Group Blog # 3 – Privacy

Introduction


In this blog entry, we will be exploring the various aspects of internet privacy and the many ways you can keep your personal information safe. With the help of several sources, our group managed to include a few steps and tips that you can take to protect your personal information on the internet, as well as ways you can prevent fraud and identity theft from happening to you. Also included is a list containing a few anti-virus programs that could be used for extra security while you’re browsing the internet. lastly, we will be discussing the risks of social media in the workplace.

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Fraud
noun
1.
Deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.


What is fraud? The dictionary definition of fraud is the act of deceit, trickery, sharp practice or breach of confidence perpetrated for profit or gain (Evans, 2016). It is estimated that in 2015 alone cyber-crime saw almost 6 million offenses committed (Evans, 2016). Statistics say that you are 20 times more likely to be robbed at your computer than by an offender in another country than held up on the streets (Evans, 2016). Cybercrime can be experienced by any person of any age or social background, in any area of the world (Evans, 2016). Evans notes the four most common forms of cyber-crimes that take place in society today are as following: Phishing; the activity of defrauding an online account holder of financial information by posing as a legitimate company. Identity theft; the fraudulent acquisition and use of a person’s private identifying information, usually for financial gain. Hacking, the use of a computer to gain unauthorized access to data in a system. Lastly, online harassment the act of disturbing or pestering, troubling repeatedly via the computer. It is estimated that 90% of all data records that were used in a cybercrime, was a result of hackers employed by an organized crime (Evans, 2016). As I mentioned previously cybercrime can happen to anyone and there are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from online predators. I’ve listed a few steps below.

Some steps you can take to protect yourself from any form of cyber-crimes as advised by Norton Antivirus Canada are as follows:

Fraud protection tips as listed by Norton antivirus protection 

• Keep your computer current with the latest patches and updates.

• Make sure your computer is configured securely.

• Choose strong passwords and keep them safe.

• Protect your computer with security software.

• Protect your personal information.

• Online offers that look too good to be true usually are.

• Review bank and credit card statements regularly.

A few examples of cyber scams are as follows:


The Nigerian Prince scam, better known as the Nigerian letter scam
Cyber criminals contact planned victims by fax, letter or e-mail. The cyber criminal claims to be a government official or member of a royal family. cyber criminal begins to solicit assistance in transferring large sums of excess money out of Nigeria and reassures the victim that they will pay the victim for their help. The message is always of an “urgent, private” nature (Unknown, 2016).

A guaranteed bank loan or credit card scam


An outstanding preapproved loan is offered to the victim, but, you must pay the “Mandatory” processing fee (Chipurici, 2016)

Greeting Card Scams


The greeting card is sent from cybercriminal posing as victim’s friend. The victim often opens the message thinking it’s a safe message from a friend and instead a ton of malicious software is downloaded and uploaded to your computer. Malware can be anything from constant popups, Random windows all over the screen finally can be ransomware, a financial malware. If the computer is infected. Your computer tends to become a sort of bot part of a larger network of other infected computers. The computer will proceed to transmit private data to the fraudulent server ran by cyber criminals (Chipurici, 2016).

Hitman scams


This type of scam is known as a form of “extortion”. This type of scam may come in various forms of Threatening messages followed by the demand of money or something bad will happen.

Anti-Virus Protection Programs.


Program Name: Program Features: Cost of Program:
Avira Antivirus ·      Secure browser

·      VPN

·      Safe search plugin

 

Free

AVG Antivirus ·      Mobile app

·      100% rating for protection

 

Free

Panda Antivirus ·      98% protection from viruses

·      Scans quickly

 

Free

MacAfee Antivirus plus (2017) ·      Editor Rating: /5

·      Malware scan

·      Website rating

·      Phishing protection

·      Bonus; Vulnerability Scan

 

 

$24.99

Norton Antivirus Basic ·      Editor Rating: /5

·      Malware scan

·      Website rating

·      Phishing protection

 

$19.99

Webroot secure anywhere Antivirus ·      Editor Rating: /5

·      Malware scan

·      Website rating

·      Phishing protection

 

$19.99

Bitdefender Antivirus ·      Editor Rating: /5

·      Malware scan

·      Website rating

·      Phishing protection

·      Bonus; Vulnerability Scan

 

 

 

$25.99

 

Terms of Service Agreements and What You are Really Signing Up For

privacy-policy11


We have all had a time where we were so excited to play a new game or download the latest trending app on our phones, computers, etc., that we didn’t even notice the little button pop up which asks you to agree to the terms and policies of their program. Service agreements are everywhere, in fact, sometimes they are so well hidden you may not even know that you have signed up for one. But what is a privacy policy really, and what are your rights and privileges in regards to them in Canada? “A Privacy Policy is a legal statement that specifies what the business owner does with the personal data collected from users, along with how the data is processed and why.” (Sample Privacy Policy Template, 2016). Over half of online Americans when asked in 2014, did not even know what a Privacy Policy was (Thompson, 2015). They were originally meant for the customers of the services to protect their rights, but have now turned into agreements for the companies themselves. Now more than ever these corporations such as Facebook, and Google, have access to more of our personal information than people may realize (Thompson, 2015). There is a law in place in Canada that protects the online information of its citizens, its called the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act or the PIPEDA (The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), 2016). Basically, this law limits how much of your information can be used by the different companies that you have contact with online. It is important to look this over and see what your rights are and how to properly protect yourself in the online world. A study done by two researchers at Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania showed that if you were to read every privacy policy you encountered in a year it would take you 76 work days to do so (Madrigal, 2012). So, if this is the case, how are we supposed to know what we are signing up for without reading everything that shows up on a company’s policy? Here is  a list of just a  couple of steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Be aware of who you share your information with

By limiting the information, you share on online profiles you can reduce the chances of the wrong person getting a hold of it. Everyone that needs to know those things about you should already, giving you no need to have to update it. Also, don’t give out personal information on the phone, through the mail or over the Internet unless you’ve initiated the contact or know who you’re dealing with. If you see a privacy policy or don’t see one, and don’t understand what it says when skimming over it consider going elsewhere (Consumer Information, 2016).

  • Password Protection

If possible, do not tell anyone passwords to sources that can have access to your personal information. Be creative when coming up with passwords and try not to make them easy for people to guess. Password protect anything and everything you can! This limits the number of people who are able to see all your important and personal information (Consumer Information, 2016).

  • Turn on Private Browsing

Private browsing is available through the internet search bar. It allows you to search for websites and do all the same things you would normally do on the internet, but without having to worry about it saving your files. This prevents websites from being able to save and use your online data.  It deletes cookies, temporary Internet files and browsing history after you close the window (DesMarais, 2014)


How Your Internet Profile Can Affect You Chances at Getting a Job

Social media is a place where people can share photos, comment on photos and view anyone’s information. Your digital footprint is everything that represents you online. It’s defined as, the information about a particular person that exists on the Internet as a result of their online activity (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016). This digital footprint can alter your chances of landing your dream job or any job for that matter. The job market these days is not what it used to be; it can be nearly impossible and frustrating to land a decent job (Arnald-smeets, 2014). For the lucky candidates that land a job or get an interview, it is vital not to mess up (Arnald-smeets, 2014). One way to increase your chances of getting a decent job is to clean up your social media profiles so that the potential employer, doesn’t come across anything that can question whether you are fit for the job (Arnald-smeets, 2014). There are several ways that you can change your digital footprint so that it doesn’t damage your reputation and the possibilities of future employment opportunities (Oxford Dictionaries, 2016). Here’s how:

Delete: Go on to all your social media profiles and hide or erase anything that can alter your chances of getting a job. This can be anything from inappropriate pictures, comments, and bad language (Arnald-smeets, 2014). When doing this process, use your judgment to determine if what’s on your profile will chance someone’s perspective of you.

Privacy: Make everything private, this only allows certain people to view your profiles. Many social sites today have the options to make things private to make it hard for potential employers to view your social media (Arnald-smeets, 2014).

Restricted: Create a restricted list of people you don’t want seeing your posts. With a restricted list, people can see your profile but they cannot view any content or photos that you have on social media (Arnald-smeets, 2014).

Adding friends: Don’t accept friends that are connected or a part of your potential social employer. This can compromise your possibilities of getting a job offer (Arnald-smeets, 2014).

Grow up: If you are old enough for the job, then you are probably old enough to look mature online. Looking cool online is a thing of the past and future employers are not looking for a person that is “cool” but more so mature and can handle a job that is given to them (Arnald-smeets, 2014).

When it comes to getting a job, many people forget about their image on the Internet and who can see these profiles. You may get an interview and it may go well but if you’re social media says something else about you, this can change your future employers perspective of you and prevent you from getting that job. So just remember when you are applying for jobs, that not only does your resume and personality matter, but so does your reputation on social media.


How to Better Protect your Privacy Online

Now more than ever it’s extremely important to be aware of the dangers online, and how to properly protect yourself. In this day and age, there are increasing threats to our online privacy and personal information, putting an extra emphasis on being internet savvy.

To start off, an easy way to protect yourself from viruses online is to install an anti-virus software, most you can find free on the internet. These software’s help to ensure that your computer is protected from torrent websites, and potentially harmful viruses. They do this by performing scans which search your system for any threats, and then remove them to prevent any harm to your computer. Some examples of credible software’s include: Malwarebytes Anti-Malware, McAfee Anti-Virus, & Symantec Norton Anti-Virus (according to PCMag.com)

Secondly, when performing Google searches, try using a different search engine that filters out harmful websites, as well as not collecting your search information. When you search for something, your search terms are sent to the site that you clicked on, therefore sharing your personal information. As well, when you visit any website, your computer automatically sends information (ie. your IP address) which can be used to identify you directly. Sites like Norton Safe Search & DuckDuckGo prevent any search leakage & identify malicious websites.

Another way you can protect your personal information is to block third-party “cookies”, which allow advertising companies to track your browsing habits. With this information, they are then able to build an online “profile” of you and your typical searches, making for targeted advertisements on future sites that you visit. Most internet browser applications have the option to turn off cookies and keep your browsing history, and personal information safe.

An extremely important, arguably the most important way to keep yourself safe online is to ensure that you are not sharing your geographical information online, or at least only with websites you know you can trust. Some websites require this information (ie. Google maps or online shopping), but it is always recommended to turn it off when not needed. This information can be stored in large databases and used by companies to offer specific services and place targeted advertisements (Brunner, 2016). Essentially, you are broadcasting your IP address, which can be used to identify you.

Some quick tips:

  • Always make sure you trust a company before giving out your email address
  • Be cautious when opening attachments from unknown senders
  • Block cookies when they are not required by the site
  • Do not use the same password for multiple accounts, always make them unique and strong
  • NEVER reply to spam emails or messages, they will only lead to trouble
  • Be careful how much information you share on social media sites, just include enough so your friends are able to identify you
  • Always make sure your anti-virus services are up to date

In Summary there are many steps you can take to protect your information on the internet. Keep in mind employers always check your social media networks, and there are many kinds of online scams that can happen to you if you are not careful. We can’t stress enough INTERNET SAFETY IS IMPORTANT. We’ve listed anti-virus software programs and prices as well as Steps to protect your information.

 

References 

Arnald-smeets, L. (2014). 5 Ways to Clean up Your Online Profiles During a Job Search. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://www.payscale.com/career-news/2013/06/5-ways-to-clean-up-your-online-profiles-during-a-job-search

Brunner, G. (2016, August 1). 19 ways to stay anonymous and protect your online privacy. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from https://www.extremetech.com/internet/180485-the-ultimate-guide-to-staying-anonymous-and-protecting-your-privacy-online

CHIPURICI, C. (2016, May 28). Top Online Scams Used by Cyber Criminals to Trick You [Updated]. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/top-online-scams/

DesMarais, C. (2014, July 24). 11 Simple Ways to Protect Your Privacy | TIME.com. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://techland.time.com/2013/07/24/11-simple-ways-to-protect-your-privacy/

Evans, M. (2016, July 21). Cyber-crime: One in 10 people now victim of fraud or online offences, figures show. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/21/one-in-people-now-victims-of-cyber-crime/

Madrigal, A. C. (2012, March 1). Reading the Privacy Policies You Encounter in a Year Would Take 76 Work Days. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/reading-the-privacy-policies-you-encounter-in-a-year-would-take-76-work-days/253851/

Oxford Dictionaries – Dictionary, Thesaurus, & Grammar. (2016). Retrieved December                  10, 2016, from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/

Thompson, C. (2015). What you’re giving away for ‘free’ social media. Retrieved December 08, 2016, from http://www.cnbc.com/2015/05/20/what-you-really-sign-up-for-when-you-use-social-media.html

Rubenking, N. J. (n.d.). The Best Antivirus Protection of 2016. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2372364,00.asp

(n.d.). Cybercrime – Cybercrime Prevention Tips | Norton Canada. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from http://ca.norton.com/cybercrime-prevention/

Consumer Information. (2012, July). Retrieved December 08, 2016, from https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0272-how-keep-your-personal-information-secure(n.d.). DuckDuckGo Privacy. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from https://duckduckgo.com/privacy

The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). (2016). Retrieved December 08, 2016, from https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/privacy-topics/privacy-laws-in-canada/the-personal-information-protection-and-electronic-documents-act-pipeda/

(n.d.). The Nigerian Prince: Old Scam, New Twist. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://www.bbb.org/new-york-city/get-consumer-help/articles/the-nigerian-prince-old-scam-new-twist/

(n.d.). Online Privacy: Using the Internet Safely. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from https://www.privacyrights.org/consumer-guides/online-privacy-using-internet-safely

Sample Privacy Policy Template. (2016). Retrieved December 08, 2016, from https://termsfeed.com/blog/sample-privacy-policy-template/

(2012). What kind of information is being collected about me when I’m online? Retrieved December 10, 2016, from https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/about-the-opc/what-we-do/awareness-campaigns-and-events/privacy-education-for-kids/fs-fi/choice-choix/

 

 

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