Tag Archives: laptops

Tech Addiction is Real!

We have a problem. We are addicted to our technology. Its that feeling you get when you can’t find your cellphone? Or you can’t get your computer or tablet to connect to the Internet? Or when you have not checked your Facebook page in a few hours or days? Tech addiction is real!

Black parents make the mistake of permitting unsupervised use of technology by children and teens. Far too many parents, black and white, use phones and tablets to babysit young children and ignore a teenager who is constantly on his or her cellphone. That is the start of tech addiction in our children. According to Psychology Today troubling studies have connected delayed cognitive development in children with extended exposure to electronic media.

Apple, the most successful consumer tech company on earth is feeling the heat. Two of Apple’s biggest investors, controlling $2 billion in Apple shares, are pushing the company to curb growing smartphone addiction among children.   The California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalsTRS)  and Jana Partners LLC, sent an open letter to Apple urging the company to take a  “defining role” in turning the tech industry’s attention toward the health and development of the next generation of tech users. The group said the move is “both good business and the right thing to do.”  In the letter the group said, “There is a developing consensus around the world, including Silicon Valley, that the potential long-term consequences of new technologies needs to be factored in at the outset, and no company can outsource that responsibility.”

According to a report from Common Sense Media 50 percent of teens age, 12 to 18, reported feeling addicted to their mobile devices. Fifty-nine percent of parents agreed their teens were addicted. 

The is most frightening fact about tech addiction is that designers and software developers intentionally designed these products to be as addictive as possible. A model they may have picked up from cigarette makers.

Tech and social media addiction works very much like any other addictive drug on the brain. When using chemical drugs the brain’s pleasure centers are stimulated causing the user to want more until the body becomes dependent on the drug to feel normal. Researchers at the UCLA brain mapping center performed tests on teens using a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner to monitor brain activity when using social media. Researchers found certain regions of the brain became activated by “likes.” The fMRI scans revealed that the part of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens, or the brain’s reward circuitry, was especially stimulated when teens were shown that their photos received a high number of likes. Scientist believe that this could inspire them to use social media more often.

 

Apple’s chief design officer, Jony Ive, has admitted that using your iPhone too much could be considered “misuse.”

 

According to research by Jean Twenge, professor of psychology at San Diego State University, trends in teenage mental health began to appear in 2011 and 2012 as smartphones became  commonplace among teens.  “There was a doubling in the suicide rate and tripling in emergency room admissions of self-harm among young girls,” Twenge said. “And there was a 50 percent increase in the clinical depression rate.”

Social media addiction is another serious threat to mental health.  Tech executives and the people who practically invented social media have spoken out in recent months about the dangers and harmful effects of what has become an age of Internet junkies. This group of former Apple, Facebook and Google employees have banded together to form an anti-tech addiction coalition called the Center for Humane Technology.

Since 2014 the center has been working to raise awareness of tech addiction. Aptly named “The Truth About Tech,” the campaign is designed to educate parents, teachers and students about the harmful and addictive effects of technology. The coalition is especially focused on the endless hours teens and children spend with their eyes glued to a glowing screen. This obsession  can lead to to anxiety, depression, shortened attention spans, sleep deprivation and negatively affect a healthy social development of teens who are already in the grips of adolescent insecurity.

Social media addiction is not just a young person’s addiction. Far from it. Plenty of adults have become addicted to constant texting and wasting hours on Facebook. So much so that Facebook and social media has become a workplace issue. Employees have been found out and terminated for sexually harassing co-workers on social media, sharing company secrets or criticizing their supervisors. Not to mention wasting millions of hours annually.

According to research performed by CareerBuilder technology is the leading cause of lost productivity in the workplace. The poll revealed that 24 percent of workers admitted spending at least an hour a day on personal email, texts and personal calls. According to the poll the biggest time wasters are doing the following;

  • Talking on the cell phone and texting – 50%
  • Gossiping – 42%
  • On the Internet – 39%
  • On social media – 38%

Like all addictions it makes it way into the homes of those affected. According to Common Sense Media 36 percent of parents and teens argue about the use of technology. 

According to AddictionsExperts.com these are the symptoms of technology addiction;

  • The need to be on a piece of technology during all waking hours. An addict may even take a phone to bed at night, or use a mobile device while in the bathroom.
  • Talking incessantly about technology and spending copious amounts of money on the latest equipment. For technology addicts, having new technology is more important than paying the mortgage.
  • Using technology to avoid social situations. The technology addict may reduce the amount of time he or she deals with people by focusing on technology instead.
  • Playing games online for hours and hours, even if your family members and friends are begging you to stop. When you don’t play the games, you feel like you’re missing something.
  • Constantly checking social media pages for updates, as well as making updates about even mundane, day-to-day activities.
  • Feeling “left out” when technology isn’t available, and borrowing others’ devices to check in.

 

 

 

 

Breach Brief – Acer Computer

Acer-LogoComputer maker Acer announced that it has suffered a data breach of its U.S. commerce site. According to Acer anyone who has purchased a computer through the site in the past year may be at risk.

Customers that accessed the site between May 12, 2015 and April 28, 2016 may have had personal information compromised. This data includes mailing addresses, credit card numbers, expiration dates, and even the card’s CVV security codes. CVV codes are the digits on the back of cards next to the signature box.  On American Express Cards the CVV code is on the front. Acer has not said how many people are impacted by the breach.

cvvnumberoncreditcards

CVV Numbers on major credit cards

A letter from Acer’s vice president of customer service Mark Groveunder said, “We do not collect Social Security numbers, and we have not identified evidence indicating that password or login credentials were affected.”  The PC and laptop maker has not said how the hack was carried out.

Grovenunder went on to say in the letter that Acer has employed an outside cyber security firm to investigate the breach and is cooperating with federal law enforcement and has also notified the affected payment card providers.

“If you suspect that you are a victim of identity theft or fraud, you have the right to file a police report. In addition, you may contact your State Attorney General’s office or the U.S. Federal Trade Commission to learn about steps you can take to protect yourself against identity theft,” said Groveunder in the letter.

Acer urges its customers to review their credit card account statements for any suspicious activity.

“We value the trust you place in us. We regret this incident occurred, and we will be working hard to enhance our security,” said Groveunder.

 

Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Cyber Security Awareness MonthOctober is National Cyber Security Awareness MonthThe African-American Cyber Report is dedicated to bringing the latest most relevant cyber security news and information to black people. The AACR answers black people when they ask; “What does that mean to me?”

Cyber security has become the single most urgent topic of our age. More people fear having their identity stolen than being robbed at gunpoint or murdered.

 As part of National Cyber Security Awareness Month the AACR is revealing the top cyber security threats of 2015 and the coming new year and how black people can guard against these threats.

Dangers of Public Wi-Fi

Free Internet! What a joy and convenience for business people and travelers when they can access the Internet at will without being charged. Free Wi-Fi is also a benefit to businesses that provide it to customers. Any location that offers Wi-Fi is often filled with people focused on their laptops.  But free Wi-Fi is also a danger to black people who are unaware of how open and free that network connection really is.

Free and open Wi-Fi is a prime hunting ground for cyber criminals. These networks are open and all the information flying through the air is like fresh hanging fruit to thieves. Hackers and cyber criminals are often sitting in the room, and probably at the table next to you, watching the Internet traffic moving through Wi-Fi hotspots. They are collecting information from users that include user names and passwords to websites, personal information from your computer or smartphone. Hackers are even capable of planting malware and viruses on computers without the owners even knowing it. The result is hijacked bank accounts or stolen identities

But if you think that is bad it gets worse. Even if you don’t use the free Wi-Fi you could still be in danger. Many locations, especially airports, offer free charging stations. Well hackers have found those and are hacking phones, laptops and tablets while they are re-charging.

Hackers are using small inexpensive computers called a “Mactan.” They secretly install these tiny devices at charging stations to hack personal devices including iPhones. It is particularly frightening when you realize that free charging stations are popping up everywhere and most are un-attended and insecure. Many times you can find free promotional charging stations at events where many people gather including conventions and sporting events. Beware! Anyone can slip a device inside.

How simple is it? Here are the steps;

  1. Build the “Mactan. Cost, about $50.
  2. Hide the Mactan inside a public charging station and wait.
  3. Someone comes along and plugs in a cell phone for a quick charge.
  4. The virus takes less than a minute to upload.
  5. Done! Your phone or laptop is now infected. The virus can now steal personal information or transmit the phone’s location to a hacker.

Alicia diVittorio, consumer safety advocate for mobile security company Lookout says, “There’s definitely a security risk associated with public charging stations. It can be an open channel for potential attackers. We recommend against using them.”

So how do you stay safe when using public Wi-Fi?

  1. Always use a VPN connection. This software encrypts your data and location from a hacker. You can find the best free VPN software here.
  2. Watch what sites you visit. Stay away from sites that requires a user name and password like your bank,  favorite shopping website, social media or email. Visit those sites from home or a safe connection.
  3. Be aware of your surroundings. Someone may be watching you. Make sure no “shoulder surfers” are watching what you while you cruise the net. Consider purchasing a privacy screen to take along with you. Or at least sit with your laptop screen turned away from everyone else. What about that guy who seems to always be in the coffee shop whenever you go there. Is he a hacker?
  4. Keep your device charged. Make sure your device is fully charged before leaving home and only use trusted power sources. A wall outlet is best. You may want to buy a charger for your car.

Now you know.