Tag Archives: google

Managing Your Financial Security in the Era of Google Wallet

New financial services can keep you secure, or put you at risk

Tech bloggers fantasize about the days when wallets will be obsolet e— all your business cards, photos, credit cards, and ID will be stored on your smartphone.

While this can make your financial life more risky, it can actually be a more secure way to do business with the right precautions—after all, you can’t password-protect your wallet. Here are a few ways you can turn your phone into a secure financial tool.

Keep your phone password protected

If this seems like a no-brainer, you’re on the right track; increasingly, smartphones have become the main access point for our personal and financial information, and the most minimal security you can apply is password protection. It won’t interfere with your ability to accept incoming calls (although, if you really want to lock your phone up tight, you can require a PIN even to answer the phone), and it can be an effective way to keep your credit card information secure. The odds of guessing a random 4-digit PIN are 1 in 10,000, which will at least give you time to shut down your phone if it’s lost or stolen.

Of course, you should never use your bank PIN, your birthday, or digits from your Social Security number.

Change your bank password every three months

While attempts at “brute force” password guessing are rare, they happen; and they’re a lot easier to accomplish if you give identity thieves time to work on your password. By changing your password every three months, you make long-term efforts to guess your password much more difficult.

Use longer, easy-to-remember passwords

Unfortunately, much of our received wisdom on the strength of passwords is inaccurate. While including uppercase letters, numerals, and symbols can increase your password strength to some extent, the best way to strengthen your password is simply to make it longer, because each additional character in your password makes it 26 times more difficult to guess. Of course, a gibberish password of the same length will be more secure, but you’ll likely be tempted to write it down, which is the easiest way to make all that effort useless.

Keep track of all apps with which you’ve shared financial information

If you’re sharing bank information with Amazon, the App Store, Mint, etc. for mobile payments, you should be sure that you know exactly what you’ve shared with each one. Check each app’s terms of service and privacy policy, if there is one. Of course, if they don’t have a privacy policy or legal documentation, you shouldn’t share any personal information.

Have a shutdown app in case you lose your phone

There are several apps available for Android and iOS devices that allow you to remotely lock down your phone if it’s lost or stolen. You can change your password, shut down your phone, or even wipe your phone’s memory completely, with a single call. Most of these options require a security subscription, so you should weigh whether the information on your phone is sensitive enough to warrant that kind of protection; but if you’re a small-business owner with sensitive work information on your phone or tablet, it might be worth the price.

Be very careful about jailbreaking your phone

The trouble with jailbreaking phones is that it provides quite a lot of code in which malware can hide. The safest option, of course, is to leave it alone completely; but if you’re determined, here are a few tips to keep your data more secure.

  • Don’t download a jailbreak from a source you don’t trust.
  • To be safe, you should reset your phone to manufacturer settings before even attempting a jailbreak.
  • Before allowing someone else to jailbreak your phone, make sure you know where they’re getting their code.

Shawna Davies is a staff writer for Going Cellular. She has a talent for organization and helping people navigate new technology. She’s a confessed gadget freak, but when she gets out of the house, she loves spending time at the lake with her husband and teenage son. They live in Beaumont, Texas.

The views and opinions expressed in this guest post
are those of the author and may or may not reflect the views
and opinions of IdentityTheftSecrets, it’s staff, affiliates,
or partners.

Google privacy policy changes and how to protect your online privacy

Google’s new privacy changes take effect March 1 and if you haven’t read them yet you should.  You can find them online here.  Here is a little summary of what these policy changes mean for Google services users.

Google states:

  • If you’re signed in, we may combine information you’ve provided from one service with information from other services.  (Sort of like how Facebook is now working with services like Yahoo to automatically post content to your timeline sharing what you have read).
  • We can make search better – but that means storing your private information and pulling from it for everything from calendars to search topics (have you noticed the Google auto find feature where you start to type a word or phrase and it finishes it for you for example)
  • We don’t sell your personal information, nor do we share it externally without your permission except in very limited circumstances like a valid court order.

Here is their simple explanation video . . .

I highly recommend reading their privacy policy in full which explains exactly what happens with communications, services, searches, user information and cookies.

If this concerns you there are some steps that you can take to protect your online privacy.  The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) offers these six steps for protecting your online privacy, and they are very good pieces of advice.  They also demonstrate how to take these steps.  These steps include:

  • Don’t include personal information in your search terms.  Have you “Googled” yourself?  That’s one way to create a “roadmap” right back to you.
  • Don’t use your ISP’s search engine.
  • Avoid logging in and using your search engine (whether it is Yahoo, Bing or Google)
  • Block cookies (and they will tell you how)
  • Vary your IP address (which is a lot simpler than it sounds)
  • And using anonymizing software.
What steps can you take right now to protect your online privacy as the new privacy policies take affect?
1)  Don’t log in to use the tools from Google.  You can always log in later to get to the other tools you want like docs, mail, calendar and blogger.
2) Next you can . . .
Sign into your Google account. Google.com
Select “remove all web history”
At the prompt select “OK”
This pauses your Google Web History. However, it does not stop Google from collecting your web history information  and using it for internal purposes or providing it to law enforcement officials.

Why is this important?
Your online privacy is important.  The majority of identity theft personas are created using bits and pieces of a real person’s information.  Also, your online actions should be, your actions, not the ads or actions that some one else wants to steer you towards.
Last but not least,  consider this . . . I write articles. Sometimes that means doing research on some pretty questionable topics like “Spice” or Bottle Bombs.”  These are not so I can indulge in these activities, but  to share with other parents this information.  How does the search engine know this?  How do law enforcement know this?
Why not take a few minutes to take those steps that can protect your online privacy as much as you can?  What have you got to lose?

Staying Safe while Sharing Content Online

AARP and Google have joined together to provide help, hints and tips for staying safer online. In this video, “Sharing Content Online Safely, AARP and Google expert Maile Ohye discusses the most important tool to keep you safe when sharing pictures, images, and videos online

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Password Safety Hints: From Google and AARP

During this time of the year people are busy shopping and banking on line. How can you protect your passwords and user names effectively while making the most of online shopping, travel and even news services? Find out what tips AARP and Google Privacy have teamed up to offer.

Continue reading Password Safety Hints: From Google and AARP

What’s Posted about You Online and Do You Really Want it There?

Have you ever Googled or used other search engines to find out what is posted on-line about you? What if you don’t like what you find? What do you do?

Continue reading What’s Posted about You Online and Do You Really Want it There?