Cyber Security Today: Nov. 28, 2018 — Babysitters and AI; is public Wi-Fi safe; giving voice to unsafe Android apps

Babysitters ranked by artificial intelligence, is public Wi-Fi safe and giving voice to unsafe Android apps.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday November 28th. To hear the podcast, click on the arrow below:

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What you say on social media may say a lot about you. That’s why some employers demand access to social media accounts of job seekers when deciding who to hire. They may also buy services of human resource companies who can rate applicants. Some parents who want to know more about potential babysitters are doing the same. They’re turning to a U.S. based service called Predictium, which, for a fee, will scan a potential babysitter’s Facebook, Twitter and other posts to come up with a score using artificial intelligence on whether the candidate is a risk. But a recent Washington Post article on the service raises questions on whether such scoring is fair. The scoring is based on mathematical algorithms that give weight to certain words. Are these algorithms biased? Do they take into account context of certain words? Who knows – the algorithms aren’t public. The article notes one babysitter’s posts were flagged as possibly meaning she’s disrespectful or has a bad attitude because she only ranked two on a scale of one to five. The company says the ratings should be a “companion” to a parent’s decision. Is this service for you? Some privacy experts worry about the use of artificial intelligence in personality scoring. Of course, you can also rely on recommendations of friends and a personal interview with a babysitter.
I have a link to the full article here.

Usually I’m cautious about taking advantage of Wi-Fi in restaurants, airports, hotels and other public places for security reasons. But in a recent article Wired Magazine says its OK – as long as you take precautions. First, make sure you’re on the real website you want to go to, and not a fake. Second, make sure the website address starts with HTTPS, which means traffic between you and site is encrypted. And if you have to do a financial transaction, make sure the URL in the address bar has a green lock. Third, if you’re sending sensitive email or documents, use a Virtual Private Network app to ensure the message is scrambled. If you’re still worried about public Wi-Fi, use your smartphone as a Wi-Fi hotspot instead and do your surfing through that.
I have a link to the full article here.

Finally, another group of malicious Android apps has been taken down from the Google Play store. These have a common theme: They’re voice messenger apps, allowing you to send and receive text messages by voice. But according to Trend Micro once installed these apps show fake surveys offering Amazon gift cards worth $1,000 if you fill out a form. Of course, the scam is to get you to fill out personal information that will go to crooks. Trend Micro suspects this is a first wave of similar apps, with the ones coming having more malware. Those of you with Android devices have to decide if you want to download an app from a company you’ve never heard of – especially an app with spelling mistakes. Check the ratings from others who say they have used the app. If there are few reviews, or if the few reviews are all five-star, those are signs the app is so new it hasn’t been used much – and reviews might not be trustworthy.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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