These services help you safeguard your identity, finances, and personal data

En español | As consumer fraud has surged in both quantity and variety, so have products and services to help protect you from scams. Some are free and come from government agencies, nonprofits, or large corporations; others are from entrepreneurs with unique and often high-tech protections that you'll pay for. How to sort them out? We reviewed lots of services and devices, then talked to anti-fraud experts and former law enforcement officials. Their advice: Focus on specific needs.

9 Online Tools That Help You Stay Safe From Fraud

1. Take a financial vulnerability survey

The Wayne State University Institute of Gerontology has developed an online financial vulnerability survey, at OlderAdultNestEgg.com, to help older Americans evaluate decision-making. Through its SAFE program, the service also offers one-on-one coaching to help users catch fraud or identify theft.

2. Review a broker's history on Brokercheck by FINRA

FINRA, the independent, non-governmental regulator of securities firms doing business in the United States, has a free online tool, BrokerCheck.finra.org, that lets you review broker history as well as find complaints and disciplinary actions against brokers. And remember: Always hang up on a cold-calling broker. Legitimate ones don't work that way.

3. Protect your packages with Informed Delivery

A free service from the U.S. Postal Service, InformedDelivery.usps.com emails images of your mail before it arrives. It also allows users to track and manage package delivery to keep purchases safe from thieves.

4. Sign up for identity theft protection services

A number of companies promise to keep your identity safe for a fee. Plans from NortonLifeLock offer identity theft protection to AARP members at a discount of at least 20 percent. EverSafe.com and IDShield.com are among the companies that patrol the dark web, searching for illicit use of your Social Security number, false changes of address and other misused personal information while also monitoring your bank accounts and credit cards to ensure they haven't been compromised. You can compare basic fees on each company's website.

5. Stop phone scammers with call blocking software

Start by signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry at DoNotCall.gov. Next, call your carrier and ask what call-blocking services it provides; more are adding free call-screening options in response to the epidemic of fraudulent phone calls. If you want fuller protection for your smartphone, consider services like RoboKiller.com or Truecaller.com.

6. Verify a person's profile photo with a reverse image search

To lure victims, online dating scammers often use stolen photos. Before you respond to a connection request, drop that profile photo into a reverse image search tool that will show you where else the image appears on the internet — which can help expose crooks. Image search services include images.Google.com, TinEye.com, and Yandex.com.

7. Keep a loved one safe from fraud

Persuade the person to sign up for a service that constantly reviews all their financial accounts for unusual transactions and then sends alerts to you and others if they occur. GuideChange.com and EverSafe.com promise to put older Americans’ finances under a microscope and root out fraud. Their computers constantly monitor how money is spent, searching for red flags. These services can offer peace of mind — at a price. Check websites for fees.

8. Confirm a caregiver's background before hiring

While anyone can find information about a person online, many companies will do a professional job for a fee. They provide detailed information on criminal records, civil court filings, and credit scores. And services like Goodhire.com, Checkr.com, and IntelliCorp.net will provide monthly updates for additional peace of mind. Services and fees are listed on the companies’ websites.

9. Secure sensitive emails with decryption

Email services like ProtonMail.com, Tutanota.com, and Mailfence.com encrypt your incoming emails so no one can read them without going through a highly secure login and decrypting process. Compare prices on their websites.

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network can help you spot and avoid scams. Sign up for free Watchdog Alerts, review our scam-tracking map, or call our toll-free fraud helpline at 877-908-3360 if you or a loved one suspect you’ve been a victim.

Joe Eaton is a writer, professor, and former investigative reporter for the Center for Public Integrity.

[Source: This article was published in aarp.org By Joe Eaton - Uploaded by the Association Member: Issac Avila]
Categorized in Internet Privacy

[Source: This article was Published in lifehack.org By Victor Emmanuel - Uploaded by the Association Member: Anthony Frank]

What is a VPN? A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is simply a way used to connect different networks located separated from the Internet, using security protocols that allow both the authenticity and the confidentiality of the information that travels through the VPN connection or network system.

In our present world being security cautious is of paramount importance and in high demand in companies, and the need to send encrypted data over a network, VPN technology has developed more strongly means and is becoming more widespread in the private and business environment.

This article will relieve some significant benefits of VPN:

1. Improved Security

VPN has a lot of advantages to increase our online safety and privacy when surfing the internet not just from hackers, government and telephony operator per DNS Leakage. However, if you surf the web from any location, we could always do without a VPN. But if you connect to a public WiFi network, doing so via a Virtual Private Network will be better. Your real IP address will be safe while masking your actual location and your data will be encrypted against potential intruders.

An ISP is used to view all the information stocks online by consumer containing data, password and personal information. But when a VPN is in place, ISP’s will not be able to access a user’s log. Instead, they see encrypted statistics by the VPN server.

2. Remote Access

Using VPN shows that your information can be accessed remotely from any location which allows you to access your content if there is any restriction on the site. Using VPN can increase the company productivity as the workers will not have to be in a particular location to get to be productive.

3. Cost

Every VPN service provider will always tend to showcase different packages, and Search Engine Optimization specialist can choose a perfect subscription package that will suit his or her immediate need saving cost. There are many affordable yet reliable VPN service providers out there with friendly subscriptions; this is one advantage SEO specialist can utilize.

4. Buying Cheap Tickets

One ultimate secret that most people fail to understand is to use a VPN to buy cheap flight tickets exclusive to a particular location. Every reservation centers and airline operator have different prices for different countries. To get an affordable flight ticket, look for a state that has a low cost of living then compare it with the one you reside in, connect through a VPN and get your ticket cheap. This trick also works for other rental services.

5. Anonymity/Bypass Restriction

Using a VPN, one can easily browse the internet entirely without being traced, compared to other software, one of the benefits of using a VPN connection service is to allow you access to any websites and web applications anonymously.

For example, NetFlix will only allow streaming from specific locations. However, when connecting to such services using Virtual Private Network, this will indicate on NetFlix that your IP address is from a location they permit. This will enable your VPN service to skip all kinds of geographical restrictions to give you maximum internet coverage.

Accessing blocked websites is achieved using VPN and for going through established Internet filters. For this reasons, there are a greater number of VPN services available in a country where Internet censorship are used.


People are looking for the best possible ways to avoid being tracked during surfing. VPN will be one of the best solutions for this. To help protect and prevent Internet Service Provider (ISP) of the website’s owner to track our activities during surfing. The troubles faced by the free version of VPN over the web, is the location options are few with severe limitations. Therefore, it is best to pay for a genuine VPN to ensure good connectivity, speed, and premium data security.

Categorized in Internet Privacy

Written By Bram Jansen

A lot more people are concerned about privacy today than used to be the case a few years ago. The efforts of whistleblowers like Edward Snowden have a lot to do with this. Things have changed now that people realize just how vulnerable they are when browsing the web. When we say things have changed we mean people are starting to take their online privacy more seriously. It does not mean that the threats that you face while browsing has reduced. If anything, they have increased in number. If you still don’t look after your online privacy, there’s no time to think about it anymore. You have to take action now.

5 reasons to protect online privacy

1- Hide from government surveillance

Almost all countries of the world monitor the online activity of their citizens to some degree. It doesn’t matter how big or developed the country is. If you think that your government doesn’t look into your online privacy at all, you’re deluding yourself. The only thing that varies is the extent to which your internet activity is monitored and the information that is recorded.

2- Bypass government censorship

There are large parts of the world where internet is not a free place. Governments censor the internet and control what their citizens can and cannot access and do on the internet. While most people know about The Great Firewall of China and the way middle-eastern countries block access to social networking and news websites, the problem is there are a lot more countries.

3- Protect your personal data

You use the internet to share a lot of personal data. This includes your private conversations, pictures, bank details, social security numbers, etc. If you are sharing this without hiding it, then it is visible to everyone. Malicious users can intercept this data and make you a victim of identity theft quite easily. While HTTPS might protect you against them, not all websites use it.

4- Hiding P2P activity is important

P2P or torrenting is a huge part of everyone’s internet usage today. You can download all sorts of files from P2P websites. However, many of this content is copyrighted and protected by copyright laws. While downloading copyrighted content for personal usage is legal, sharing it is illegal. The way P2P works you are constantly sharing the files as you download them. If someone notices you downloading copyrighted content, you might be in trouble. There is a lot of vagueness when it comes to copyright laws, so it’s best to hide your torrent activity. Even those in Canada have to use P2P carefully. The country provides some of the fastest connections but is strengthening its stronghold on P2P users.

5- Stream content peacefully without ISP throttling

When you stream or download content, your ISP might throttle your bandwidth to balance the network load. This is only possible because your ISP can see your activity. You are robbed of a quality streaming experience because of this. The solution is to hide your online activity.

Online privacy is fast becoming a myth, and users have to make efforts to have some privacy on the internet. The best way to do this is to use a VPN, for they encrypt your connection and hide your true IP address. But be careful when you choose a VPN. If you don’t know how to choose the best VPN, visit VPNAlert for the detailed solution. Or choose a VPN that does not record activity logs and does not hand over data to the authorities, otherwise all your efforts will be for naught.  

Categorized in Internet Privacy

"The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had." -- Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt is trying to upset us. And his thought here warrants close attention because as a software engineer and the CEO of Alphabet (Google), he arguably understands the Internet about as well as anyone on planet earth. It’s a probe that does for the Internet what Marshall McLuhan’s famous probes did for television in the 1960’s: it shakes us up.

McLuhan used his probes to remove the blinders from our narrow, naïve thinking about electronic media so we could see where they were actually taking us: towards the electronically connected global village that we inhabit today.

Schmidt’s probe does likewise for the Internet with the difference that his vision is markedly darker than McLuhan’s. It dispels once and for all the puffed-up and endlessly marketed notion of the Internet as an unmitigated blessing for humanity. It nudges us to look past all this hype so we can see the Internet for what it is: a mixed blessing at best, replete with promise and fraught with peril for humanity.

That’s not an easy task. Most people feel uncomfortable being nudged in this way. Perhaps law firms especially. It’s not hard to imagine a group of complacent, white-wigged English barristers hearing Schmidt’s musings about Internet anarchy and then chiming in with mocking shouts of “Hear, hear!”

At the same time, such white-wigged sarcasm surely warrants respect, for its roots lie in the lawyerly aversion to anarchy and the disposition to order that marks the practice of law on both sides of the pond.

But there’s a second and more pressing reason why law firms might be prone to neglecting the Internet’s downside. This has to do with the hyper-competitiveness of all business today—the relentless drive for business growth that’s being fueled (of all things) by the Internet. In this heady atmosphere, law firms risk succumbing to the temptation—indeed, the seeming necessity—to exploit to the hilt the Internet’s huge upside—its massive growth and profit potential—while neglecting its huge downside: its immense threats to data security.

For law firms such neglect is exceedingly consequential, for it puts at risk core principles and capabilities that make possible the very practice of law. These include the fundamental tenet of attorney/client privilege and the indispensable ability to conduct sensitive M&A negotiations in absolute confidence. On the need to protect the former, E-Discovery expert Ralph Losey makes the essential point:

Cybersecurity should be job number one for all attorneys. Why? Because we handle confidential computer data, usually secret information that belongs to our clients, not us. We have an ethical duty to protect this information under Rule 1.6 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

To put it mildly, a dilemma arises here. And there arises also a challenge that may be put this way: in a digital age, does there exist a sweet spot between business growth and cybersecurity? A valid answer to this question requires, first, an awareness of the actual consequences of lax cybersecurity.

On this score we need look no farther than to the 2016 hacking of partner emails—specifically, a number of spear-phishing attacks—that led to the enormous data breaches of the elite New York firms of Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP and Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP. The stakes could hardly have been higher, for these firms, as Wall Street Journal said, represent “Wall Street banks and Fortune 500 companies in everything from lawsuits to multibillion-dollar merger negotiations.”

7 gigabytes of data were stolen. That’s enough for tens or even hundreds of thousands of emails.

The three Chinese hackers recently charged with the hacks were smart. As targets they chose partners whose practice areas included mergers and acquisitions and intellectual property.

The Chinese hackers are charged with using hacked data to make $4 million in profits from insider trading. That’s bad. Worse yet is the possibility of hackers kidnapping M&A and intellectual property data and holding it hostage for huge ransoms. The worst-case possibility, as Fortune magazine reports, is that “the breach [of Cravath and Weil, Gotshal] took place as part of a larger initiative by the Chinese government”.

So then: what’s to stop breaches like these from occurring in 2017? No nearly enough. In today’s digital world there exist dozens of groups of expert hackers, be they Chinese or Russian, state agents, trained professionals or self-educated teens, that are entirely capable of doing to other firms what the Chinese hackers did to Cravath and Weil Gotshal.

And there exist dozens of law firms—including BigLaw firms—that aren’t taking these hacker groups seriously enough.

At times, the legal profession’s disregard of cybersecurity can be stunning. To take just one instance: the American Bar Association’s 2015 Legal Technology Survey Report finds that nearly 40 percent of lawyers in the U.S. are using public Wi-Fi to access client data, but only 22 percent are using an encrypted connection.

.  .  .  .  .  

All this raises the question of the actual state of law firm cybersecurity today. Several years ago Jody R. Westby of the American Bar Association observed that “Law firms have never been very good with technology, and now they are struggling, as breaches in firms have made headlines and clients increasingly are asking questions about their security programs.” Demand for data protection came, notably, from clients, not attorneys.

Recently the 2016 Novitex and Association of Legal Administrators' (ALA) Report documented the extend of this neglect today. Based on a survey of hundreds of firms worldwide, the report found that “… law firms across the globe [are] primarily concerned with bolstering their business operations and financial viability above all else”.

The Report went on to say that “Only 8.4 percent of [800] firms [surveyed] were most concerned with reducing cybersecurity risk, compared to 7.8 percent of firms concerned with improving workflows. Around of half of those (4.1 percent) were also primarily focused on upgrading their technologies.”

These findings are alarming. In the long run, priorities like these one are invitations to trouble. There’s a mantra going around these days that cybersecurity in a digital world isn’t an IT problem, but a business problem. It’s the right mindset, and it points the way to the sweet spot of data security as an actual driver of business growth.

Now let’s see how law firms can strengthen their cybersecurity practices.

.  .  .  .  .

Belatedly, the legal profession is responding to market demand for data safety. Belatedly. Consider this ILTA Technology Review graphic of 2012:

As abysmal as these numbers are, what matters for our purposes here is the eight activities they measure. As an IT professional whose job it is to protect Chi Networks’ Customers from the downside of Internet anarchy, I see the need for these eight activities, in more comprehensive version of them, to be as familiar to all members of a business as the rules of the road are to drivers. That’s saying a lot. But in digital world, computer security should be second nature. Think of a day when your colleagues are as comfortable talking with each other while securing their computers as they are comfortable talking with passengers while driving. That’s the goal to strive for. Because when all is said and done, it’s our strongest protection from the dark side of the Internet.

My own updated and more comprehensive list of eight focal points for business protection looks like this:

1. Emails. For emails end-to-end encryption is the gold standard. But it requires both ends—your end and, say, your client’s end—to be encrypted. In any event, use a provider that supports strong encryption. If you host your own emails, use encryption software.

2. For passwords, use two-factor authentication. Require employees to use a modern password manager that can create complex passwords, change passwords automatically and show you have to improve password security. Although password managers require time to learn and stock all with secure passwords, they are free, save time in the long run, and they really, truly make life easier and safer.

3. Require employees to use only firm-approved mobile (BYOD) phones. Have your IT staff partition BYOD phones into separate encrypted compartments that securely wall off company from personal data. At my company, Chi Networks, call this the Work Wall.

4. Secure computers with firewalls and virus protection. Keep operating systems and software up to date.

5. Ensure employee mastery of company cybersecurity policies. Update them based on the findings of periodic risk assessments.

6. Implement ongoing, firm-wide employee education on the latest cyber threats. By trial and error, create learning environments—group sessions, fun contests with prizes, self-paced individual tests, one-on-one interactions with IT staff—that work best for your employees.

7. Have penetration tests on your IT system conducted by outside firms or your own security team. Hack yourself before someone else does, then fix the hacks.

8. Conduct regular practice drills testing everyone’s ability to respond correctly in the event of an actual data breach.

So: will these eight steps, effectively implemented, make cybersecurity second nature for your colleagues? They won’t. But they are solid steps in the right direction.

Wrapping up, Eric Schmidt has it right. The Internet is an experiment in anarchy. It’s taking humanity deeply and inexorably into a brave (and dangerous) new world of creative disruption on a global scale. That much we know for certain.

This awareness gives the legal profession in particular, as a primary guarantor of societal order, the responsibility of ensuring that data security becomes an actual driver of business growth. There’s your sweet spot. If these words don’t strike a chord, maybe six others will: Cravath Swaine & Moore, Weil Gotshal & Manges.

Source : corpcounsel.com

Categorized in Business Research


Startups are usually in a rush, and they often forget about data security as they try to get an MVP out.With new businesses, a data breach can result in the company closing down. To address the mistakes most commonly made, I asked ten YEC entrepreneurs the following:

What’s the one crucial mistake that tech startups seem to make when it comes to data security nowadays and why?

1. Personal and professional borders

Bring your own device (BYOD) has become increasingly popular during the past years, even more so in the startup scene. People don’t like carrying several smartphones and having to get proficient in different operating systems for tasks as checking their email or updating their calendars. However, convenience often compromises security. Workers’ personal devices can access and store sensitive corporate information locally. When the person leaves the company, the information leaves with them, forever stored on his or her device. Security-wise, this is a crucial mistake.


2. Ignoring two-step authentication

Two-step authentication – the system that sends your mobile phone a code via SMS, to enter when logging in a new web page – is an easy, but often ignored, initial step. It is now offered in all the key business platforms, including Salesforce and Google Apps for Work. You can even enable this security system in social networks at will. Since password breaching is becoming more and more common, the wise thing to do is to enhance your online-stored sensitive information with an added protection layer.

3. Security issues

Racing to get a sustainable product on the market and getting those all important sales is a top startup priority, which may cause security mishaps early on. Ensuring that your systems are secure is a meticulous process which can rob resources from product development. However, when startups “cheat” during security setup, it is almost certain that they’ll come across the same problem in the future. Privacy and safety should be top priorities from the beginning.

4. Insufficient exit protocols.

Data lapses and security breaches are more common with companies that depend mostly on freelancers or part-time staff unless they incorporate a predetermined exit procedure. Data loss, in the form of confidential information sharing, account access and other, is not hard to take place when sensitive corporate data remains stored on the devices of these people; they are not so security-conscious on their personal devices, or they even forget about having the information stored in the first place. You ought to protect your company’s and your client’s information by planning ahead with your legal team.

5. Forgoing SSL from the beginning

SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) is easily implementable from day one. It should be enabled by default in every website. It reassures your users, while upgrading the security level of your communications.


6. Failing to prioritize security

Startups often think they can leave security for later when they will have grown larger. The problem with this approach is that the company fails to incorporate security in its core values, which makes it harder to deal with when the time comes.

7. Having no policies for cloud storage

Cloud Storage services like Dropbox, Box and Google Drive, are an amazing way to keep your team up to speed and handle documents. However, failing to lock them down properly renders them vulnerable to ransomware, viruses, and unauthorized access. The main vulnerability is the convenience of file sharing itself, which means that backups, anti-virus, password, email attachment and access policies must be set up before a single user is allowed to cause trouble for a whole company.

8. Disregarding security best-practice

Change in security practices follows the pace of technological evolution. This means that security standards from a decade ago are now obsolete. Many startups fail to keep up with the most up-to-date security developments and as a result, they use outdated encryption protocols or old techniques that can be breached by hackers and crackers.

9. No internal policies and infrastructure

Tech startups are in a prime position regarding data security because they have the ability to apply best industry practices from the start, without being kept behind by outdated systems. This has resulted in unprecedented product security. However, despite the increased security, internal protocols and practices at tech startups have not evolved accordingly. Limited use of single log-in, sharing of credentials and insecure password policies are all aspects of the failure of technology startups to invest adequate resources in their internal systems and infrastructure or their influence on data security.


10. No suspicious activity notifications

About half-a-year ago, I suffered a data breach that brought me close to a significant financial setback. For starters, I used a single (weak) password across many organizations, as well as for personal use. Someone figured out the password, and I suffered breaches in multiple points at the same time. I could have easily avoided this catastrophe with a simple policy regarding password strength. What’s more, I found out that sophisticated data security tools exist in many systems for mitigating data breaches. On Google Apps for Business, for example, I set up a notification alert to be sent whenever weird activity takes place.

Source:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/277086





Categorized in Others


Washington, DCA new report from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) shows that data breach complaints are on the rise. In the report, Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book (2/16), the FTC notes that complaints about identity theft increased 47 percent in 2015, likely helped by a number of high-profile data breaches. Consumers have filed lawsuits against companies they allege have failed to adequately protect their personal, confidential information.


Data breaches frequently occur when unauthorized third parties gain access to personal information. Hackers exploit vulnerabilities in computer systems to access information such as bank accounts, health records, Social Security numbers, addresses, tax information and passwords. Making the situation more concerning, a report from Javelin Strategy & Research (2/2/16) notes that identity thieves have stolen around $112 billion in the past six years, the equivalent of around $35,600 per minute.

According to the FTC, identity theft was the second-highest complaint category, falling behind debt collection. Among identity theft complaints were tax- or wage-related fraud, credit card fraud, phone or utilities fraud, and bank fraud.

“Nearly half a million complaints sends a clear message: more needs to be done to protect consumers from identity fraud,” said National Consumers League Executive Director Sally Greenberg. “One of the key drivers of the identity theft threat is the continuing flow of consumers’ personal information to fraudsters thanks to the ongoing epidemic of data breaches.”

Meanwhile, New York State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has also indicated that data breaches are increasing. A news release issued by the Attorney General (5/4/16) notes that his office has received more than 40 percent more data breach notifications so far in 2016, compared to the same time span in 2015. From January 1 to May 2, 2016, the Attorney General’s office received 459 data breach notices, compared with 327 in the same period of 2015.

An earlier report issued by the New York Attorney General’s office found that hacking intrusions - where third parties gain unauthorized access to data stored on computers - were the number-one cause of data security breaches.


Consumers have filed lawsuits against companies accused of not properly storing or securing customer information. In April, an appeals court reinstated a lawsuit filed against P.F. Chang’s, which alleged the restaurant chain was responsible for a massive data breach. Although the lawsuit was dismissed by a lower court, with the judge finding the plaintiffs did not show actual harm, according to The National Law Journal (4/15/16), a federal appeals court reinstated the lawsuit, finding the plaintiffs had shown plausible injuries.

Among possible compensation plaintiffs could be entitled to were the cost of credit-monitoring services, unreimbursed fraudulent charges and lost points on a debit card.

The lawsuit is Lewert et al. v. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, No. 14-3700, in the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Source:  https://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/articles/data-breach/federal-trade-commission-ftc-javelin-strategy-21469.html?utm_expid=3607522-13.Y4u1ixZNSt6o8v_5N8VGVA.0&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.lawyersandsettlements.com%2Flegal-news-articles%2Finternet-technology-news-articles%2F




Categorized in Internet Technology


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