PSA Newsletter 11: Privacy, Security, Automation!
Best Buy Techs Caught Snooping, Okta Suffers a Colossal Breach and Learns Little, New Phone Questions Answered, and more...
Technicians at major chains in Canada such as Best Buy were recently caught snooping through customer computers they were supposed to be fixing. Stories like this crop up every few years when the News cycle is slow, but the message stays the same: when you surrender your data to someone else, you give them the opportunity to snoop through it. The only way to prevent this is to not give it to them! This holds true for handing over laptops, phones, cloud storage, etc.
Since that's not really an option when something is broken, One way you can be sure a technician isn't snooping through your stuff it to sit down with them and work together, so you can see what they're doing.
Okta, an authentication and identity provider (provides a single login for all your company's platforms) suffered a serious security breach in September and most likely before. Without delving too much into the specifics, the takeaway here is to never sign into your personal accounts on work hardware and vice versa, even if it's related to work. To be fair, lots of other things went wrong, but the fallout could have been avoided if work and personal credentials weren't mixed. 
When setting up a home network, it may not be possible to run network cable, especially if you're a renter. However, if your rental happens to have cable jacks already run, a MoCA adapter will allow you to run your network over coax (cable) wiring instead of Cat6 network cable. There are limitations, such as a max throughput of 1 Gbps, but this shouldn't be a problem for the vast majority of home and home business users. Whether used as a backhaul for a mesh system or as a means to add additional network hardware in another part of the unit, a MoCA adapter comes in handy. 
Q: How Much Storage Should My Next Phone Have?
A: When purchasing a new phone, keep the following in mind:
- Your new phone should have equal to or more storage than your old phone. Programs and apps (especially social media apps) tend to get larger over time. Improvements in cameras also translate to increased size on disk of photos and videos. For example, whereas 1080p was the standard video resolution a few years ago, 4K video is now the default. This takes up a lot more space than the older standard.
Q: How do I know if this app I want to download is safe?
A: Generally, apps downloaded on Apple and Google Play App Stores are safe in that they probably won't contain malware. However, Android users who want to take extra precaution can check apps on the Exodus Privacy site. There, a simple search will reveal which permissions the app requests, if any trackers are present, and how to better safeguard your privacy.