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The week in review: international cyberwarfare, the cost of data breaches and the future of privacy

The week in review: international cyberwarfare, the cost of data breaches and the future of privacy

By Don Dobson

In our weekly roundup, we draw your attention to selected news and articles that highlight issues relating to invasions of your online privacy and threats to the security of your personal data, including problems that Dodoname can help solve. The Sony hack was catching everyone’s attention this week, banks and retailers are arguing about footing the data breach bill and there is some new thought provoking research on our digital lives and where we are going with privacy. For all our privacy, security and personal data related posts follow @MyDodoname on Twitter.

Truth is stranger than fiction

While “The Interview” is a screwball comedy based on a highly improbable scenario, even Hollywood could not have written the script we see playing out with the Sony hack. Reports indicate that the data breach of terabytes of all manner of data (including employee personal data) at Sony was, in fact, carried out by North Korea. While state-on-state cyberwar is certainly not the personal privacy milieu of Dodoname, there are some sobering implications of the Sony hack which are likely to reverberate across business, in what may come to be seen as a real turning point for how we look at cybersecurity.

North Korea’s Bureau 121 is certainly not the only hacker group out there. In previous weeks we shared posts about how criminal hacking was a major industry in some places. A Monday post by Robert Beckhusen and Matthew Gault suggested that it wasn’t cyberwar that we need to be worried about but cybercrime, since the U.S. — and the rest of the world, for that matter — aren’t ready to deal with cybercrime. As they point out, cybercrime is often stateless. Hackers operate across borders.

When we get to the point where Crimeware-as-a-Service Threatens Banks, The Economist notes in regard to cybercrime that the growth in general wickedness online is testing the police, and underground hacker markets are peddling complete kits for hackers monetizing every piece of data they can steal or buy and are adding services, it starts to feel like, whether we like it or not, 2015 will be a watershed year for cybersecurity. With polls reporting that almost half of Americans say their card details have been stolen in a data breach, it is also no surprise to see observers suggesting that protecting consumers’ data should be at top of new Congress’ agenda.

Who pays the bill?

As the cost of data breaches starts to explode, there is mounting tension between retailers and card issuers. Banking and Credit Union association officials Jim Nussle and Camden R. Fine note the instant criminal hackers gain access to consumer financial data, they sell the information to the highest bidders. Protecting the consumer then becomes the duty of financial institutions—leaving banks and credit unions on the hook for fronting the bill. Their industry feels it’s time for retailers to join efforts to put a stop to data breaches and protect the consumer. Current U.S. laws on data protection for retailers are not as strict as financial institutions and as a result there is little incentive to address their security flaws, because financial institutions are responsible for cleaning up their mess. We expect that retailers will face increased liability as laws are almost certain to change, highlighting the potential value to retailers of participating in a privacy marketing platform like Dodoname.

The future of privacy

The Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project aims to be an authoritative source on the evolution of the Internet through surveys that examine how Americans use the Internet and how their activities affect their lives. They canvassed thousands (2,511) of experts and Internet builders to share their predictions on the future of privacy and released the results of those efforts this week.

In theintro to the report, Pew notes “The terms of citizenship and social life are rapidly changing in the digital age. No issue highlights this any better than privacy, always a fluid and context-situated concept and more so now as the boundary between being private and being public is shifting.

We recommend the entire report as a fascinating read. It reveals that, while we all can see benefits in our ever increasing digital lifestyle, privacy does mean something. However, it’s moving so fast that all parties are struggling to decide what it does mean and where it is going. Lots of food for thought for sure, but you won’t find a simple consensus. A taste of what we mean follows and do check out the full report.

We are at a crossroads,” noted Vytautas Butrimas, the chief adviser to a major government’s ministry. He added a quip from a colleague who has watched the rise of surveillance in all forms, who proclaimed, “George Orwell may have been an optimist,” in imagining “Big Brother.”

An executive at an Internet top-level domain name operator who preferred to remain anonymous replied, “Big data equals big business. Those special interests will continue to block any effective public policy work to ensure security, liberty, and privacy online.”

John Wilbanks, chief commons officer for Sage Bionetworks, wrote, “We have never had ubiquitous surveillance before, much less a form of ubiquitous surveillance that emerges primarily from voluntary (if market-obscured) choices. Predicting how it shakes out is just fantasy.”

An information science professional responded, “Individuals are willing to give up privacy for the reasons of ease, fastness, and convenience… If anything, consumer tracking will increase, and almost all data entered online will be considered ‘fair game’ for purposes of analytics and producing ‘user-driven’ ads. Privacy is an archaic term when used in reference to depositing information online.

Joe Kochan, chief operating officer for US Ignite, a company developing gigabit-ready digital experiences and applications, observed, “I do not believe that there is a ‘right balance’ between privacy, security, and compelling content. This will need to be a constantly negotiated balance—one that will swing too far in one direction or another with each iteration… Public norms will continue to trend toward the desire for more privacy, while people’s actions will tend toward giving up more and more control over their data.”

Posted in: Data breach, Privacy, Spam, This week in review

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Eight ways Dodoname gives you back control

Eight ways Dodoname gives you back control

By Michael Gaffney


1. All you wanted was a side of wifi with your java. But the coffeehouse is forcing you to cough up your email address to get access to its network. And you just know that means you’ll soon be flooded with enough offers of half-price, half-decaf, pumpkin spice lattes to choke a horse. Next time, spawn a new Dodoname, and surf that wifi with no fear of future spam. (Image: Flickr, Terry Johnston, link)


2. It’s Autumn, and a young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of…sun. And maybe love in the warm sun. So you sign up for hot deals from your favorite travel retailers. Once you’ve decided between Montego Bay or Punta Cana, you don’t really want to hear anything further. If you used a Dodoname, you could now turn off those retailers, and then turn them back on next year when the thermometer starts to dip again. (Image: Flickr, Lady May Pamintuan, link)


3. That magazine subscription offer was just too good to pass up, and all you had to do to get it was give up a few bucks. And your email address. Now every single other title in the same publisher’s huge library of magazines is pounding your inbox with offers. Use a Dodoname to create a one-to-one relationship with just the title you want, and make that address go extinct if the rest of the publishing house gloms on to it. (Image: Flickr , Ken Hawkins, link)


4. You wanted that whitepaper? You got that whitepaper. And you got an ongoing close and personal email relationship with the sponsor of that whitepaper. Next time, use a Dodoname configured to go extinct in a day. You want that whitepaper? Get that whitepaper. And get absolutely nothing else. (Image: Flickr, Locus Research, link)


5. Warranties. Who needs ’em? Certainly not you. Until you do. But if you register it, your purchase may be protected, but your inbox won’t be. Use a Dodoname with an extinction date, get the reply email acknowledging your warranty registration, tag it “warranty” to make it super simple to find it in the future, and then forget all about all that follow-on marketing email. (The company calls it “marketing.” You call it “spam.”) (Image: Flickr, Mike, link)


6. Remember the last time you were asked at the checkout if you wanted your receipt emailed to you? “Great idea,” one side of your brain said; that would make it so easy to keep the receipt handy in case I need to do a return. “Lousy idea,” the other side of your brain said; if I give them my email address, they’ll just spam me. Which side won out? You really shouldn’t have to fight it out between good and evil, and now you don’t. Use a Dodoname, tag the emailed receipted for quick search and retrieval, and never worry about the evil of unwanted spam. (Image, Flickr, Consumerist Dot Com, link)


7. The organizers of that webinar you registered for were great about sending you valuable updates, reminders and even a link to the presentation slides afterwards. And then they were just as great about sending you more and more emails about their next great webinar, trying to up-sell you into their product suite, and bringing you “valuable promotions from one of our trusted partners.” Next time, register for the webinar using a Dodoname programmed to go extinct in 30 days. You’ll get all the emails you want and need, and none of what you don’t want and don’t need. (Image: Shutterstock)


8. Your favorite retailer has promised that if you sign up to receive regular offers and updates, that they’ll totally respect your privacy. Do you believe them? Even if they are true to their word, spambots are gonna auto-generate that email address you gave them and pound your inbox. With Dodoname, spambots can’t even get through our servers because of the one-to-one relationship between a Dodoname and a specific sender. And if your favorite retailer breaks its e-promise to you, shut ’em down, deactivate that Dodoname, and they’ll just have to leave you alone. (Image: Flickr, Mike Mozart, link)

Posted in: Blog, Email, Fraud, Privacy, Spam, Unsubscribe

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Still using burner email accounts? It really is throwback Thursday

Still using burner email accounts? It really is throwback Thursday

Way back in the halcyon days of the mid ’90s, the Internet-using public was introduced to webmail. Lycos,, Hotmail and other web-based email services started to gain popularity. Pretty soon, most everyone was using a Rocketmail or a Yahoo account alongside the address provided by their Internet service provider. One for so-called “real” email, one for those times that you need to provide an email address but you just know that by doing so, you’ll unleash a torrent of spam.

In researching this post, I came across articles with titles like “Why you need at least 4 email addresses,” “9 reasons why you should have more than one email address,” and “10 reasons to have more than one email address.” Each of these articles reference spam and control of your online persona as reasons for creating and using burner accounts. A comment on one of the posts says it all, “I have three, but I’m really getting sick of managing and remembering passwords.” You said it, commenter.

Using the “spam” burner account to enter a contest? Congratulations: you’ve avoided all the spam! And maybe you won the contest, but you’ll never know because you can’t be bothered to filter through all the spam in that account to see if you won! Sorta defeats the purpose, no?

Using your standard password with that webmail account? Bad news: when the inevitable hack or data breach happens, now your password is out there, in the hands of nefarious cybercriminals. Some of these hackers are creating algorithms, cross referencing multiples data breaches and hacks to get all of the personal data that they can about the victims of the breach. Your identity is just a handful of clicks away. And once it’s been compromised, lots of bad things can happen that impact your privacy.

With Dodoname, there’s no need to remember and manage all those email accounts and passwords. Interactions with merchants appear in your Dodoname inbox. Want to unsubscribe? You can do so easily and once you’re unsubscribed with Dodoname, you’re really unsubscribed. The spammer can never contact you again.

You need to have 4 email addresses? No. You need Dodoname.

(Image: Flickr, Gideon Tsang, link)

Posted in: #TBT, Blog, Email, Persona, Privacy, Spam

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