This message will self-destruct in five seconds. That’s the premise behind SnapChat and is hailed as the new Instagram. The app currently sends over 1,000 pictures every second and here’s how it works:
You take a picture and pick who you want to send it to. You then choose how long that picture will stay on their phone before it “self-destructs.” The app is alleged to even warn senders if recipients attempt to create a screen capture of self-destructing materials.
The first function of the app that comes to mind is that it could be a safe way to “sext.” Dig a little deeper and it’s not that difficult to think of other nefarious ways to use SnapChat. It could be used to distribute answers on a test. Or, you could use to help set up drug deals or to secretly communicate with your mistress. The list could go on forever, but I think you get the picture.
When you use SnapChat to send a picture, does it really disappear?
Still not convinced there’s a problem…A simple Google search shows that there are plenty of ways to get around the image destruction and even if it has been deleted, there are companies that will recover the images for a small fee.
Unfortunately, SnapChat creates the illusion that something can disappear and that is where the danger lies. It may seem trivial, but it can have serious consequences when a picture goes in to the public domain. Politicians, celebrities, and sports stars have become victims when a picture or video goes rogue.
So what can we do about it?
I’ve done things that my parents warned me not to do and that I hope my kids won’t do it. However, kids will be kids and sometimes they do things they regret.
Simply banning SnapChat may alienate children from their social network so if they do want to use SnapChat, go through the associated risks with them. It also goes without saying that compromising photos of an underage child can have serious legal consequences, including imprisonment and registration on a sexual offenders database.
Communication is key with any relationship and talking to children about SnapChat and understanding why they want to use it is important. SnapChat can be used for good intentions like sending a funny picture to cheer up a pal and it is yet another way to stay connected to friends.
Stop and think before you send a message
Children also need to stop and think before they send a message as well. I use my trusty “idiot” test to confirm whether or not I send a picture – would I want my friends, family, a future partner, a new boss or the general public to see me in that position or state of undress in a shopping mall? If the answer is no, then I won’t send it because I don’t want to be that idiot everyone talks about.
I love social media and I think that it has a lot of benefits to help us in different ways. We need to remember that social media is not private and it certainly isn’t temporary. Everything we do on social networks is there permanently and is easily searchable. The sooner we all learn and live by that, the better.
‘Til next time…
I work for Trend Micro and the opinions expressed here are my own.
“Can you hear that?” my mother shouts arm’s length distance from the phone.
“What am I listening for?” I reply.
“A buzzing and whooshing sound, coming from my computer,” she yells again.
This is just an example of the tech support request calls I get regularly from my cute little mama. She only calls about once a month or less for her gadget questions, but I can’t say how many times she’s calling her wireless Internet provider.
According to a recent survey we conducted at Trend Micro to commemorate Mother’s Day, about a quarter of you are in the same boat as me, getting these calls about once a month (the survey dives into perceptions of moms’ technology and device knowledge). My heart goes out to the eight percent of you who said their tech-challenged moms contact them once a day (Mother’s Day Gift Idea: Premium Tech Support Package from Trend Micro and read Michael Miley’s blog). Yikes.
But wait, there’s more!
By Michael Miley
Any day can be Mother’s Day—especially when mom needs help with her computer! The phone will ring and her frustrated voice will be on the line with one or more complaints. Here’s a typical list:
“I can’t get my email.”
“I’m getting an error message when I try to print.”
“How do I create new folders in my email or on my desktop?”
“My browser is acting funny whenever I try to browse the web. Can you fix it?”
“Everything seems really slow. Can you speed up my computer?
“I think I might have a virus. I’m getting a weird popup message saying something about a firewall violation. What should I do?”
Rather than rush across town to fix these or other problems in the midst of my workday (or in the evening when I’m trying to relax), I’ve installed software called LogMeIn on her computer, so I can access and manage it remotely.
Over the past few months, I have written Fearless Web blogs about the growing problem of stolen and lost smartphones and mobile devices. It was my hope that by shedding some light on these often avoidable incidents that this nonsense would cease.
And yet it hasn’t. In fact, it seems to have gotten worse. It’s like the whole world is not reading my blogs nor taking my advice. Obviously, this annoys me greatly.
If you read today’s New York Times front page story titled Cellphone Thefts Grow, but the Industry Looks the Other Way, you would learn that the “new nationwide database for stolen cellphones, which tracks a phone’s unique identifying number to prevent it from being activated, theoretically discouraging thefts…has not helped stanch the ever-rising numbers of phone thefts, in part because many stolen phones end up overseas, out of the database’s reach, and in part because the identifiers are easily modified.”
Grrrrrr. And, surprise, surprise, this article suggests that the mobile phone industry isn’t all that concerned nor interested in adding more security features because, if you have to buy a new phone after one is lost or stolen, well, that’s more money in their pockets.
By Jamie Haggett
I’m sure you’ve watched the news in the last few months and have seen a ton of high profile hacks on Twitter, including big brands such as Jeep, Burger King, and most recently the Associated Press (AP). I think the average person outside of the computer world is left wondering a few things:
- How and why are these accounts being hacked? I would assume these organizations would have nice long, complex passwords to protect their accounts, wouldn’t you?
- If they can’t keep themselves safe, how am I expected to?
- What is this two-factor authentication thing I keep hearing about and will it keep me safe?
Article by Fearless Web Team
Filed under: Tips and Tricks | RSS 2.0 | No Comments |
When traveling you need to raise your personal cyber threat alert on your digital life to stage orange or even red, because the places you’re going to visit are probably not as safe as your comfy home or secure office.
Below are a few Do’s and Don’ts for travelers who want to remain safe online no matter where they go in the world.
Trend Micro threat researchers believe that within three years, Africa will be a much bigger source of cybercrime. Here’s why:
Increased Bandwidth Availability at Lower Cost
All United Nations’ (UN) member countries have agreed to reach eight Millennium Development Goals by 2015. One of these goals is: “In cooperation with the private sector, make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication.” Meeting this goal helps Africa catch up with the rest of the world. With new information and communication technology (ICT), Africa’s huge potential user base is turning it into a major player.
Various private companies from around the world worked together to fund and implement six infrastructure projects in Africa. In 2007, the first undersea fiber-optic cable was installed, connecting its eastern and southern parts to the rest of the world. Today, cable infrastructure reaches almost the whole continent. With 11 cable projects still underway, local ISPs and phone service providers have been expanding their range of offerings, providing cheaper and faster access to customers.
With bandwidth on the increase, costs for both operators and end users are likely to decrease further, providing benefits to institutions and companies, but also to attackers and cybercriminals.
But wait, there’s more!
More than a quarter of Americans would rather go to the dentist, sit in a massive traffic jam or wait in an emergency room than prepare their taxes according to a recent poll conducted by Cint USA and sponsored by Trend Micro, a leading security software company.
Well, really no big surprise there, however, when over a thousand respondents – representative of the US Census on age, gender, and region – were asked their opinions regarding the filing of taxes online and we did received some interesting results:
- 62% have or will file their taxes online
- 73% feel safe filing taxes online
- 67% have some concern about identity theft or losing private financial data when filing online, with more than two in ten stating they are very concerned.
- On the other hand, 59% feel it safer to file online rather than mailing in hard copies of the forms (41%)
- 15% have been notified in the last year that one of their online accounts has been breached
As the deadline for filing your income tax paperwork quickly approaches, you may be tempted to cut corners or rush to get them done. I suggest not throwing caution to the wind in your filing methods, as you may end up paying much more for it in the long run.
Here are some Do’s and Don’ts Tips to help you safely file your taxes without falling victim to cybercriminals and identity theft:
- DO: Get good references – If you’re hiring someone to do your taxes, make sure the person is honest and capable. If you are hiring a new tax preparer, do the leg work to confirm they’re good at it. Get references from other clients and do research online with a Google search on the individual’s name and/or their business’s name. Go through the search results carefully and heed any red flags.
- DO: Make sure you have a secure connection before e-filing - If you’re filing the new fangled way via tax software or the IRS’s website, don’t use public wireless connection. Use a secure, password-protected Internet connection.
- DO: Direct deposit your refund – If you’re getting a refund, have it electronically deposited into your bank account. This saves time and removes the chances of your refund check being lost or stolen. All you have to do is add your account numbers and the bank routing numbers at the end of your tax form.