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A secure relationship with passwords means not being attached to how you pick them

When you are asked to create a password – either for a new online account or resetting login information for an existing account – you’re likely to choose a password you know you can remember. Many people use extremely basic passwords, or a more obscure one they reuse across many sites. Our research has found that others – even ones who use different passwords for each site – have a method of devi...[Read More]

How criminals access your digital devices and what happens when they do

Every day, often multiple times a day, you are invited to click on links sent to you by brands, politicians, friends and strangers. You download apps on your devices. Maybe you use QR codes. Most of these activities are secure because they come from sources that can be trusted. But sometimes criminals impersonate trustworthy sources to get you to click on a link (or download an app) that contai...[Read More]

Is your VPN secure?

About a quarter of internet users use a virtual private network, a software setup that creates a secure, encrypted data connection between their own computer and another one elsewhere on the internet. Many people use them to protect their privacy when using Wi-Fi hotspots, or to connect securely to workplace networks while traveling. Other users are concerned about surveillance from governments an...[Read More]

Research shows most online consumer contracts are incomprehensible, but still legally binding

Most of us will have entered into consumer contracts with large companies and ticked a box to confirm we understand the terms and conditions – without bothering to read the fine print. We accept standard form contracts when using social media, booking flights, opening a bank account, subscribing to a gym or renting a car. In all these cases, companies offer pre-drafted standardised agreements that...[Read More]

Data breaches are inevitable – here’s how to protect yourself anyway

It’s tempting to give up on data security altogether, with all the billions of pieces of personal data – Social Security numbers, credit cards, home addresses, phone numbers, passwords and much more – breached and stolen in recent years. But that’s not realistic – nor is the idea of going offline entirely. In any case, huge data-collection corporations vacuum up data about almost every American (a...[Read More]

The quiet threat inside internet of things devices

As people increasingly buy and install smart devices in their homes, all those cheap interconnected devices create new security problems for individuals and society as a whole. The problem is compounded by businesses radically expanding the number of sensors and remote monitors it uses to manage overhead lights in corporate offices and detailed manufacturing processes in factories. Governments, to...[Read More]

Those pop-up ‘I agree’ boxes aren’t just annoying – they’re potentially dangerous

Have you noticed the increasing number of pop-ups asking you to consent or “agree” when you visit a website? Do you find these annoying and tend to just click accept without reading the policies? So do most people, and here’s why that’s a problem. By “agreeing” to any of these particular policies, you are effectively allowing a website or app to collect various types of data on you that could viol...[Read More]

TikTok: the world’s most valuable startup that you’ve never heard of

Anticipation has long been building about the impending takeover of the tech world by Chinese digital giants like Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, and JD. Efforts so far, however, have been largely disappointing. The most popular messaging app in the West is WhatsApp, not WeChat; people use PayPal, not Alipay, for digital payments; Google dominates the search market, not Baidu. Indeed, Google, Facebook, I...[Read More]

Clean up your cyber-hygiene – 6 changes to make in the new year

Data breaches, widespread malware attacks and microtargeted personalized advertising were lowlights of digital life in 2018. As technologies change, so does the advice security experts give for how to best stay safe. As 2019 begins, I’ve pulled together a short list of suggestions for keeping your digital life secure and free of manipulative disinformation. 1. Set your boundaries and stick to them...[Read More]

3 ways Facebook and other social media companies could clean up their acts – if they wanted to

Facebook is in crisis mode, but the company can take major steps to fix itself – and the global community it says it wants to promote. Facebook founder, CEO and majority shareholder Mark Zuckerberg need not wait for governments to impose regulations. If he and other industry leaders wanted to, they could make meaningful changes fairly quickly. It wouldn’t be painless, but Facebook in particular is...[Read More]

How new media platforms have become powerful across Africa

Online platforms have become an important site for political and social engagement. On the one hand they have been praised for their progressive characteristics. This is because they offer great organising potential, enhance political accountability and disrupt old media practices that tend to exclude less powerful voices from important social and political discussions. On the other hand, they hav...[Read More]

The web really isn’t worldwide – every country has different access

What the internet looks like to users in the U.S. can be quite different from the online experience of people in other countries. Some of those variations are due to government censorship of online services, which is a significant threat to internet freedom worldwide. But private companies – many based in the U.S. – are also building obstacles to users from around the world who want to freely expl...[Read More]

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