All posts by tylersonnemaker2019

Traffic never jams at Chicago’s busiest internet intersection

By Tyler Sonnemaker
Medill Reports

Remember when you used to order DVDs from Netflix and discs would arrive within a week or two? When you added a movie to your queue, Netflix would locate a physical copy in one of its distribution centers, load the DVD on a truck and then ship it to your house in a signature red envelope.

Most people stream movies now, but that data still gets delivered to your device from somewhere else. It has a physical address, and that address might not be as far away as you think. Continue reading

Multiple federal agencies hit by wave of possible Iran-linked cyberattacks

By Tyler Sonnemaker
Medill Reports

The Department of Homeland Security last week instructed all federal civilian agencies to take immediate actions to address “significant and imminent risks to agency information and information systems” resulting from an ongoing wave of cyberattacks.

In an emergency directive issued Jan. 22, DHS’ Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said it is aware of “multiple executive branch agency domains” impacted by the campaign and has notified the agencies that maintain them.

FireEye, a cybersecurity firm based in California, indicated it had identified attacks that affected at least 50 government, telecommunications and internet infrastructure entities globally on an “almost unprecedented scale,” according to a company blog post published Jan. 9.

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Tracked and hacked: Why every internet user should care about cybersecurity and digital privacy

By Tyler Sonnemaker
Medill Reports

Consider all the digital devices you use. Smartphones and tablets. Smart TVs and speakers. Wi-Fi routers and cable boxes. Wearable technology and health trackers. Video game systems. Wireless connections to printers, refrigerators, thermostats, home security systems and other smart appliances. Even cars with onboard computers.

If it’s connected to a network  – and sometimes even if it’s not – your device can be hacked or monitored by anyone from advertisers to criminals to governments. The more devices you use, the more you’re at risk. And once data is collected or intercepted by a third party — whether or not you volunteered it — it can be used against you and you likely won’t be able to do much about it.

Concerned yet? If not, try entering your email into HaveIBeenPwned, a free service created by Microsoft Regional Director and security researcher Troy Hunt to assess whether your online accounts have been compromised. Just last week, Hunt added a collection of nearly 773 million unique email accounts exposed through breaches. By this point, most people have heard about — or been affected by — high-profile data breaches, cyber-attacks, or unwanted data collection. In the past few years, Facebook, Google, Uber, Equifax, Yahoo, Adult Friend Finder, Target, Under Armor and eBay had breaches involving tens and even hundreds of millions of accounts. People also voluntarily offer information without fully knowing what’s being collected or how it’s being used (think Google searches, location data, or car and home loans).

These products and services often offer us extreme convenience in exchange for our information.  In comparison, changing our cybersecurity practices may seem too inconvenient or confusing. And people might think they don’t have any data worth protecting.

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