Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Avoid getting burned by scams this summer: apply Visa security tips

TORONTO, June 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - With the Canada Day long weekend in sight, Visa is offering consumers tips on how to protect themselves from card fraud when travelling this summer. The website www.VisaSecuritySense.ca provides helpful information for cardholders on how to protect their account information and resolve unauthorized card use.

"Visa cardholders can be confident in the security of their cards, whether they are at home or away," said Gord Jamieson, Head of Payment System Risk, Visa Canada. "However, card security is a shared responsibility so it's a good idea for cardholders to learn how to protect their cards."

While enjoying summer vacations at home or abroad, it's important to know that Canadian Visa card issuers provide important consumer protections including fraud liability protection and dispute resolution. Savvy consumers can visit www.VisaSecuritySense.ca to find out more about Visa's security features and how to better protect themselves from the inconvenience of unauthorized card use while travelling.

"By spending a few moments building card security into their travel plans, Canadians can enjoy even greater peace of mind as they head out to enjoy their summer vacations," added Jamieson.

VisaSecuritySense.caoffers consumers the following tips when travelling:

...If travelling outside Canada, make sure you call to inform the financial institution that issued your card which countries you will be visiting, and for how long.

...Check your cards - know your expiry dates, account balance and amount of credit available to you, so you won't be caught short with a card that expires while you're away, or not have enough credit to cover your trip expenses.

...Keep a copy of your financial institution's customer service phone numbers, and your Visa account number in a convenient place - separate from your card. Toll-free numbers may not work internationally. If you don't have your financial institution issuer's direct number, you can call Visa's help line collect at 1-303-967-1096 or 410-581-3836.

...Report lost or stolen cards and/or unauthorized transactions to your financial institution issuer immediately.

...Limit the number of payment cards and other personal information that you carry in your wallet or purse while travelling.

...Be aware of your surroundings when entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN) at an ABM or at the checkout.

As always, save and check all receipts against your statement.

Cardholders can also turn to www.VisaSecuritySense.cafor news about fraud scams, access helpful resources or find help to resolve problems.

About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Keep your identity safe this summer vacation

Use these 5 tips from ProtectionPower.ca and protect yourself from identity theft while travelling

BURLINGTON, Ontario, June 22, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Finally, summer vacation is just around the corner! Before you kick back and relax fully, take a few minutes to ensure you are properly protecting your most important documents.

ProtectionPower.ca, Canada's leading identity theft protection service, has a few hints to help you along the way.

"Travellers are obvious targets for identity thieves and other criminals," says identity theft expert Sylvain Patry, senior vice-president of ProtectionPower.ca. "When you're on holiday, you're relaxed, you're in an unfamiliar place - and you're vulnerable. Don't let a pickpocket or a lost wallet ruin a great summer vacation."

Follow these 5 tips from ProtectionPower.ca and stay safe:

...Travel light! Only bring identification and cards with you that you need. If you're travelling within Canada, you can leave your passport safely at home. If you're heading abroad, you likely don't need all of your store cards.

...Make copies. Before you depart, scan, photocopy or photograph the identification you will be travelling with. Write down your passport, credit card and other important numbers. Leave these copies in a secure place in your home. Make sure someone you trust knows how to access them - just in case.

...Never carry all your identification in one place. For example, do not keep your passport and your driver's licence in the same wallet or purse. Losing (or being robbed of) one piece of identification is inconvenient; losing all of it could make it difficult for you to prove you are who you say you are.

...Use the small lockers or safes that are in many hotel rooms. These can allow you to secure, and separate, your identification. When you're heading out for a day tour in a new city, you might choose to keep your driver's licence with you - and leave your health card and your passport in the hotel.

...Keep in touch. Regularly update a trusted family member or friend back home on your whereabouts. Try to do this every day or so via email, chat, phone, Skype or a private Facebook message (do not do this publicly on Facebook or other social media!). If something happens to you, it's good to know someone will notice, quickly.

Watch for Identity Theft Expert Sylvain Patry on your local media station! Patry comments on the very real issues brought forward in UNKNOWN (released June 21 on Blu-Ray and DVD by Warner Home Entertainment Group). The hit film stars Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, a man fighting desperately to reclaim his identity in a foreign city.

For more tools and resources to help you protect yourself from identity theft, visit ProtectionPower.ca.

About ProtectionPower.ca

Protection Power is a leading Canadian provider of advanced identity protection services and educational resources. Founded by a team of security experts with a background in credit/financial services and technology, Protection Power provides features and experience to help you stay in control of your financial life.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Skype's Take on Vishing (Voice Phishing)

from Skype Security

June 10, 2011 - Skype is aware of so-called 'vishing' (or voice phishing) attacks, where a recorded call is made to a person to try and coax them to do something, like share personal information via phone or visit a Web site to download malicious software disguised as security updates.

As with any form of communication today, users should be vigilant and responsible at all times and be wary of any suspicious activity.

Our advice is similar to answering a call on your mobile from unknown parties that you don't recognize: either don't answer and certainly don't follow any instructions from unknown parties, much as you wouldn't click on or visit unknown URLs or download attachments that seem suspicious... read more story at Skype

Monday, June 6, 2011

Google remedial measures address privacy deficiencies, Privacy Commissioner says

Privacy Commissioner satisfied with Google's response to her Office's investigation into the company's inappropriate collection of personal information from unsecured wireless networks across Canada, but plans further follow-up.

OTTAWA, June 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - An investigation that revealed Google Inc. lacked proper controls to protect personal information has led to a commitment by the company to implement remedial measures that will reduce the risk of future privacy violations, says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart.

"Google appears to be well on the way to resolving serious shortcomings in the way in which it addresses privacy issues," says Commissioner Stoddart. "However, given the significance of the problems we found during our investigation, we will continue to monitor how Google implements our recommendations."

The Privacy Commissioner has requested that Google undergo an independent, third-party audit of its privacy programs within a year and share the results with her Office. An audit will help measure the effectiveness of Google's proposed measures vis-à-vis its overall privacy compliance regime.

This is the first time the Commissioner has asked a company to undergo an independent audit. In order to strengthen accountability going forward, organizations may, in appropriate cases, be asked to file independent, third-party reports attesting to the fact that they have lived up to their commitments and have complied with the Commissioner's recommendations.

"Google is a world leader in innovation and, by its own admission, it pursues ideas which push the limits of social norms and technologies. As such, the company has an added responsibility to ensure that privacy protection gets the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, past history suggests that has not been the case until now," she says.

The Privacy Commissioner initiated an investigation under the federal private-sector privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA, after Google admitted that its cars - which were photographing neighbourhoods for its Street View map service - had collected data transmitted over unprotected wireless networks installed in homes and businesses around the globe. It's likely that thousands of Canadians were affected.

The personal information collected included complete e-mails, e-mail addresses, usernames and passwords, names, home telephone numbers and addresses, and even the names of people suffering from certain medical conditions.

The investigation concluded that the incident was largely a result of Google's lack of proper privacy policies and procedures.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner issued its findings and recommendations in October 2010 and asked for a response by February 2011. Google responded and subsequently provided clarification of certain issues at the request of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

The Privacy Commissioner is now satisfied with the measures that Google has agreed to implement, including:

...Significantly augmenting privacy and security training provided to all employees;

...Implementing a system for tracking all projects that collect, use or store personal information and for holding the engineers and managers responsible for those projects accountable for privacy;

...Requiring engineering project leaders to draft, maintain, submit and update Privacy Design Documents for all projects in order to help ensure engineering and product teams assess the privacy impact of their products and services from inception through launch;

...Assigning an internal audit team to conduct periodic audits to verify the completion of selected Privacy Design Documents and their review by the appropriate managers; and

...Piloting a review process whereby members of Google's Privacy Engineering, Product Counsel and Privacy Counsel teams review proposals involving location-based data, as well as the software programs that are to be used for the collection of data.

Additionally, Google has advised that it has begun to delete the data it collected in Canada. This process has been complicated by various rules and regulations that the company is subject to under Canadian and U.S. laws. The company has stated that, until such time as the data can be fully destroyed, it will remain secured and will not be used.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner will follow up with Google next year to gauge full implementation of its recommendations. At that time, the Privacy Commissioner will determine whether and how best to pursue the matter in accordance with her authorities under the Act.

The Report of Findings and a Backgrounder on the Google investigation is available on the Privacy Commissioner's website, www.priv.gc.ca.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada. The Commissioner enforces two pieces of federal legislation: the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector; and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which applies to commercial activities in all provinces, except British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, which have enacted substantially similar legislation.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

World Health Organization labels wireless "Possible Carcinogen"

Prime Minister of Canada urged to protect Canadians

TORONTO, June 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Starting yesterday, microwave radiation from cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, smart meters and other wireless consumer devices and infrastructure is officially labeled by the World Health Organization to be a Possible Carcinogen, in the same category as Lead and DDT.

The Wireless Radiation Safety Council calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to exercise the strength of his new majority government and act swiftly to protect Canada's children, as is happening elsewhere in accordance with the May 27, 2011 resolution of the Council of Europe.

Further, we urge the Prime Minister to quickly call a meeting with all provincial Premiers and Territorial Leaders to develop a framework to safeguard the health of Canadians under provincial jurisdictions of public health, labour, and education.

In light of the reclassification of emissions from wireless devices as possible carcinogens, the Prime Minister must now require Health Canada and Industry Canada to review existing standards for cell phones and all wireless consumer devices, especially those exposing pregnant women, children and youth. These include: wireless toys; baby monitors; as well as Wi-Fi and other sources in schools, daycares, and all locations where pregnant women, children and youth are exposed, including colleges and universities. We also call on the Prime Minister to urgently adopt widespread and ongoing awareness campaigns for family doctors, parents, employers and all Canadians.

The Wireless Radiation Safety Council represents more than two-dozen local and provincial organizations across Canada, lobbying for change in national wireless radiation safety standards.