I’m pretty paranoid about cybersecurity, which is just one of the many reasons that I don’t do all of the things that I’m “supposed” to do to help build my audience for this site. Some people find it strange that someone who works as intimately with technology as I do would be, in some ways, a technophobe, but it is not as strange as it seems: I find that the more you know about something, the less you trust it. It’s a lot easier to trust your computer or your cell phone when it’s a mysterious black box that does useful things for you. Once you start to pull back the curtain on how it works, those benefits don’t always seem to outweigh the risks.
Now, I’m not completely tech-averse, even if I do sometimes contemplate adopting an agrarian existence in the mountains somewhere. I take precautions and am somewhat paranoid, and I am very careful about what I use and how I use it, but I use plenty of technology every day. Every now and then, though, I’ll encounter some new piece of information that prompts to reevaluate all of the ways I use technology and just how vulnerable it makes me, despite my precautions. This week’s article was one of those.
With a title like “Google Bans Apps With Hidden Data-Harvesting Software,” you might not be expecting a huge, new cybersecurity scare. App marketplaces are constantly finding new apps that don’t meet their security standards (by which we probably mean that they are selling data to someone other than the app marketplace’s proprietor), many of which are back up in a matter of days. In this case, the details make the difference, and are a potent reminder to be very careful about what you download and use, and how your devices interact.
I’ll let you connect your own dots about what might have really been going on with this data collection scheme – let’s just say I have my own suspicions. However, if this prompts you to improve your cybersecurity, I would recommend checking out this information from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, and this article from ZDNet.
This could be a much longer post, but it’s our Saturday article post, not a Tuesday essay on cybersecurity. Besides, I think I’d better go change my passwords and maybe look into a Firewalla.