Friday, June 05, 2020

Doorbell security app, at a time of unrest, draws criticism for privacy exposures

Electronic Frontier Foundation has a rather scathing criticism, by Bill Budington, of the Ring doorbell app, especially on Android, used to supplement home security around entrances.

The app reportedly sends PII to other data collectors, even (now) Facebook, even for people without FB accounts.

This could expose users to identity theft later.

Doorbell security will be of concern, even in suburbs, as some violent protests tend to move out from center cities.

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Foreign hackers target celebrity info on a law firms server, a new kind of "ransomware"

“PII” and other sensitive info of a number of celebrities has been stolen from a law firm, apparently by Russian hackers.  In a variation of ransomware, they threatened to reveal the personal info of the celebrities if money was not paid. Many of these firms don’t spend enough on security.

The law firm is Grubman Shire Meiselas and Sacks.  The firm website loads only a strike page, not secured, as of this time (10:42 AM EDT Saturday, May 16, 2020). 

Tom Jowitt of reports here

The incident was discussed on Smerconish on CNN Saturday morning.  The security expert said that many hackers in Russia work for the state and hack on their own.

Thursday, May 07, 2020

Credit reporting companies can still report missed payments during coronavirus (?)

Julie Bykowicz and Ted Mann reported on March 31, 2020 that the banks persuaded Congress not to prevent credit reporting companies from recording missed payments on credit reports, story here. 

There is concern that many lenders don’t have people trained to negotiate reduced payments for customers even if the lenders would like to.

You can see people laid off ironically working as credit counselors or even contact tracers given how COVID is going.

Sunday, April 05, 2020

Bernie Sanders wants to take care of all workers during the shutdowns and eliminate their personal debt risk

This is an unusual column for this blog, but I thought I would mention Bernie Sander’s proposal to guarantee every American worker’spaycheck during any government-forced shutdown.

It would not apply to retirees, or to Internet entrepreneurs making a living online.

But it could go a long way to relieve the personal debt problems that workers will face, as the stimulus passed so far can’t do enough forever.

But Sanders’s proposals will lead to inflation and other problems (like the debt ceiling extension issues).
Sanders has previously proposed eliminating student debt. 
Newsweek is also reporting that cryptocurrency will raise in value and may be regarded as more stable.

Monday, March 30, 2020

HUD to suspend all foreclosures, evictions: debt collection might be "stopped"

Trump has apparently ordered the suspension of all evictions and foreclosures until April 30, for those who lose jobs because of the shutdowns.
I used to own rental prop erty (early 90s) and I’m glad I don’t now.  I can imagine what this is doing in New York.
But the problem will go on a lot longer than the end of April – until the end of June probably at least.

Forbes discusses student loan forbearance here.

Here is the basic information on mortgage forebearance (Marketplace).  Some states (like California) have some additional rules. 
Moreover, there is proposed legislation to shut down all debt collection and negative reporting during the emergency, National LawReview.
In the summer of 2003, I worked as a debt collector for RMA.

Anna Bahney of CNN Business offers advice "What to do if you're worried about paying your bills."

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Equifax has advice for protecting credit scores during pandemic

Equifax (involved in the data breach) has an advisory page for consumers who believe that job losses or other personal disruptions resulting from the SARS-COV2 coronavirus pandemic (Covod-19) can harm their credit reports.  The page includes advice to write a statement explaining circumstances in detail. 
But relief for many hourly workers and gig economy workers needs to come from current bills in Congress that would protect their income somewhat if disrupted by the epidemic, including paid sick leave.  Many employers are willing to pay employees during these emergency shutdowns.  All of this is discussed in many places, as on Politico.   This would apply to people who don’t have the ability to work from home.

Friday, February 21, 2020

Personal information of guests at MGM resorts taken in data breach and posted to hacker forum

The personal information of over 10.6 million people who stayed at MGM resorts (which might include National Harbor near Washington DC) was taken and apparently was posted on a hacker’s forum. 

Lifelock also sent out advisory emails to AOL email account holders today.