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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.

Cars

Car buyers to start abandoning fuel-power by 2025

Car buyers in the United States and Europe expect electric vehicles to become a viable alternative to fuel-powered cars in the next five years.

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A new report outlining consumer expectations of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and their viability as replacements for traditional fuel-powered cars or internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles suggests a massive shift beginning in 2025.

The conclusion emerges from a report by human behaviour and analytics firm Escalent, entitled The Future of BEV: How to Capture the Hearts and Minds of Consumers. It reveals the intent of many consumers in the United States and Europe to abandon ICE vehicles altogether, citing the improved infrastructure and range of BEVs.

The Future of BEV gives auto and mobility manufacturers a strategic view of the benefits of their products in the eyes of consumers and highlights the areas of opportunity for automakers to push the innovation boundaries of BEVs to spur broad adoption of the technology.

“While most buyers don’t plan to choose BEVs over gasoline-powered cars within the next five years, consumers have told us there is a clear intention to take BEVs seriously in the five years that follow,” says Mark Carpenter, joint managing director of Escalent’s UK office. “However, manufacturers will need to tap into the emotional value of BEVs rather than just the rational and functional aspects to seize on that intent and inspire broader consumer adoption.”

The study demonstrates a significant shift in consumers’ expectations that BEVs will become viable alternatives to—and competitors with—ICE vehicles over the coming decade. Though 70% of Americans plan to buy a gasoline-powered car within the next year, just 37% expect to make that same purchase in five to ten years. Similarly, while 50% of European consumers favour buying vehicles powered by gasoline and diesel in the near-term, that figure drops to just 23% in five to ten years.

At the same time, consumers on both sides of the Atlantic see BEV adoption rising to 36% in Europe and 16% in the US, with respondents also indicating intent to purchase hybrids and hydrogen-powered cars.

Infrastructure clearly continues to be one of the biggest barriers to adoption. While some work is being done in Europe as well as in the US, the data show there is a significant need for some players to take ownership if manufacturers want to move the needle on BEV adoption.

US and European consumers have stark differences in opinion as to which entities they believe are primarily responsible for providing BEV charging stations. American consumers consider carmakers (45%) the primary party responsible, followed by fuel companies, local government/transport authorities, and the national government in fourth. On the other hand, European consumers view the national government (29%) as the primary party responsible for providing BEV infrastructure, followed by carmakers, local government/transport authorities and fuel companies.

For a full copy of the report, visit https://landing.escalent.co/download-the-future-of-bev.

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New cell phone to help with dementia and memory loss

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A new cell phone that takes simplicity to the extreme is designed to address the unique needs of people with dementia and other forms of memory loss. The RAZ Memory Cell Phone, developed by RAZ Mobility, a provider of mobile assistive technology, was launched this week. The handset is also well-suited for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.8 million Americans have Alzheimer’s dementia, with one in ten people over the age of 65 diagnosed with the disease. The number of people with dementia is expected to increase rapidly as the proportion of the population 65 and older increases. The American Psychiatric Association reports that approximately one percent of the population has an intellectual disability.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone consists of one primary screen, and one screen only. It is always on and includes pictures and names of up to six contacts and a button to call 911. That’s it! There are no applications or settings to cause confusion. No notifications or operating system updates. No distractions. Users can simply tap and hold the picture of the person they wish to call.

Caregivers manage the RAZ Memory Cell Phone through a simple online portal. The portal is used to create and edit the contacts, track the location of the phone/user and select certain options, such as the option to restrict incoming calls to people in the user’s contacts, thereby avoiding unwanted calls such as predatory robocalls.

The RAZ Memory Cell Phone can now be ordered at https://www.razmobility.com/solutions/memory-cellphone/.

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