TechNotes #9: Need For Speed
One of the most common complaints about computers is that they run too slowly. You click on your web browser expecting to see your home page spring up, and instead you wait a few minutes for it to load. There are a few potential causes for this, but the biggest one is usually "bloatware."
Poor Privacy In Older Facebook Apps
In the last year or so Facebook has been taking some more steps to keep your data private, or at least to make sure it's only shared with the people you intend. But it seems that older apps—installed before the new privacy controls were created—may be giving away more of your data than you would think:
If you've linked your YouTube account, New York Times account, or just about any mobile app to your Facebook profile, you've also installed their app -- and you're sharing your personal information with those companies. But here's the kicker: older Facebook apps appear to also have an all-you-can-eat buffet of access to your friends' personal data, while newer apps have much more limited access.
The developers of these older applications required you to hand over your entire digital identity, and often have access to all of your personal data--including things like marital status, personal photos and videos.
Safe Online Shopping
For many people, the holidays usually mean a lot of online shopping. Unfortunately, with more shopping comes more potential for trouble from scammers and thieves. Here are some links to info to help you stay safe:
McAfee has posted a list of their top 12 popular scams to watch out for. A good general rule is: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
US News & World Report has an article up about shopping safely online. Most of this is good advice for any time of year.
Spear-Phishing Is Getting More Popular
Everyone's probably heard of "phishing" by now, but you may not have heard of spear-phishing.
From Threat Level:
Unlike regular phishing attacks, which involve spamming a message to random users, spear-phishing targets specific individuals or small groups of employees at specific companies. The former are generally designed to steal banking credentials and e-mail passwords from users, while the latter generally focus on gaining access to a system to steal intellectual property and other sensitive data.
Spear-phishing attacks generally come disguised as e-mails that appear to come from trusted sources, such as a company manager or the company’s information technology department. They might contain a malicious attachment or a link to a malicious web site that the recipient is encouraged to click on to obtain important information about a company matter.