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Clean out your old accounts – or face this peril

According to a digital privacy expert, forgotten accounts can be even less secure than the active ones – but still contain sensitive data

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If you’ve been using the Internet for many years now, you’ve probably forgotten how many different accounts you’ve created. However, old accounts pose a real threat, as there’s a big chance they store a lot of sensitive data. If one of your old accounts is leaked, it can become an open door for cybercriminals to hack into your email, Facebook, and even computer or smartphone.

“News about data breaches and leaks are starting to feel like a common thing. And even though we tend to care about our most important accounts, we usually forget that those we barely use also contain sensitive information,” says Daniel Markuson, a digital privacy expert at NordVPN. “An important thing to remember is that consequences that follow a breach usually are not immediate. It can take months or even years until cybercriminals start using this data to access other websites where the same login details have been used.”

Markuson points to the website haveibeenpwned.com, run by cybersecurity expert Troy Hunt, which allows users to discover where they have accounts that have been hacked. It now lists 8,506,873,299 accounts and 555,278,657 passwords that have been compromised in a data breach. 

“Those huge numbers mean that if you’ve ever had an account online, at some point, your data was probably exposed in a breach,” he says.

Markuson suggests these tips on how to clean up your digital history and stay safe online.

Make a list of all your old online accounts and start deleting them. Google your name, surname, and nickname you usually use online. There’s a high chance you’ll be surprised to see on how many different social media pages and forums your name appears. Go one-by-one and try deleting the ones you are not using anymore. It might be more difficult than it seems, and this process will require patience.

Another way to find your old accounts is checking your email and password manager. Try typing in the keyword “account” in your email-search. Most probably, it will show old emails containing registration confirmations.

Find all accounts linked to your social media or email. Connecting various social media accounts, services, websites, and apps seems convenient. However, quite often, we do not realize how many permissions we grant to third parties. We freely give out our sensitive information to these apps and websites, and it stays there, even if we no longer use the service.

It is recommended to review which of your accounts are linked, what permissions you’ve given out, and rethink whether you are happy about that or not. Most importantly, revoke access to websites and apps that you no longer use.

Revise privacy settings and check accounts for sensitive data. Most social media platforms and forums have adjustable privacy settings. However, they are usually set to default, so you have to enable the ones you want. Be strict about what information you share. Remove all personal details from your profile, such as email, phone number, home address, or vacation plans shared on blogs, forums, and social networks.

While online, it is advised to remain vigilant. Don’t become too emotional in forums and refrain from participating in heated discussions. This often brings more harm than good, as cyberbullying is becoming prevalent in social media.

If you decide to keep your accounts, make sure to change passwords. Don’t forget to change all of your passwords, even your Wi-Fi password at home. Most importantly, never reuse the same password for several accounts and make sure all of your passwords are very strong. A reliable password usually includes letters, symbols, and numbers.

Finally, check haveibeenpwned.com to see if your email and password have been compromised in a data breach before.

Use online security tools, especially if you don’t want to think about digital security. Many of us would better spend our days thinking about plenty of other much more interesting  things than cybersecurity. If you don’t want to think about that, you need to use digital security tools.

A few of the most important ones are a password manager, which helps you to have the safest passwords; an antivirus and firewall, which help you to avoid malware and a VPN, which secures your browsing.

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GoFundMe hits R9bn in donations for people and causes

The world’s largest social fundraising platform has announced that Its community has made more than 120-million donations

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GoFundMe this week released its annual Year in Giving report, revealing that its community has donated more than 120-million times, raising over $9-billion for people, causes, and organisations since the company’s founding in 2010.

In a letter to the GoFundMe community, CEO Rob Solomon emphasised how GoFundMe witnesses not only the good in people worldwide, but their generosity and their action every day.

“As we enter a new decade, GoFundMe is committed to spreading compassion and empathy through our platform,” said Solomon in the letter. “Together, we can bring more good into the world and unlock the power of global giving.”

The GoFundMe giving community continues to grow with both repeat donors and new donors. In fact, nearly 60% of donors were new this year. After someone makes a donation, they continue to engage with the community and give to multiple causes. In fact, one passionate individual donated 293 times to 234 different fundraisers in this past year alone. Donations are made every second, ranging from $5 to $50,000. This year, more than 40% of donations were under $50.

GoFundMe continues to be a mirror of current events across the globe. This year, young changemakers started the Fridays for Futuremovement to fight climate change, which led to a 60% increase in fundraiser descriptions mentioning ‘climate change’. Additionally, the community rallied together to support one another during natural disasters like Hurricane Dorian and the California wildfires, where thousands of fundraisers were started to help those in need.

The report includes a snapshot of giving trends from the year based on global GoFundMe data. It also includes company milestones from 2019, such as launching the company’s non-profit and advocacy arm, GoFundMe.org, and introducing GoFundMe Charity, which provides enterprise software with no subscription fees or contracts to charities of every size.

Highlights from GoFundMe’s 2019 Year in Giving report include:

  • Global giving trends and data
  • Top 10 most generous countries
  • Top 10 most generous U.S. states and cities
  • Biggest moments in 2019

To view the entire report, visit: www.gofundme.com/2019

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For users, in-car touchscreens ever more useless

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As touchscreens become more commonplace, the gulf of perceived differences in the performance of these features between cars and other devices (such as mobile and in-home) has become wider. A new report from the In-Vehicle UX (IVX) group at Strategy Analytics has investigated car owners’ satisfaction with their on-board touchscreens. Long hamstrung by poor UX and extended production cycles, in-car touchscreens are seen by car users and buyers as lagging behind the experience offered by touchscreens outside the car. As such, consumer satisfaction has continued to slide in China and Europe, while reaching historic lows in the US.

Surveying consumers in the US, Western Europe, and China via web-survey, key report findings include:

  • Difficult text entry and excessive fingerprint smudging are common complaints among all car owners.
  • Because touchscreens have reached market saturation in the US, satisfaction with in-car screens has tailed off significantly.
  • However, touchscreens remain a relatively newer phenomenon in many car models in Western Europe (compared with the US) and thus their limitations are less prominent in the minds of car owners.
  • Overall touchscreen satisfaction fell for the fifth straight year in China, indicating a growing impatience for in-car UX to match UX found elsewhere in the consumer electronics space.

Derek Viita, Senior Analyst and report author, says, “Part of the issue with fingerprint smudging is the angle at which in-car touchscreens are installed – they make every fingerprint increasingly visible.

“Fingerprint smudging is an issue across all touchscreen-based consumer electronics. But in most form factors and especially mobile devices, consumers can quite easily adjust their viewing angle. This is not always the case with fixed in-car screens.”

Says Chris Schreiner, Director, Syndicated Research UXIP, “Although hardware quality certainly figures in many of the usual complaints car owners have about their screens, it is not the sole factor. Cockpit layout and UI design can play important roles in mitigating some issues with in-car touchscreens.”

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