Friday, February 15, 2013

Now everyone’s a spy

Webnotes by: Theresa Payton, Fortalice, LLC. Content also covered on WBTV's "Protecting Your Cyberturf" segment featuring Theresa Payton and Kristen Miranda.

Many of you have heeded our advice about the internet and you are using it in ways that are positive and protect your safety.  But what happens when you think you are offline and random parts of your every day life at home and at the office are equipped to spy on you?  Sounds a little like James Bond?  Well, it’s real, it’s affordable, and we want you to be aware of it so you can protect yourself.  

Most of you know that phones tell your secrets, emails tell secrets, and some of you even have stopped posting all photos online to maintain a sense of security and privacy.  But many don’t realize just how pervasive digital devices are in our lives and how they are recording everything we say and do - so make sure you live the Golden rule at all times because it might end up on YouTube!  Cyber expert, Theresa Payton, talks to us today about easy it is to be a spy.

How does it work?
1.  You can program your phone, laptop or tablet to spy using simple apps that will record pictures, videos, audio all silently and hard to detect

2.  You can buy what looks like a toy airplane or helicopter and launch it like a personal drone recording hours of video and audio

3.  Every day items such as stuffed animals, plug outlets in a wall, thumb drives, clocks, calculators, pens, and glasses can now be equipped with chips that can record images, text, photos and videos

Why this technology could be helpful:
1.  It could be a way to double check on things at home while your kids are there and you are not
2.  It might be helpful if you are worried about theft of property

How can you protect yourself?
1.  In home settings:  
keep video cameras on phones and tablets disabled when not actively in use
keep social networking platforms turned off from video or voice mode when not using those features

2.  At work or in other places:
pay attention to devices, sometimes they may have a strange red or green blinking light that may indicate a wireless connection or that they are recording

3.  Legal protections or issues:
Before becoming a “spy”, remember to check state and federal laws.  Often you must notify that an area is under surveillance or ask permission for recordings.

4.  Still uneasy?  You have tech to help you with that.
a.  RF bug detector - these devices can scan a room looking for the frequencies that a video camera would emit.    It may also pick up a WiFi network so be sure before you point the finger at someone that you verify what the RF bug detector found.
b.  Spy camera detectors - These look for cameras that might not transmit a frequency.  They actually look for the small glass viewfinder of a camera and alert you.

5.  If you are a victim:  
If something has happened to you and you have been recorded without your knowledge, talk to local law enforcement about your legal options.

SOCIAL BOOKMARKING:  Most of you know what it means to “bookmark”  a webpage you like so you can easily get to it again.  Well, now there are sites specifically designed to help you socially bookmark and share those bookmarks with others - Social Bookmarking.  Examples of social bookmarking include: and Stumble Upon.

Want to try some social bookmarking?  Just remember to take good care of your privacy and safety when you share.  Try out 2 very popular sites:  or Stumble Upon.

Before you set up any kind of digital surveillance at home or in the workplace, you should familiarize yourself with the laws governing this activity.  A good place to start is:

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