If you hate email trackers, block them now

I think it’s totally up to me whether I decide to open an email or not. But apparently, others are not of the same opinion. That’s why they use mail tracking applications, a breed of software that will let the sender of an email know when you read their message.

I find it invasive, even more offending than link trackers (most mail trackers track links as well). And as it happens, most—but not all—of the tracked emails I receive are of little value. That’s why I block mail trackers and let their users think their emails were never opened.

So if you find email tracking creepy, here’s what you need to know about how it works and how you can stop it. Continue reading

Advertisements

How to protect your data against ISP snooping

As internet privacy continues to unravel, it is becoming more and more evident that you’re on your own to protect your data against the many parties that are looking to hoard it. Perhaps one of the most pervasive collectors of data are Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the same companies that connect you to the internet.

ISPs have a huge stake in collecting data, mostly in selling it to advertisers to serve more targeted ads. And they’re in the best position to do so with wild abandon, without fear of retribution.

But a lot more than your preferences can be inferred from your internet traffic, including your health conditions and political orientation among others. Continue reading

What is phishing and spear phishing?

One of the most basic practices every cybersecurity guide will recommend is not to click on links and attachments contained in emails coming from unknown sources, and to think twice even if they come from seemingly trustworthy sources.

You think it’s unnecessary caution? Ask John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential elections campaign. This is exactly how he (or the operator of his email account) gave away his accounts credentials to hackers. The breach led to a series of damaging and embarrassing leaks which might have cost his boss her chance of becoming president. Continue reading

What is encryption?

The main takeaway from the buildup of developments in the cybersecurity landscape is that privacy is becoming a commodity. The CIA is spying on your phone. Hackers are breaking into your home. Your documents, emails, messages, can be intercepted. And Congress is empowering ISPs to pry into your communications.

Long story short, nothing remains secret.

Under such circumstances, encryption becomes your best friend, your last line of defense in protecting your information. Continue reading

After the CIA leaks, cybersecurity should be everyone’s business

Last week, WikiLeaks dropped a bombshell on intelligence agencies by publishing a trove of classified documents dubbed “Vault 7.” The revelations gave a damning account of government surveillance powers and hacking capabilities.

It was also a testament to how vulnerable the increasing number of Internet-connected devices we own can make us. And if you think you shouldn’t worry about what hacking capabilities the feds have, think again. Three-letter-agencies aren’t the only ones who are looking for security holes in hardware and software.

As with every hack that makes noise, the Vault 7 leak is associated with new facts, old misunderstandings and some very important lessons. Here’s what you need to know about the latest batch of information that WikiLeaks has spilled into cyberspace. Continue reading

Artificial Intelligence has problems to fix

Artificial intelligence machine learning

While much of what you read and hear about Artificial Intelligence will turn out to be hype (that’s the case with practically every new, disruptive technology), there’s no denying that AI and machine learning will have an important role to play in how different industries and aspects of life and society around us will take shape in the coming years.

The trends and facts are certainly in favor of the AI fever. 2016 saw an explosion of funding and acquisition of AI startups. During the same year, Artificial Intelligence mastered many skills that were supposedly the exclusive domain of human intelligence, including a complicated board game, fighting (and causing) cyberthreats, and playing computer games—among others. Continue reading

What is Full-Disk Encryption (FDE)?

Full-Disk Encryption

If you think someone without your desktop login won’t be able to access your computer’s files, think again. Anyone with mediocre IT skills can take your your hard disk, plug it as a secondary drive to another computer, and extract your files.

So how can you protect your files from hackers?

One option would be to encrypt your sensitive files manually or avoid storing them on your computer altogether and lock them away in a safe cloud. An alternative is to use Full-Disk Encryption (FDE), a technique that scrambles everything stored on your computer and makes it only accessible to the person with the decryption key. Continue reading