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Focus your email to protect your privacy and stay safe online.

Focus your email to protect your privacy and stay safe online.

If you are concerned about identify theft and other privacy/security concerns there is a simple email precaution you can take to protect yourself. How about – never give out your personal or business email to someone or business you don’t know?

Sounds like common sense, does it not – yet, we do it all the time! Every day we sign up for newsletters; give our email to a point of sale clerk; register for online dating; use it to get WiFi at the coffee shop or airport; register for coupons, daily deal sites and freely hand out our email address in many other situations where we don’t know the people or business. Don’t do it! Protect your privacy and stop identity theft.

Never give your personal or business email address to people or businesses you don’t know. Privacy invasions and identity theft, in most cases, start with an email address. Your personal or business email address is the key to the front door of your digital house.  Why would you ever share that key with every supplier you can think of and risk identity theft?

Little Known Fact About the Selling of Email Addresses.

Many companies have no problem selling email addresses while at the same time agreeing not to spam you. You unsubscribe from their mailing list but not from their selling list! Conclusion: Protect your privacy, don’t let your personal email get on their list in the first place

However easy it is to say, ‘never share your email with people and businesses you don’t know’, in reality we actually need to maintain a digital communications with many of these folks. Many of us simply create another email address, ‘our spam address’, in gmail, yahoo or hotmail.  We end up with another inbox that is full of spam and also contains lots of legitimate communication.

Dodoname – Privacy by Design.

Enter Dodoname, which was designed specifically for when you don’t want to use your regular email address and also want a way to start, manage and stop all these ‘other emails’.

Remember, stop identity theft, never give out your regular email address again to someone to don’t know – use a Dodoname.

Posted in: Anonymity, Data breach, Email, Fraud, Identity, Privacy, Uncategorized

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Top five online privacy concerns

Top five online privacy concerns

By Don Dobson

In epidemiology, the means for the transmission of disease is termed a “vector.” In the world of online privacy, your personal email address is one of the prime vectors by which your privacy can be compromised. If you’re not using a Dodoname to interact with merchants, you’re leaving yourself open to these top five privacy concerns (which can have some very scary repercussions!)

1. Phishing

Wikipedia defines phishing as the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money) by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

Although not the only means, email is one of the main vectors for phishing. At Dodoname, we like to keep up to date on the latest developments in cybercrime through email phishing scams. We see that the scammers are relentless and that anyone can be a victim: criminals shamelessly exploit the latest news, such as recent attempts linked to the Ebola scare gripping the world or even attack children. It also a big problem for businesses as employees can be fooled and surrender corporate information or provide a pathway for hacking of retailer systems.

Phishing still thrives because it remains a simple game and the power of easily sending millions of emails every day allows the bad guys to fill their quotas. Old scams are still making the rounds and claiming victims. And the fact is, email remains a very popular communication channel. Unfortunately, it’s true that real dangers can place themselves in your inbox. Here’s a start on some help to stay out of trouble and also some advice if you have taken the bait.

2. Data breaches

Retailers in particular have shown themselves to be vulnerable to hacker attacks which result in a “breach” of security measures protecting customer data, as have financial institutions.

You may think “that’s their problem” but it could also be a problem for you. Depending on the nature of the data breach, personal information you have shared with companies, including credit card information, may become available for use by criminals and/or be re-sold in criminal markets. Ironically, this can result in even more effective phishing emails as criminals use information already stolen to become more credible to email recipients in what is known as “spear-fishing.”

There is nothing you can do to prevent these breaches, but they are the top of the list of concerns for company executives. Customers are striking back. Many consumers will stop patronizing companies who have had a data breach while some victims of these attacks  have joined lawsuits against retailers like Home Depot.

3. Malware

Email phishing can have many consequences. One of those is the installation of malware on your device. There are many varieties of malware “in-the-wild,” some malicious, some not so much, but none have any business on your device. Among the types of malware that can impact you are “key-loggers,” which send back everything you type online to criminals. This information would include details of all your online activity including banking website passwords.

And the thing is, you don’t always even need to click on anything. Just visiting some sites exposes you to these sneaky downloads through “malvertising.” You might think that staying away from seedy corners of the Internet would protect you, but the truth is even reputable sites can be hacked in these ways through ad exchanges.

4. Identity theft

Identity thieves have many different ways to strike: over the phone or through something as low-tech as criminals sifting through your trash, or through email phishing attacks. Online theft of personal identity and it has become a major problem worldwide. Criminals can use your identity and credit card information to make purchases, take out loans or conduct any illicit financial transaction.

Identity thieves can be individuals at the local level or international organized criminal operations. Even using free wi-fi at a coffee shop can open you up to identity theft. It’s clear that these types of cybercrime enterprises are a growth business.

5. Data brokers

A much broader concern for personal privacy than the vector of phishing emails and malware criminals is an industry that operates “legitimately” but without much regulatory protection for consumers. Testimony by Pam Dixon, Executive Director, World Privacy Forum appearing before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, suggests that somewhere around 4,000 companies in the U.S. gather identity information left by the “digital exhaust” of your online activity. Dixon cites real harm to individuals resulting from these activities and notes “Despite the large and growing size of the industry, until this Committee started its work, this entire industry largely escaped public scrutiny. Privacy laws apply to credit bureaus and health care providers, but data broker activity generally falls outside these laws. Even a knowledgeable consumer lacks the tools to exercise any control over his or her data held by a data broker.” 

(Image: Flickr, Sebastien Wiertz, link)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in: Blog, Data breach, Email, Fraud, Identity, Phishing, Privacy

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Click here to unsubscribe: The Hotel California of email

Click here to unsubscribe: The Hotel California of email

By Francis Moran

The Eagles wrote their enduring rock hit “Hotel California” in the mid-1970s, well before email had even begun to be adopted, so it’s improbable they could have predicted how the closing lyrics of that song would come to describe the horror we have all experienced in trying to unsubscribe from an email list.

We all know the scenario. Either with or without our permission, our email address has found its way onto the marketing list — They call it “marketing.” You call it “spam.” —  of some company or organization. And even though they provide a link at the bottom and invite you to “click here to unsubscribe,” nothing you do gets you off that list. Just like the night man says in that great Eagles song, “You can check out any time you want, but you can never leave.”

It is, perhaps, one of the most frustrating things about email.

Dodoname kills that beast.

When you give a merchant a new Dodoname for whatever purpose, our technology creates a one-to-one link between that unique Dodoname and that merchant. Our servers will not let anything except messages from that merchant get through to that Dodoname. And when you turn off that Dodoname or make it go extinct, we stop letting anything through.

So go ahead — smell the colitas, hear the mission bell, light up a candle, dance in the courtyard and gather for the feast. And when you’ve had enough and go running for the door, rely on Dodoname to check you out for good.

(Image: The Hotel California in Todos Santos, Baja California Sud, Mexico, may or may not have been the inspiration for the Eagles’ classic rock hit. It is, however, a lovely place to stay in my favourite Mexican surf town.)

Posted in: Blog, Email, 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, mail.com, 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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