All of a sudden we're getting a spate of warnings about privacy concerns and malware. The problem is the solutions to these issues on our computers and devices is often confusing and sometimes even a false flag. A personal tech column in last week's New York Times gave a warning about not ignoring emails regarding privacy concerns. These emails are coming from companies which explain their new privacy rules, written after Europe passed the new General Data Protection Regulation law which went into effect last Friday. Since many companies are international, they must send out warnings about what to do to protect yourself to us in this country too.
You may have received an email from, say, Google or Apple or any other site which explains how to go about protecting yourself and most often the emails are asking your permission or consent for something. For example you may be asked to ok Pop-up ads. Or something else. The problem I have with these emails is it is hard to tell if it's the actual company or a hacker who seems to look like the real thing. I got one supposedly from Apple today and I'm pretty sure it isn't really Apple. By consenting to something from a possible hacker could be bad news. In any event, going through all the social media platforms and finding where their privacy policies are and how to handle them is exhausting.
All of which brings me to another issue. Tech news stories yesterday related a message from the FBI which advised, Re-boot your router. It seems Russian hackers have been able to slip malware into our routers and re-booting (unplugging and then re-plugging) should stem the malware.
Should you? According to the tech site, CNET, it won't hurt and we've often had to do this when we've had an outage or connectivity issues. CNET does however say that only a small number of routers have been seen to be infected and mostly some models of older routers. The router companies that found malware are Linksys, Netgear, Mikrotik, QNAP, and Tp-link. But again only a dozen or so models from those companies have been known to be affected.
It's kind of a crap shoot these days. I have no problem re-booting my router although it's not on the list, its the new Google Wifi mesh which is fairly well received and respected. But it's all the other things coming from company emails that concern me as to whether they are real emails or hackers. And, do I want to sit around all day and plow through all the steps for privacy protections.