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  • Jane Wheeler

Tech Savvy - PLEASE Protect Yourself!

It is a different world out there! No matter what we do we leave a trail - just like little red riding hood and the big bad wolf is lurking at the door, just waiting....

I have been gleaning little bits of techie news and was not sure what to do with this info and then the light bulb went off – why not share this info on my blog.

A few years ago I trained with Volunteer Services with the RCMP. One of the requirements that both RCMP Members and Volunteer Services are given is that they are not allowed to be on Facebook. They told us that the info we put onto Facebook is not private. The basic concept is that Facebook gives you a piece of “real estate” on their site for free –and as we all know “free” is not really real in most things. Facebook uses your info and hackers use Facebook to get personal information about you. Do not put your real birthday or personal info onto Facebook. I found a lot of people did not believe me when I tried to share this but if you keep reading this is way bigger than that!

I am sure some of you are more technical savvy then myself so the info I share might not be totally new but I am hoping some of it is certainly helpful.

Another tip I got was from the school board techie guy who came out to rescue me in the library with a computer issue. He informed me how to know if a website is “secure” especially if it is for banking or paying info or buying products online.

I had always wondered why some websites started with http:// and some started with https:// Well he informed me that the “s” means “secure”.

The other thing he pointed out was to look for the little green padlock before the https:// I was not even aware there was a little green padlock.

Both of those things mean the site is “secure”.

He said that a true professional hacker can get into most anything but that websites with the “s” and “padlock” makes your personal information so scrambled it is almost impossible to decipher it.

Brian and I like to watch tv shows that portray the authorities able to track people and hack into their personal lives with ease. You hear rumors that this is “real” or the other rumor that no one can “possibly do that - it is just for tv."

I never really knew the answer until I watched a twenty minute video on CBC Marketplace - "are your apps spying on you” January 6, 2017 episode, and then that most of us have even given them permission to do it!

WOW – what an eye opener – please for your personal and financial self – take the time to watch this video. Can hackers know all about you? - You Bet! They can take your picture with your own phone, they can listen in at any time, they can empty your bank account, lock you out of your own phone, house, car – depending what apps you have on your phone. They do just that on the CBC Marketplace video - they did an experiment to see what kind of info they could randomly get - the results are shocking!

One of the current “trends” I heard about from the police is a term called “jacking”. It is the current thing – hackers can access your phone and while they might not be able to get into your bank account – they will lock you out of your phone. Since many of us now turn our furnaces off/on with the phone, start our car, buy tickets – for a small fee the hackers will unlock your phone so you can regain access to your items. They basically hold your phone hostage until you pay.

There is no such thing as “free” apps – ask yourself why is a company giving me a “free” app? It comes with strings, Facebook, Twitter, Snap Chat – all of these have the ability to give out your information. Each of these apps comes with a Disclaimer, Contract, Legal Notice explaining what the company, who is providing the app, will do with your information. Most of us do not read those terms – hence the problem.

After watching the Marketplace video we were going through our phones – Brian wanted to know why his Sky View – star watcher app needed access to his photos. We had not noticed this before.

Read on to find out why……………………………….

The other thing you need to know is that there is no government legislation controlling this stuff – not in Canada.

Must watch Marketplace video: (copy this link and put it into the bar at the top of your computer) or you can look at the CBC Marketplace Facebook Page.

Follow it up with a 2nd CBC Marketplace video on protecting your phone:

My son told me about a Documentary on Netflix called Citizenfour that is blowing the whistle on this kind of domestic spying being done by the USA's National Security Agency. Edward Snowden the whistle blower now has to live in Russia in fear for his life and threats from the US government.

Be Safe Everyone and Protect Yourself!

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