Posts tagged "Privacy Expert"
Today’s Burning Question for online privacy expert John Sileo:
“Who is the bigger spy, the NSA or Google?”
I thought that was a really fascinating question. Of course, it comes because in the last couple of months the NSA has been outed by Edward Snowden, the former NSA employee. The NSA (National Security Agency) has been spying on our phone calls- who we’re calling and when, our emails- who we’re emailing and what about, and even our social media posts.
The latest scandal is called “Muscular”. Somehow, the NSA has gotten between the transmissions of Google and Yahoo. In other words, the NSA has been “sniffing” the emails going back and forth between the two largest email providers in the US and this has angered the tech giants like Google, Yahoo, and Facebook.
By Mike Spinney, HoGo (Document Protection Simplified)
John Sileo is a kindred spirit when it comes to fighting the good fight against data breach and identity theft. I met John about seven years ago when we were both part of a joint project to raise awareness over the issue of physical document protection and we’ve been friends ever since. I admire what John does to help make people more aware of their personal risk and take steps to prevent identify theft. A two-time victim of identify theft, John has refused to wallow in his victimization and instead has become a privacy expert in his own right and taken his powerful, personal message to audiences around the world raising identity theft prevention awareness as one of the issues premiere speakers.
What makes a privacy expert nervous? Glimpsing the size of the iceberg under the surface. When National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden became a whistle blower earlier this year, I think we all knew we were really just seeing the tip of the iceberg about exactly how much information the NSA was gathering on the average American citizen. And it was a pretty large tip to start with.
Here’s a reminder of what started the whole thing. Snowden provided reporters at The Guardian and The Washington Post with top-secret documents detailing two NSA surveillance programs being carried out by the U.S. Government, all without the average voter’s knowledge. One gathers hundreds of millions of U.S. phone records and the second allows the government to access nine U.S. Internet companies to gather all domestic Internet usage (so they are tapping pieces of your phone calls and emails, in other words). The intent of each program respectively is to use meta-data (information about the numbers being called, length of call, etc., but not the conversation itself, as far as we know) to detect links to known terrorist targets abroad and to detect suspicious behavior (by monitoring emails, texts, social media posts, instant messaging, chat rooms, etc.) that begins overseas. As a privacy expert, I understand the need to detect connections among terrorists; the troubling part is the scope of the information being gathered.
Facebook is masking privacy erosion with a deceptive executive summary. The latest changes make me very uncomfortable in three ways:
- It appears that Facebook has left open the option to collect and utilize your mobile phone number when you access Facebook from your mobile device. That is valuable information to advertisers who want to text, call or serve up ads to you directly.
If you’re the head of a company, it’s your duty to be no less than a privacy expert. Cyber criminals are betting on the fact that you aren’t one, and your whole company could suffer if you don’t take action to become one.
We’ve discussed before the necessity of keeping employees well-trained against cyber attacker’s tricks, such as spear-phishing. Well, it turns out that the big bosses are actually even more likely to fall for social engineering attacks according to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal.
The article quoted a study by Verizon that indicates these executives are often exempt from company-wide security rules and are more likely to open email or click on links that expose their company’s secure information. Especially at a time when so many are hit with phony emails, no one can afford to be lax on cyber security. CEOs and other high-level bosses are usually highly visible, public-facing, have access to proprietary information, and are often disengaged from the online security process: in other words, they are the perfect target.