The Telephone Robocall Abuse Criminal Enforcement and Deterrence Act (TRACED Act) was signed into law on December 30, 2019. This new U.S. law will set fines on spam robocallers and requires phone companies to adapt call authentication technologies to deter robocalls.
U.S. taxpayers have the option to file their income taxes for free using the Free File Program from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) if their Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) is $69,000 or less (2019 tax year requirement). The tax preparer must start the filing process at www.irs.gov/freefile instead of a commercial tax software website in order to avoid being prompted for payment.
Facebook will prompt its users to review their privacy settings within the next few weeks as part of a rollout of new and revised privacy features:
- An updated Privacy Checkup tool;
- An Off-Facebook Activity tool with a summary of data from third-party sites used for targeted ads, with an option to delete this data;
- A new Alerts for Third-Party Logins feature that allows you to see how your Facebook login is being used by other apps and services.
Avast announced that they have decided to end operations for its subsidiary data analytics company Jumpshot because of public concerns about user privacy. Avast’s free and paid antivirus software is used by millions of computer and mobile device users.
Microsoft reported a data security incident with some of its customer support data. The issue happened in December 2019 and Microsoft is in the process of contacting the affected users.
Adobe will no longer issue updates and distribute Flash Player starting in 2021. They recommend that developers move Flash Player content to newer platforms such as HTML5.
Apple, Google, and other tech companies have announced the formation of a new project to set up new common communication standards for smart home devices. Project Connected Home over IP will allow smart home devices from different manufacturers to communicate with one another using an open standard with built-in security.
Convenience store chain Wawa has disclosed a data breach that occurred from March 2019 to December 2019. Malware was detected and then removed from its payment processing servers by their information security team. Payment information, including credit and debit card numbers, expiration dates, and cardholder names were included in this breach. Wawa is offering one year of identity theft protection for affected cardholders.
Video camera maker Ring released a statement specifying that its customer accounts have not been compromised by hackers. A small number of Ring customers had Ring home video cameras accessed by third parties using login credentials that were previously made available in data breaches from other companies and websites. Ring recommended setting up two-factor authentication, not reusing passwords for multiple websites, and other security measures to its customers.