Posts Tagged ‘privacy’

Here’s a cool/creepy thing to keep in mind … when you post to social media or take photos with your phone, it is entirely possible that your laptop or mobile device is also adding location data to your work. This could be a very useful feature if where you are adds context to your posting, such as where you were when you took that awesome shot of the sunset over the ocean (which ocean?  which beach? what season?) or if  you just tweeted about a great slice of pizza others may want to know where so they can get one too.

On the other hand, if you weren’t aware that this information was being captured and made available for all to see, you might not think it was such a great idea. For instance, you could be passing time in a doctor’s waiting room tweeting about last night’s game and not realize that you’ve just told the world that you have a medical problem of a somewhat sensitive nature.

For a real world example of this, I used a tool at http://teachingprivacy.icsi.berkeley.edu:8080/#project to view the comings and goings of one of the giants of the IT world. I’ve redacting his actual Twitter handle out of respect for his privacy but what I found was publicly available information that anyone could easily obtain. The screenshots below reveal what I found with just a few clicks …

TwitterTrack1

 

As you can see our subject is quite the world traveler but he spends most of his time on the West Coast.

 

 

 

 

 

TwitterTrack2

 

 

Zooming in on the red “hot spot” from the previous image shows that he is probably based in Silicon Valley.

 

 

 

 

TwitterTrack3

 

 

Zooming in further still shows a Google map with one of the tweets coming from a urologist’s office.

 

 

 

 

Maybe he was just there to work on their computers but, still, it’s probably not what he had in mind to blast out to the Twitterverse when he wrote that tweet.

A similar bit of stalker magic is available from WeKnowYourHouse.com which correlates tweets using the words “home,” “house,” etc. with the geolocation from Twitter to assert, with reasonable confidence that you live at the following address …

WeKnowYourHouse

Pretty creepy, huh? Consider yourself forewarned and double-check those settings to make sure that you aren’t guilt of revealing TMI…

The conventional answer to this question is that Apple’s “walled garden,” which places restrictions on app developers, creates a more secure environment for iOS whereas Google’s more permissive model puts Android users at greater risk.

As I have posted here before, there is plenty of ammo to bolster that position:

But the story is more complicated than that. For instance, take this recent report from Appthority which finds that “iOS apps leak more personal data than do Android apps”.

The differences are not huge but they do add fuel to the fire regarding which platform is safer. Apple Insider sums it up well:

A number of questionable policies and security concerns have painted Google’s Android platform as inherently less secure than Apple’s iOS. Android does appear to be more vulnerable to malware than iOS, but mobile malware affects only one percent of apps. The larger concern, the study concludes, should be over how mobile apps handle personal information and company data.

In the end, the unsatisfying answer as to which is more secure is, you guessed it, — it depends — so pick your poison … 🙂

 

I’ll be serving as a panelist at the Wilmington Information Technology eXchange and Conference hosted by the University of North Carolina Wilmington on April 18, 2012. I’ll be joined by Jonathan Campbell, CSO for New Hanover Regional Medical Center, with the subject of our discussion being “Security and Privacy Concerns including Mobile Device Management.” I plan to give a brief overview of the latest attack trends with a focus on one of our most challenging areas for security — how to handle the proliferation of mobile phones, tablets and other devices that are cropping up in greater numbers in corporate environments. For more information on the event click on the image below …