Data Breaches

Marriott Hotels report 2020 data breach

Marriott Hotels has reported a data breach in 2020 that affected the data for approximately 5.2 million guests.   Customers can request more information at

Apps and Utilities Google

Google services outages tracked on G Suite Status Dashboard

Google experienced some outages on March 26th 2020 that were tracked on its G Suite Status Dashboard. This included Gmail, Google Drive, Google Docs and other services.

Hardware Security

Ring now requires two-factor authentication

Ring now requires that customers use two-factor authentication when when they log into their accounts.  Instructions on how to set up Ring two-factor authentication may be found here.

The Ring app also has a new Control Center for customers to manage their privacy and security settings.


TRACED Act sets fines for robocallers

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.   The FTC and FCC government agencies also have some instructions to reduce the number of received robocalls.


File income taxes for free using the IRS Free File Program

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 instead of a commercial tax software website in order to avoid being prompted for payment.

The Free File program is part of an agreement between the IRS and the Free File Alliance, a coalition of tax software companies.

Facebook Privacy of Data

Facebook app will have more privacy features

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:

Privacy of Data Security

Avast will end operations for Jumpshot because of user privacy concerns

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 reports access misconfiguration for customer support database

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.

Web Browsers

Adobe will no longer support Flash Player in 2021

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.

Visual Studio

Show differences between two files using Visual Studio

A side-by-side comparison of two files can be shown using Visual Studio by using the command line utility option devenv.exe /diff, or by running Tools.DiffFiles from the Command Window.