Cyber Security Today- Applications accused of harvesting user data, NFL teams boot social media security and hacking gang members arrested
Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday January 29th. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for ITWorldCanada.com.
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Data privacy is on the minds of businesses this week because of the annual International Data Privacy Day. But that hasn’t stopped the flow of unfortunate news. The Electronic Frontier Foundation says the Android app for Amazon’s Wi-Fi Ring doorbell and security camera system quietly sends a lot of user information to data analysis and tracking companies, including Facebook. One company gets the user’s name and address. The Foundation says there’s enough information for other companies to figure out what each Ring owner does online. The Foundation has already complained that Ring partners with police departments to promote its system.
What else captures and sends out your data? The free version of Avast anti-virus. According to a joint investigation by PC Magazine and Motherboard, Avast captures a user’s browsing history and sends it to a sister company that sells the data. Now, the data is supposed to be scrubbed of any identifiable information like the user’s name or email address. However, the investigators found it does include a device identification number that can be tracked back to every user. Companies with huge piles of data — like Amazon or Google — could figure out who you are from the Avast browsing data. That’s a worry for people who browse porn, gambling or certain health-related sites. The article quotes Avast as saying it no longer captures and sells data from its browser extension. However, it says browsing data is still collected from the Avast and AVG antivirus applications. PCMag no longer recommends Avast Free Antivirus as an Editor’s Choice.