Rebecca Herold
The Privacy
Tip of the Month 

Wireless privacy -

Get the skinny.





No bones about it - for the past several years, Google has been collecting data from the wireless networks they encounter when making their popular Street View images. This type of "spying" has been as widely reported as it is widespread. Many other mainstream organizations have undertaken similar questionable methods of learning more about you than you may want them to know. Here's one story from Computerworld that details the problem. 


Addressing the growing privacy problems that wireless computing brings, I have partnered with Peggy Eisenhauer, an eminent privacy lawyer, to create a campaign for Data Privacy Day, January 28, 2011. This effort will help folks understand the security actions THEY can take to protect their privacy when using wireless networks and computers. The site, not yet complete, will be at www.secureyourwireless.org.  (Check it over the next few months as we populate it with solid, helpful information!)  




Cybercrime, largely via spam and phishing schemes, tends to spike around Halloween. Haunted? The scary activities from last year's tricks are expected again this year.  Don't get spooked...  learn the difference between scareware and crimeware in this article.



Did you know... 
I spoke about the privacy issues of the new energy Smart Grid at the
California Public Utilities Commission Auditorium on September 29. You can take in my presentation online here:
Psst...if you are interested in reading some of the details from the research the group I've led since June 2009 has done, you can read Volume 2 of NISTIR here. 
Uncovering workplace security and privacy problems doesn't have to be scary! Make it fun with an interactive learning experience called Security Search! It's inexpensive, applicable across industries/levels, and arms employees with practical tools to protect themselves and your customers. Check it out here.

Want to know what's really scary? Many businesses - whether ill-intended or not - collect way too much personal information from their customers and potential customers without cause or reason... and every year, thousands simply hand it over to them with no questions asked!


Here's a common situation. You go in to buy a car. You pay cash or otherwise provide your own funding. You complete the dealer's paperwork. There is a space for your Social Security number. You fill it out and head to the next question. WAIT! If you are paying cash or not using the dealer's credit, why does the dealership need your Social Security number?


TIP: Don't be afraid to challenge anyone asking for sensitive information, or any type of personal information, when it's clearly not needed to complete a transaction. It's human nature to trust and to follow directions. (Especially if you are getting something you've been wanting for a long time!) However, giving any type of organization more personal data than they really need might turn out to be harmful!


Stay safe this Halloween and every day - think twice before you hand over personal information. (Or it may come back to HAUNT you.)


Thanks for reading, and have a spook-tacular All Hallow's Eve,




P.S. The Computerworld surveys for Best Privacy Advisors recently went out. If you received one, and you find my tips and services useful, I sure would appreciate your vote. Many thanks!
Content provided by: 
Rebecca Herold & Associates, LLC
Mobile: 515.491.1564, Business: 515.996.2199