How to Prevent Ransomware from Stealing Your Files

Interesting reading:

The latest malware (malevolent software) is called Petya or Petrwrap. It appears to be a more vicious version of the earlier WannaCry problem that caused so much damage to Windows systems. Petya is expected to be worse.

Both are versions of “ransomware,” products that lock up your files and block you from accessing your own information until you pay a ransom. The thieves then promise to unlock the files and restore your access once you pay the ransom. Unfortunately, experience has shown the thieves often simply take the money and then disappear. The files typically never get unlocked.

Fortunately, there are several methods to restore your files without paying a ransom if, and only if, you are properly prepared in advance of the problem.

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The CIA’s Creepy Method of Tracking Your Location

How many people specifically know where you are right now? Some friends and family? Your coworkers, maybe? If you’re using a Windows laptop or PC you could add another group to the list: the CIA.

New documents released on Wednesday as part of WikiLeaks’ series of CIA hacking revelations detail a method the agency uses to geolocate computers and the people using them. The agency infects target devices with malware that can then check which public Wi-Fi networks a given computer can connect to at a given moment, as well as the signal strengths of those networks. From there, the malware compares the list of available Wi-Fi options to databases of public Wi-Fi networks to figure out roughly where the device is.

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Australians Provide Fake Names Amid Census Privacy Fears

In the 2016 census, many Australians provided fake names and withheld their date of birth. A sharp drop in the number of respondents allowing authorities to keep their data archived for 99 years was also noted.

The first batch of data from last year’s bungled census was released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Tuesday with authorities insisting the information collected is useful. Privacy concerns plagued the half-billion-dollar exercise in the lead up to Census night on August 9 with several politicians, including independent senator Nick Xenophon, vowing to risk a $180-a-day fine by refusing to provide their names and addresses.

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Facebook Is Telling Your Friends Where You Are at All Times

Facebook’s “Nearby Friends” will show you the precise neighborhood your Facebook friends are located in when nearby as well as display the location of friends who are currently traveling. Luckily, you can turn off this feature to maintain privacy.

If you care about your online privacy, you have two different options to choose from:

  1. Stop using Facebook (and Snapchat, which has a similar offering)
  2. Read and follow the instructions at: http://time.com/money/4831793/facebook-turn-off-nearby-friends-snapchat-map/

Keep Your Identity Secret with a Fake Identity for Online Accounts

There is no law that says you have to use our real name online. For most web browsing, you can use a fake name, address, or phone number. This can be an effective method of blocking “tracking” and other methods of corporate spying that is designed to steal your personal information.

NOTE: don’t give fake details for legally-binding accounts, which could constitute fraud!

To create a new persona that won’t giving away your personal details, use the Fake Name Generator at http://www.fakenamegenerator.com/ to create a false name, address, phone number, birthday, financial details, and more.

What is the Future of Privacy, Surveillance and Policing Technologies under Trump?

“But Mr. Trump, with the power of the presidency and executive branch as a whole at his fingertips, has said little of how he intends to approach the authority he now wields over the country’s surveillance policies. As developing policing technologies continue to outpace laws restricting their use, and as Mr. Trump and top members of his administration like Attorney General Jeff Sessions take a hard line against illegal immigration, terrorism and crime, experts in constitutional law and civil liberties fear the lack of an accompanying conversation on privacy protections could contribute to the erosion of Fourth Amendment rights.

“The Fourth Amendment guarantees the ‘right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.'”

The full article by Kathryn Watson of CBS News may be found at http://cbsn.ws/2s1g8DB.