The Biggest Security and Privacy Scandals of 2018

privacy and security scandals of 2018

Most Impactful Security and Privacy Scandals of 2018

2018 has seen its fair share of security and privacy scandals, with major leaks from big companies making the front news all throughout the year. So, in this weekly edition of the ZoogVPN Blog, we’ll take a look at the four biggest security and privacy scandals of 2018.

The Facebook – Cambridge Analytica Scandal

The Facebook – Cambridge Analytica scandal was without any doubt the biggest privacy scandal that occurred in 2018. It was much more than just a privacy and security breach, as it became a major political scandal. It erupted in March 2018 and was covered by all major media outlets, and reached front pages of the Guardian and BBC. Read more...

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How to Securely Shop Online on Black Friday

online security and privacy

Black Friday is Almost Here – How to Privately and Securely Shop Online

Black Friday is almost here, so prepare your wallet for some great deals. Over the past few years, online shopping on Black Friday has become very popular. Shopping over the internet is very convenient, and might seem like the safest way of doing business. But, the truth is, it can also put you in risk of losing your money, and even worse, jeopardize your internet privacy and safety. Read this week’s Zlog and find out how you can shop over the internet in complete online security and privacy.

How to Securely Shop Online on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

When it comes to online security, many internet goers are confident in their cyber security knowledge, undertaking only minimal precautionary measures, which often leaves them vulnerable to cybercriminals and hackers who are especially active at this time of year. That’s why you should never leave your online shopping up to chance.

Practice Tight Security and Monitor your Credit Card

Strong password security is always an absolute must. Practice tight security by creating secure and unique passwords for every site you’ll be carrying out your transactions on. You can install browser extensions, password managers and other useful tools. This will not only improve your online security and privacy but will also make it easier for you to manage all of the passwords.

As you start hunting for the best Black Friday deals, it’s important to keep your cool and always keep track of your purchases. This can help you spot potential frauds or security breaches, so you can react in time. Also, it’ll be easier to keep note of any dishonest dealings, as even legitimate businesses can overstate their discounts or charge you with extra fees when completing the transaction.

The Less Information, the Better

If you’ve completed an online purchase or two before, you know that you’ll have to give the website your billing information, address, name and contact info. This is basically all of the information you’re legitimately required to give to them. If a website asks for any additional info that you must provide them with in order to proceed, you’ll be better off canceling your purchase. Never give more information that you’re required and share any of your personal details except the above-mentioned details.

Be careful with Website Links

Lastly, it’s always important to make sure you’re visiting a legitimate site. Before entering any personal information, make sure you’re on the right site by looking in your URL bar. Additionally, if you can, avoid clicking on URL shorteners. Many websites use them, as they are a great way of making long URL’s shorter and easier on the eyes, but these shorteners can also lead you to a scammer-created link.

Use a VPN for Safer Online Shopping

The previously mentioned measures will greatly help in ensuring you’re safe while shopping online, but this one will all but guarantee your privacy and security. Using a VPN you will create an extra layer of security between you and the online world. With a VPN service, you’ll be able to shop from anywhere you want, even on public Wi-Fi networks, without having to worry about your online security and privacy. You will shop knowing that your address is secure and that you can’t be compromised by cybercriminals.

Use a VPN to save money when Shopping Online

Using a VPN will not only guarantee your online security and privacy. It can also save you a lot of money when buying products and services on the internet. Here are just a couple of things you can do to save money on Black Friday by using a VPN:

  • Get Software and Games at lower prices – Software, games and other entertainment products are among the top Black Friday and Cyber Monday sellers. Using a VPN you can access foreign locations to buy it at much lower prices that you would be able to do in your own country. This is possible because the cost of certain products varies drastically based on the location and currency.
  • Unblock Restricted Shopping Websites – Popular online shopping sites like Amazon, eBay, and Target all offer great Black Friday deals every year. Unfortunately, they also restrict their content, allowing only certain regions of the world to access their websites. With a VPN, you’ll easily be able to get around these restrictions and shop at any website of your choice.
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    Top 5 Windows 10 Privacy Issues and How to Protect Against Them

    windows 10

     

    Protect Yourself Against Windows 10 Privacy Issues

     

    Windows 10 is finally here and thousands of PC users from around the world have upgraded their earlier Windows versions in the past couple of months. Experts agree that this is by far the best version of Windows, but this doesn’t mean that we should relax and neglect the possible threats especially when it comes to our privacy.

    Just like every version of this operating system, Windows 10 comes with brand new Service Agreement and Privacy Policy, but unfortunately only a small number of people have spent time reading these documents to the bottom. If you read these documents carefully you will notice that the latest version of Windows, allows Microsoft more control of your private data. In order to avoid any unpleasant situations and to protect your privacy, we have created a list of the 5 most important Windows 10 privacy issues. The good news is that in almost all cases you can protect your PC from these problems.

    1. Cortana is able to monitor your voice commands

    In case you have not heard, Cortana is one of the main reasons why so many people love the latest Windows 10. This is a personalized digital assistant very similar to Siri and Google Now. This is surely something exciting and this feature can ease the work on your PC. However, what can turn to be a great problem is the privacy of data. If you want to get relevant suggestions and improve your user experience, Cortana must gather different data including your current location, information from your calendar, data found in your apps, text messages, emails, calls etc. In addition, Microsoft and Cortana are focused on learning more about your habits – the way you use the device and how frequently you use some other Microsoft applications and services.

    2. Microsoft can reveal your data

    If you read the Privacy Policy that comes with Windows 10 carefully, you will notice some really interesting and daunting things. For instance, there is a paragraph which practically says that Microsoft can access and reveal your data whenever they want to.

    In addition, they will also preserve your personal data like emails, private communications and files that are stored in private folders. Of course, this is only possible only when they feel that “this is for your own good or to protect their product”. Microsoft defends this paragraph by saying that private data might contain evidence of crimes and they had to point out this because this is what the law requires.

    3. The encryption key you get is sent to the OneDrive account without a permission

    If you think about this, you will realize that this is actually quite useful feature. However, you might experience certain problems if OneDrive gets hacked. If the encryption on your device is on, Windows will encrypt the drive and produce a recovery key by default. This recovery key is sent on your OneDrive account without any permission.

    4. Advertisers have access to your activity

    This is another concern among IT security experts. When you become a Windows 10 user, the program makes an original ID for advertising purposes. This ID is available to advertising networks and application developers. In other words, other parties can send you ads based on your private data. They will be able to show targeted ads related to your current location, frequent search terms, content you view etc. It works in a similar way like Google ads or social media ads. Those who don’t want to view these ads can turn off this feature in settings.

    5. Automatic browser history synchronization

    This is something that is mentioned in the Privacy Policy document that we have mentioned before. Once you sign in to your new Windows 10 and use an existing Microsoft account, the OS will synchronize the majority of your data and settings with Microsoft servers automatically. So, you can expect to get your browser history, bookmarks and websites you have used as well as some saved Wi-Fi network access points, saved websites and apps. Users who want to prevent this synchronization can open the settings and turn off the synch your settings option.

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    A Few Simple Steps to Improve Online Security

    Secure Fast VPN

     

    Steps You Can Take to Enhance Your Online Security

     

    The Internet has become the greatest open source of knowledge. People use the Internet to engage in many different online activities. There are countless articles discussing the security threats that come as a result of improper use of social media networks, so people often forget that even a simple browsing of websites hides many risks. In order to fight these online threats and stay safe, each user must take certain steps that can guarantee online anonymity and privacy and protect the devices they use (desktop or laptop computers or mobile devices). In case you don’t follow any advice and you don’t take preventive measures, it is very likely that you will become a victim of a virus or hacking attack and your private information might get compromised. In addition, unauthorized individuals or organizations might analyze your online activity. The following is a list of steps that can provide maximum online security and privacy.

    1. VPN for improved online privacy

    There are many situations in which people use public Wi-Fi hotspots that are free. They can be found everywhere and people feel like they are getting something useful for free. While this is true in most cases, there is a risk that your private data might get exposed. Our devices keep very important things like our personal information, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, passwords etc. Experienced hackers can use a public Wi-Fi to access this information. Such breach of online security can literally change your life. Some hackers use these public Wi-Fi spots to access other people’s devices while others create fake hotspots. This is where a good VPN or virtual private network can help.

    VPN creates a secure encrypted tunnel which allows safe use of the Internet without the worries of hacking attacks. There is no way for hackers to hack into a VPN. Another reason why VPN is a popular solution is the fact that even your ISP (internet service provider) can’t view your online activity, something that they are able to do when you don’t use VPN. The only thing that they can see is whether you are online or not. VPN is great for those who want to access certain geo-limited streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, HBO Go, CBS All Access, BBC iPlayer etc. There are many VPN service providers, but you need to stick to the ones that have proven to provide high quality service like zoogvpn.

    With ZoogVPN you will keep the same speed of your connection and you will be completely safe from online threats.

    2. Use two-step authentication

    Regular security is not enough today. That’s why more and more people use two-step authentication. There are many apps that can help you create this type of protection and use it in popular software solutions like Dropbox, LastPass, Google Drive etc. In some cases you can get double online security for your social media accounts too.

    3. Use cloud storage carefully

    While it is true that cloud storage is one of the best things that have happened in the IT world in the past decade, it is also true that this might not be the safest solution for storing data (although it is the most convenient one). You should be very careful what kind of information you are leaving to these apps. Google Drive, Dropbox, SkyDrive are some of the popular cloud storage options and most of them are free. However, what only a small percentage of people know is that most of these services keep the data you share even when you delete it. So, if you want to avoid any unpleasant situations, make sure that you are not storing some very sensitive information and files on these storage services and try to use encrypted storage whenever this option is available. This practice might cost you a certain amount of money, but remember that your online privacy is in question.

    By following these steps, you will be able to secure your online activities. Government agencies and your ISP won’t be able to monitor your activity, hackers won’t be able to steal your information and access your devices and on top of that, you will gain access to geo-limited websites and services.

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    Top 5 Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Hacking and Cyber Attack

    talk talk hacked - are you safe from hacking and cyber attacks

    Are You Safe from Hacking and Cyber Attacks?

    The rapid progress of technology has significantly influenced the telecommunications industry. In the past two decades, there were a lot of companies working in this field that have become very popular.

    One of these companies is TalkTalk Telecom Group plc or simply – TalkTalk. They provide pay television, internet access, telecommunications and mobile services to consumers and businesses in the UK. Millions of users from the UK are using TalkTalk and their net income in 2015 was around 72 million pounds.

    A few days ago, TalkTalk users witnessed a significant cyber attack conducted by a group of hackers. During this incident, the personal and banking information of more than 4 million users have been compromised. At first, the security team of TalkTalk thought that this was some kind of technical problem, but they later receive a ransom demand from an unknown organization. There were users that said that the criminals have attacked them before. It is still unclear whether the problem is solved and TalkTalk claims that the number of accounts that have been compromised is probably lower.

    At the same time they urge their users to check their bank accounts on a regular basis and to report any suspicious calls related to their TalkTalk subscription. The incident with TalkTalk users has confirmed that cyber attacks and hacking are possible, even in 2015 despite the security measures taken by telecommunication companies. That’s why it is the best idea for the users to learn how to actively protect themselves from this type of attacks.

    The following is a list of Top 5 Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Hacking and Cyber Attack.

    1. Take care of your passwords

    Almost every membership website or program we use requires a password. This means that an average person that uses the Internet on a regular basis has to type (or use) the password on at least 5 websites/apps a day. Many people choose the same password for all these places and this is certainly not a good practice. Experts suggest the use of different password for every app/website and they also advise changing the password every couple of months. In addition, the password should be longer and contain more than just letters. It might be a good idea to keep your passwords written down in a notebook.

    2. Anti-virus software

    Most computers and mobile devices today come with anti-virus software. However, in case your device doesn’t have anti-virus software or you believe that there is a better anti=virus solution out there, you must perform a thorough research and purchase the right one for you. A computer that contains a virus or some other malicious software/file is prone to cyber attacks. Make sure that the anti-virus definitions are updated regularly. It is good to know that there is another form of malicious apps that can ease the work of hackers. Spyware and adware are not really viruses, but they can often lead to them. There are some good anti-adware and spyware tools you can integrate in your browser and these tools will make your surfing experience much safer.

    3. VPN

    VPN or Virtual Private Network is another excellent tool for those who want to avoid being a victim of hacking and cyber attack. A good VPN will completely mask your IP address making it untraceable for hackers that want to log on your device. This solution uses a special tunnel that connects your device to a server located in another country. In this way you will get maximum protection, bypass geo-restrictions and stay anonymous.

    4. Be careful with the emails you receive

    The scams with “Nigerian princes” and other similar scams are not working today, but hackers have become more sophisticated. They can easily mask their email addresses (by changing only one letter in the email) and they can manipulate with internet users. Some of them are sending viruses through these emails. When you receive a suspicious mail from an unknown source it is better to delete it.

    5. Back up your data

    There are many ways in which you can back up your data. It doesn’t really matter which option you will choose – what matters is that your data will remain protected even if you experience a hacking or cyber attack.

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