Category Archives: Privacy

How I lost my $50,000 Twitter username

I had a rare Twitter username, @N. Yep, just one letter. I’ve been offered as much as $50,000 for it. People have tried to steal it. Password reset instructions are a regular sight in my email inbox.

As of today, I no longer control @N. I was extorted into giving it up.

While eating lunch on January 20, 2014, I received a text message from PayPal for one-time validation code. Somebody was trying to steal my PayPal account. I ignored it and continued eating.

Later in the day, I checked my email which uses my personal domain name (registered with GoDaddy) through Google Apps. I found the last message I had received was from GoDaddy with the subject “Account Settings Change Confirmation.” There was a good reason why that was the last one.

via The Next Web.

Your passwords are bad

Choosing an effective password that’s easy to remember and type, as well as hard to guess for would-be fraudsters, is a perennial problem. But it’s one that the folks at Microsoft Research are trying to tackle with an experimental tool called Telepathwords.

Armed with an arsenal of data on common passwords and password-setting habits, the team built a tool that detects how vulnerable your password is by trying to guess the next letter as you type it.

You can visit the project site for yourself and see how predictable your own passwords are. For example, if you think a clever password would be p@$$w0rd, think again – the tool guesses it right instantly. If your password is zxserisljeerouiaer2345, on the other hand, its telepathic propensity flounders.

via The Next Web.

Encrypted social network vies for disgruntled WhatsApp, Facebook users

With the look of Google Plus and Facebook-like elements, a new social network named ”Syme” feels as cozy as a well-worn shoe.

But beneath the familiar veneer, it’s quite different. Syme encrypts all content, such as status updates, photos and files, so that only people invited to a group can view it. Syme, which hosts the content on its Canada-based servers, says it can’t read it.

“The overarching goal of Syme is to make encryption accessible and easy to use for people who aren’t geeks or aren’t hackers or who aren’t cryptography experts,” said co-founder Jonathan Hershon.

Hershon is part of a bright trio who have self-funded Syme’s development while working out of their homes and studying at McGill University in Montreal. Hershon is studying psychology, Louis-Antoine Mullie is a medical student with a strong technology background, and Christophe Marois, who works on the user interface, studies music.

“We have very low operating costs,” Hershon said.

via PCWorld.