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A Podcast on Computer Security & Privacy for Non-Techies

A Podcast on Computer Security & Privacy for Non-Techies
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A Podcast on Computer Security & Privacy for Non-Techies






Ghost on the Wire

Last month Australia passed a sweeping surveillance law, quickly and without meaningful debate, called the Assistance and Access Act. Like the UK's Investigatory Powers Act of 2016. this law aims to give authorities unprecedented power to force makers of messaging services to break their software and lie to their users. Danny O'Brien, International Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, helps us understand the true implications of these law and why they are truly harmful to...


Google is Watching You

Just because you're not paranoid doesn't mean they're not following you. A new study finds that Android phones tattle on you up to 340 times a day.


2019 Security & Privacy New Years Resolutions

It's that time of year again - time to make your New Years Resolutions! You know all those really important things I've been telling you to do, but you haven't done? Well, I'm listing out the top ones on today's show - and challenging each of you to check them off this year! There's also a lot of news to catch you up on: why the green padlock symbol doesn't mean what you think it does, an update on the SuperMicro computer spy chips, fitness apps stealing $120 from its users, scammers calling...


Replacing Your Plastic Driver’s License

Several US states are trialing programs to replace the venerable plastic driver's license card with a new smartphone app. Unlike the "dumb" physical cards, the app would always be up to date. One study showed that 77% of all US adults have a smartphone. If you're an adult under the age of 30, that percentage jumps to 94%. But as our guest, Chad Marlow, explains this is a solution in search of a problem. It comes with significant risks for both privacy and democracy. Guest Info: Chad Marlow...


Ads Are Tracking You in the Real World, Too

It's bad enough that online ads are watching us, but now billboards and other real world ads are watching us, too. Using video cameras and signals from our smart devices, marketers are tailoring their billboards and digital signage based on our appearance and even our identity. Sean O'Brien from Yale Privacy Lab explains how this is done and the significant privacy implications of this practice. He'll also tell you how you to protect our privacy. Sean O'Brien is a Lecturer in Law at Yale Law...


Marriott’s Massive Data Breach

Marriott reports this week that it has exposed up to 500 million Starwood guests’ data going back as far as 2014. Affected hotels include Sheraton, Westin, W Hotels, Starwood timeshares and more, While it’s still not clear how much data may have been stolen, what is clear is that corporations are still not guarding their data properly. In today’s show, I’ll tell you what sort of customer information was vulnerable and what you can do to protect yourself. In other news, Ford’s CEO voices...


Lock Down Your Privacy on Your Mobile Devices

Our mobile phones today are chock full of private information and are constantly tattling about our whereabouts and activities. Most phones today have GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, motion detectors, magnetic field detectors, microphones, cameras, and of course cellular radios. Some even have facial recognition built right in. With all this personal data and telemetry information, is it even possible to prevent tracking and information leakage? Today we discuss these topics and more with Daniel Davis...


The Best & Worst Gifts for 2018

The gift-giving season is once again upon us! “Smart” devices make great presents, but you want to make sure that you’re not also giving a gift to the hackers out there! In this special, annual holiday episode, I’ll tell you about some of the best and the worst holiday gifts and accessories, from a security and privacy viewpoint. Thinking about giving someone a DNA analysis kit? You might want to think twice! Which computers and smart devices are the most secure? And are there products I can...


Phone Scammers Are Spoofing Your Caller ID

Just because the caller ID says it’s the IRS or the Social Security Administration, don’t believe it. It’s almost surely a scammer trying to get your money or information. Government agencies don’t call people to confirm information in their records about you or with threats if you don’t pay up. And the caller ID information you see often has no relation whatsoever to who is actually calling or where they’re calling from. In today’s episode, I’ll tell you how to handle these scammer calls....


Why You Should Care About the Future of Computing

Your physical world is governed by many laws and regulations that protect your freedom and privacy. Why should the digital world be any different? Todd Weaver, CEO and Found of Purism, explains how Big Tech managed to write the rules for the digital world and why those rules are at odds with your freedom, security and privacy. But it doesn’t have to be this way. As citizens, we can force those representing us to protect our digital civil rights. As consumers, we have options for computers...


Marketers Are Tracking You On and Off the Web

We all know how marketers are tracking our every move on the world wide web. But now they’re starting to track you in the real world, too. Security cameras exist everywhere, but companies have now decided to add facial recognition software to those systems in order to track where you go, what you look at, who you’re with and how effective their ads are. I’ll also tell you why the Firefox browser is taking bold new steps to protect your web browsing privacy and how Apple’s CEO Tim Cook...


The Fight for Net Neutrality is Far from Over

The reports of net neutrality’s death have been greatly exaggerated. We still have time for Congress to reinstate the federal rules that were struck down by the FCC. In the meantime, states like California are taking matters into their own hands, passing landmark state-level legislation to preserve a level playing field on the Internet. Ernesto Falcon from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) explains why Net Neutrality is not dead and how states are stepping in to try to fill the gap....


Did China Implant Spy Chips in Our Computers?

Bloomberg claims that Chinese manufacturers have implanted tiny spy chips into many of our computer systems. Apple, Amazon and others strenuously deny this. Who’s telling the truth? In today’s show, I’ll cover both sides of this story, discuss the various ways in which our global manufacturing and supply chain systems could be compromised, and delve into the several deeper considerations for these sorts of stories. In other news, Facebook has lowered its estimate of the number of users...


How to Protect Yourself From Ransomware

Ransomware, the malware that locks up your data and hold it for ransom, has been growing by leaps and bounds in the past few years, WHY? Because it works. Hackers trick you into installing the malware which encrypts your most precious files and demands that you pay Bitcoin to get the key that unlocks them. It’s like a burglar broke into your house and put all your valuables in a safe in your living room, demanding payment for the combination. Allan Liska explains why ransomware has become a...


Big Companies Behaving Badly: The Facebook Breach Explained

Between 50 and 90 million Facebook users’ accounts were exposed, appearing to give hackers full access as if they were logged in as you. Facebook has fixed the bug, but it’s not yet clear whose accounts may have been compromised. In other news, researchers have determined that Facebook is using your security contact information and information shared by others you know to target you with ads. In other privacy news, Google’s Chrome browser version 69 will automatically log you into the...


Now Is the Time to Freeze Your Credit

One of the best ways to avoid identity fraud is to freeze your credit reports. Thanks to a new law that just went into effect, freezing and unfreezing your credit is now completely free! Freezing your credit will prevent fraudsters from opening new loans and credit cards in your name, sticking you with the bill. When you actually need to open new credit, you can temporarily thaw your account (also free). I’ll tell you how. In other news, hackers have found flaws in two different government...


Prying Yourself From Google’s Clutches

Did you know that Google owns Android, Waze, YouTube, Pixel phones and Chromebooks? Did you know that almost 90% of Google’s revenue comes from advertising? There’s hardly any part of your online life that isn’t somehow tracked by Google. By using Google’s email, calendar, docs, search, browser, cloud storage and even phones, we are allowing Google to know just about everything about us. But there are viable alternatives that will respect your privacy. Daniel Davis from DuckDuckGo (a search...


🎧 The Tale of Ma Bell and Big Brother

AT&T is operating top secret Internet monitoring facilities for the NSA in the heart of 8 major US cities according to a blockbuster report from The Intercept. Sitting on top of major digital communications arteries, these surveillance systems can track and record most communications within the US as well as many outside our physical borders. David Ruiz from the Electronic Frontier Foundation explains why these sorts of systems go way beyond the foreign spying mandate of the NSA and hoover...


🎧 It’s Time to Fix Our Election Systems (Again)

The 2018 DEFCON Vote Hacking Village showed once again that our voting machines are way too easy to hack. Even though election system manufacturers refuse to allow independent researchers to vet their products directly, hackers at DEFCON have managed to get their hands on several systems in use today, and show that they are trivial to compromise. Jacob Hoffman-Andrews from the EFF explains what all of this means and the measures we need to take to address these shortcomings. The PAVE Act...


🎧 Facebook’s Virtual Private Network is Not Private

Facebook’s “Protect” Virtual Private Network is anything but “private”. Facebook has been using this VPN to monitor all of your web surfing, adding even more information about its users to its colossal database. Apple removed the app from it’s App Store due to violations of its recently upgraded privacy policies. You should delete the app from your phone and use a better VPN. In other news, banks are using 2,000 data points about how you tap, swipe, type, click and move to try to prevent...