for the platform. That means that you will start seeing similar security and safety apps for the Android. The New York Times’ Gadgetwise (no relation to GetNetWise) blogged today about a new security app for the Android in a piece titled “App of the Week: Lock Up Your Android.” Gadgetwise features an app from WaveSecure, “a free app for Android lets you use any computer to lock down your lost phone, erase the disc, locate it and restore much of the phone’s contents if it is recovered.”

No doubt with more time on the market we will see even more great safety and security apps written for Android. Now if I could just get a porn blocker for my Droid.

Remember we told you to set Facebook privacy settings?

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Last year we urged parents to help their kids set their privacy settings in whatever social networking service they used (See the How-To Video Tutorials here). We urged kids to turn the privacy settings to “Friends Only.” Well, things change really quickly on the Internet and Facebook has changed how users can access their privacy settings and even the settings themselves. So, still take our advice about changing your kids’ settings to “friends only” but note that the path to making privacy changes has changed. To get to your Facebook privacy settings simply select in the top right hand corner next to your profile name “Settings” and pull down the menu and select “Privacy Settings.” In our dated How To Video Tutorial “Privacy” was right up at the top, now you just need to take that extra step and select “Settings.” See photo here.

But it really is worth noting that Facebook has expanded the category of what is known as “Personally Available Information.” This is information that users cannot restrict from others. It used to be that in order to find each other on a “social network” you could see each other’s name, networks and fan listings. Now Facebook has expanded that list to include things like a user’s city, gender, photograph, the profile pages you are a fan of, and friends list. So, be aware that you really can’t control whether others see that information about you or your children.

What to do? We recommend taking a different look at what info your teen is sharing by taking a step back. First, log out of Facebook and search for your teen’s name on Facebook through Facebook search and other Web search engines. Take a look and see what you find.  Then log in to Facebook as a non-friend of your teen and search for her name and see what information about her you can find. Make notes on what you can see and what you can’t. Third, and most important, talk with your teen about what you have found. Actually, we recommend performing the above search process together.

If changes are needed go into the “Privacy Settings” and make changes. If you and your teen don’t like how much information about her and her friends must be shared as “Personally Available Information,” write to Facebook.

Going green for Spring – time to clean out the home office.

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy announced last week that they are opening their free electronics recycling initiative to all of their nationwide stores. This was cause for joy in my household, where there are currently two out-of-date laptops, one dilapidated desktop and no fewer than four old cellphones lounging about taking up precious space. Did I mention this is a free service? There are a few notable exceptions to what they will accept (nothing with freon) and there is a $10 fee for monitors, TV’s and CRT’s. But they are offsetting that fee with $10 gift cards in exchange. Not too shabby!

Spring cleaning is almost upon us, so this is a great time to take an inventory of those old CE products you have that need to be recycled. Also, take a look into other options for recycling and additional resources for where you can drop off at www.MyGreenElectronics.org. This site also offers important advice on how to protect your privacy by deleting information off of your old hard drives and cellphones.

Here are a few other notable green campaigns to check out:

Verizon Wireless’ HopeLine Program (recycle cellphones and accessories for victims of domestic violence)

AT&T’s Cell Phones for Soldiers (turn your old cellphone into a prepaid phone for our troops overseas)

Apple & the Environment (iPod and cellphone recycling)

College Bound Privacy

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

This summer social networking will be the primary way younger students stay in touch with friends. College-bound students will not only stay in touch but will use these sites to market themselves to potential new friends and roommates at their new school. GetNetWise reminds students again to be careful about what type of information they share about themselves and with whom. What you post online today may haunt you tomorrow.

GetNetWise hosts a number of How-To Video Tutorials illustrating the privacy settings offered on many popular social networking sites. Please click on one of the links below to find how to change your settings on your social network of choice.

These video tutorials include audio descriptions.

Privacy Policy Contact GetNetWise Press
Site Copyright 2003 Internet Education Foundation