“The cost of reading the New York Times for free is being tracked. The cost of being on Facebook is being Data Mined,” Peter Eckersley from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, comments came at an event organized by Google at its Washington, D.C., office to mark Data Privacy Day — an international effort by governments and businesses to draw attention to the issues surrounding individuals’ online privacy.
A seemingly constant stream of breaches have given the issue fresh visibility this year, and prompted lawmakers and regulators to consider new mandates aimed at protecting
Google touted the new “two-step verification” option it will be rolling out to all accounts within the next few weeks.
The new opt-in setting gives users a second security wall. When someone logs into a Google account for first time from a new computer, a code will be sent to the phone (typically a mobile, but a landline will also work) associated with the account. That code is required for access — a step intended to keep out intruders who have obtained the account’s password.
Facebook also launched new data protection tools this week. The biggest was a “safe browsing option” that integrates the HTTPS protocol for secure connections. That technical tweak will help solve a gaping hole that lets hijackers grab control of FB accounts accessed through public Wi-Fi hotspots.
“The thing that you should know about ‘http’ is that it’s fundamentally very hackable,” Eckersley said. “If there’s an ‘s,’ you have a good chance of protection against those kind of threats.”
In this case, though, it was a bit like bolting the barn door after the horses have fled. Facebook posted its new security tool the day after Mark Zuckerberg’s fan page was hacked!