Consumer Information

Another Security Breach

WARNING – Playstation Network users should change their passwords and security questions as soon as possible !

An unknown number of user accounts have been breached from April 17th and April 19th, 2011 according to Sony, allowing intruders access to personal information.

This information includes profile information (names, addresses), purchase history, password and security question information.

PlayStation Network and Qriocity services are currently offline as a security firm investigates the security breaches. And Sony advises users that they will never ask for credit card number, social security number or other personally identifiable information by email or phone.

Google Videos Moving To Youtube

According to a recent blog entry, Google is moving their video content to Youtube.

This means people who have uploaded content to Google will be given an option to download this content durring the migration, as well as information on how to migrate this content to Youtube.

The previously published deadline, which was April 29th, 2011, has been reversed and the content will remain accessible for the time being.

IMSLP Attacked By UK Music Publishers

The International Music Score Library Project was knocked offline temporarily this week by a DMCA complaint by the Music Publisher’s Association (UK).

Appearently they had attempted to impose EU copyright laws on this Canadian site because the IMSLP had published Sergei Rachmaninoff‘s “The Bells, Op.35“, a score that is considered public domain in Canada and the United States.

This score had been originally published prior to 1923 and in countries where copyright is limited to 50 years after the death of the composer the material is public domain. In 1993 the European Union had adopted a term of 70 years instead of 50, resulting in a complaint in regards to this specific composition.

This incident has resulted in alot of discussions online in regards to Canada’s attempts to reform copyright and our conformity to international law.

Many Canadians are concerned that the European Union’s music publishers are attempting to impose their terms in Canada, the IMSLP having been previously subjected to a takedown in October 2007 by European classical music publishing firm Universal Edition over numerous compositions. And Canada is currently in talks with the European Union in regards to a free-trade pact, which includes discussions on intellectual property.

The Short Lived Flip

Who would have thought The Flip would have had such a short life.

It hit the market in May 2006, became a popular product for Youtubers over the following years, was purchased by Cisco for $590 million in 2009 and then taken out of production a few days back, on the 12th of April, 2011.

Quite frankly, I don’t get it.

Yes, there was some competition form the new phones. But I don’t like filming video with them. I prefer using a tripod mountable pocket camcorder, that nobody can just suddenly call to. I’d hate to need to run to the cell in the middle of filming to answer a call.

I am interested in purchasing a tablet computer later on, hopefully one with a video camera in it. But at the moment only a few of them have tripod mounts and my Kodak PlaySport is more durable and waterproof.

I am considering The Flip now though because the company has discounted their models by $20, $30 if you use the Flip10 coupon. They’re even offering free shipping and customization.

I’ve heard raves about the HD version from Youtubers over the years so i’m curious. It might be something to own until the Panasonic HM-TA20 Waterproof HD Pocket Camcorder drops in price after its release in May.

I guess it’s research time…

International Record Store Day 2011

Today is Record Store Day, a day in which Independent Record Stores through-out the world are celebrated and participate in various promotions.

A list of participating stores in Canada can be found on the Official Record Store Day website.

Epsilon Hack & Canadians

Well, that was some April Fools Day, wasn’t it ?

Epsilon was hacked and confirmed that 2% of their clientelle have had their email lists compromised, Alliance Data confirming that email addresses and their associated names had been stollen from their database.

Bank Info Security has posted a list of companies whose information was compromised. And among these nearly 70 companies are financial institutions, internet merchants and loyalty programs Canadians use.

Most of these companies have already contacted their Canadian customers in regards to this security breach. But what now ?

The Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial Email advises people to change their email addresses as soon as possible, especially when dealing with financial institutions.

Twelve financial institutions were affected according to CAUCE, namely American Express, Ameriprise Financial, Barclays Bank of Delaware, Capital One, CITI, JP Morgan Chase, Moneygram, Scottrade, TD Ameritrade, TIAA-CREF, U.S. Bank and World Financial Network National Bank. But of course even if you don’t have an account at those financial institutions you should consider changing your email address at your financial institution if you’ve been advised by one of the other companies of this breach on your current email address.

The hackers have probably sold your information by now so you will likely be subjected to emails claiming to be from several financial institutions and online payment companies.

They’re of course hoping people will click on the links included in these emails and provide them with passwords and other information to facilitate identity theft. But of course no financial institution or online merchant will ever ask you to provide personal information by email and these companies always use encypted connections on the internet.

The most recent internet browsers either have a confirmation that the connection is secured or a verification scheme that confirms that the web site you’re visiting is authentic. But of course it is up to the user to keep on eye on the address bar at all times.

Internet users that are versed in Phishing know to look for an https:// and/or a picture of a lock in their address bar because scammers rarely purchase security certificates to scam people out of their information. They usually just stick to variations of a web site address to lure the less knowledgable into providing their passwords or other information on a fake website.

Personally, whenever some company sends me a warning about my account I open up a new tab on my browser and I use my bookmarks to access the site. I never click on the link provided in the email or provide account numbers via email. And if all else fails, I call their toll free number to resolve the issue.

Webmail services also offer anti-spam and anti-phishing options that you might consider using. These have worked quite nicely for me. But of course if push comes to shove the webmail address I use on most sites are disposible.

BTW, if you’re interested in obtaining additional security software or information on related consumer issues, I have some links listed in my Consumer Links that you might find interesting.