Articles: Privacy

More on Scams

As always there are numerous scams out there, most trying to steal your email address and password, or overcharging you for something that you may or may not need. They may be by email or snail mail – post.

The last overcharging scam we have seen is a renewal notice/invoice from an organisation called PTMO – Patent & Trademark Organisation. Their scam is to overcharge you for a trademark renewal – on a trademark that you may or may not have and which may not be due for renewal.

As always, if you get an invoice from someone you are not 100% sure about;

Check the amount and what they are charging you for.
Make sure it is for a service you need and do not get from elsewhere
Read the fine print – some may lock you in for a long period
Do not give away passwords or anything else

For more information on various scams, search for “New Zealand scams” (or similar search phrases) in your preferred search engine.

Internet of Insecure things

Some time ago we talked about the Internet of Things. That means devices like fridges, air conditioners and heat pumps and other devices that are now wifi and internet enabled. CCTV cameras also fall into this category and there are millions of them around. Greater London has around 500,000 and the whole of the UK is estimated to have 4,200,000! 9

These devices may make your life easier and more secure but the proliferation of these is also assisting hackers as they are not secured or using any anti virus or firewall type software.
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NZ Website Credit Card hack / skimming

Hackers have recently skimmed credit card details from scores of NZ online stores. These include sports and book stores and online pharmacies. Worldwide there are around 6000+ sites affected by this malware.

The hack exploits a vulnerability in unpatched Magento Shopping carts on sites.

If you think you have purchased from a site which uses a Magento shopping card, contact your bank. If your site uses Magento as it’s shopping cart back end contact your developer.

And if you are using any other shopping cart on your site check to make sure that it is fully up to date and secure.

Now! Pronto!


Password security – have you been hacked?

Many major companies have had their databases hacked and info stolen (eg Adobe, various banks and credit companies, govt agencies).

How do you know if you are on a hacked list that is now public?

We have found a site that checks against the main known hacked lists and tells you if you are on them.

The site is

As far as I can see from checking and reading about it, it is a safe site to use but make your own decision (we checked it and we are there for the Adobe hacked list – we have registered Adobe products previously).

Ransomware Hacking

The latest hacking trend seems to be to hijack your computer, then encrypt your files so you can’t read them. Then demand a ransom to un-encrypt them. This can be from hundreds to thousands of dollars.


And of course if you pay up once they may do it to you again or not fix them for you.

Regularly backing up your data is the best protection! Do you do that?

Also run reliable, regularly updated Antivirus and security software.

Search for “protection from ransomware” for information about how to prevent it happening to you.


Facebook went down this week sending many of their billion plus users into a tailspin. Some apparently even read books!

Facebook is also doing more with interpreting users’ psychological traits – trying to get even cleverer at measuring your personality based on your likes etc. They claim that they know users better than their friends do from 70 likes. More than 150 likes and they claim to know a user better than parents or siblings do. But it takes 300 likes before they know you better than your spouse. Users average around 227 likes so the spouse still wins!

You can do a free online test that will help them match their results and refine their methods for measuring everything about you (if you really want that or think it is a good idea).

Get Forgotten by Google

Google, Facebook and other online organisations hold a great deal of information about you.

In Europe, courts have ruled that people have the right to have their information forgotten by Google, Microsoft and other online organisations.

Mostly so far it is people getting negative information forgotten (removed), but maybe it means in the future you will have the right to have everything about you forgotten by providers. Continue reading