Tagdata

We can all hear you now

Verizon Wireless is the next winner of “Which Company Will Expose Your Data!”

So if you’re got a PIN or password with them you use elsewhere, it’s time to change it. Because the danger isn’t an attacker getting your Verizon info, it’s them using that same password or PIN to get into your email or banking information.

Here’s what Verizon Wireless left open on the web.

Six folders for each month from January through to June contained several daily log files, apparently recording customer calls from different US regions, based on the location of the company’s datacenters, including Florida and Sacramento. Each record also contained hundreds of fields of additional data, including a customer’s home address, email addresses, what kind of additional Verizon services a subscriber has, the current balance of their account, and if a subscriber has a Verizon federal government account, to name a few. One field also appeared to record a customer’s “frustration score,” by detecting if certain keywords are spoken by a customer during a call.

And even though it wasn’t Verizon Wireless’ fault for the breach, they’re still to blame since they outsourced the work to a vendor who made the mistake.

“Verizon provided the vendor with certain data to perform this work and authorized the vendor to set up AWS storage as part of this project,” said a spokesperson. “Unfortunately, the vendor’s employee incorrectly set their AWS storage to allow external access.”

A hacker doesn’t need to break into a server when a vendor leaves it out on the web. This is where I start my pitch for 1Password because the breaches, mistakes and leaks of data are not going to stop.

I have used 1Password almost a year full-time. It keeps everything safe and secure. My Verizon password (when we were customers) was a long strand of 20-something numbers and letters. It didn’t match anything and I never knew it. But 1Password did.

https://1password.com – It’s only $5 per month for up to 5 people. You can have separate vaults where you can keep your logins and personal information. There are also shared vaults which are great for couples to share common information and keep sensitive information like Social Security Numbers safe. I keep every login to a site I sign up for there as well as my banking information including routing and account numbers. I keep a profile I use to fill-in forms in web sites as well as my plastic cards I use to buy things.

Because Verizon isn’t the first company to leak your info and they are not the last company to leak your info. It’s going to happen. Over and over and over. You should sign-up for 1Password. It will take the guesswork out of passwords and sensitive information.

Collecting Data

I’m fine with giving Google my data. I’m happy to let Waze read my calendar and peek into my email to let me know how to get places and when I should leave to arrive on time.

I’m happy to let the world of Internet services revolve around me to offer me snippets of information or convenience. Though what I really want is for them to work better.

Don’t show me ads for socks because I bought socks. I just bought socks. How many socks do I need? You should know I bought socks yesterday. How about showing me ads for new shoes. Or another article of clothing. Maybe it’s time for a new belt or a nice hat.

If you’re going to collect and sell my information, would you please so something useful with it?

Here are some ideas to help you out.

  1. I am 6’5″ and 350 lbs. I am a tall, fat man. I wear a size 14 shoe. Tell me what stores actually stock such an endangered creature. I don’t mean tell me where they are “available” because when I walk in and am greeted with two all-white tennis shoes and a single pair of dress shoes, that doesn’t count.

  2. You’re using data of what I bought to offer me… more of the same thing. How about looking at what other people buy when they buy this item. What about a complimentary item? When people buy these socks, they also often buy these shorts. After buying these socks, people look at shoes. Or a water bottle. Something tangentially related to those socks. I don’t need more socks.

  3. You know what problems I’m having by what I write about, email, add to wish lists and look up. Why are you not offering me solutions? You know I’m looking at NAS storage devices, recommend one. You know I am looking for a new hard drive, how about a recommendation?

  4. Things go on sale all the time. I wait for things to go on sale before I buy them. If you know I’ve added something to a wish list, why not tell me when it’s on sale? You’re practically guaranteed to get a sale when you tell me the thing I am interested in is available for less money. Why are you not doing this?

The Cloud

Spotify. Pandora. Rdio. Beats.
Netflix. Amazon instant video. Hulu. HBO GO. WatchESPN.
Dropbox’s camera upload. Flickr auto-upload.
Podcast downloads.

As the world races towards The Cloud™ with open arms, music and movies are more often hosted there. Instead of having a song live on the device I want to hear it come out of, it’s on a server somewhere.

Streamed to me live and on-demand. Except when it’s not.

Servers go down. I ride an underground metro the entire way to work and back. Commutes and lack of connectivity gave rise to Instapaper and local media. Even in those dark days before the internet and mobile phones with the ability to reach across the world for a song or book. These are places where I can’t stream media to my device.

But they’re not the biggest deterrent to The Cloud™. Not for me. There is a bigger problem with moving everything to a distance server.

I have a 3 GB data plan.

That is the single biggest deterrent to using streaming services. If I streamed, I would hit my limit in the first few days of each month. Then I’d have to pay $10 per extra 1 GB of data after that.

Something I know well, because I had a 2 GB plan until I realized it was only $5 more per month to up it to 3GB and with all the travel I’ve done lately, I was consistently going over my 2 GB allotment.

I look at Dropbox wanting to save all of my photos and that’s a wonderful idea. Only I can’t use it until I get home to the plentiful bits provided by my WiFi.

The same goes for Flickr’s auto-upload. I’d love to be able to send every photo to the service and use the generous 1 TB of space I have there. But I can’t because it would kill my data allowance.

I’d love to watch the World Cup, stream Netflix or even enjoy one of the many music services. But I don’t even bother signing up to any of them. I have Netflix and ESPN apps on my devices at home. But never on my phone.

Beats looks interesting. I’ve never used it. Rdio looks neat. I don’t have an account. I have Spotify and Pandora accounts but I rarely use them. And when I do, it’s a Spotify link on Tumblr I want to listen to as I browse my dashboard from my laptop.

As the future moves into The Cloud™ and away from putting files on devices, I’m watching from afar and enjoying my local media. As I will continue to do until data becomes less expensive than printer ink! (I’m kidding. Nothing is more expensive than printer ink.) The capabilities of what we can do using the internet are astounding and moving forward very quickly. Unfortunately, the access to those services are being charged at a premium for mobile devices.

Home broadband is neither inexpensive not ubiquitous either. But it’s still far ahead of what I can do from my phone. Unless I want to keep paying. And paying. And paying.

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