A “shocking” study: Sensitive data about American military personnel is offered for sale on the Internet A “shocking” study: Sensitive data about American military personnel is offered for sale on the Internet

A “shocking” study: Sensitive data about American military personnel is offered for sale on the Internet

A “shocking” study: Sensitive data about American military personnel is offered for sale on the Internet

Sensitive data about military personnel, their families, and veterans is being sold for as little as $0.12 per record, according to new reports.
Information including military personnel's names, home addresses, geographic location, net worth and even religion, and information about their children and health conditions, can be easily obtained online from American data brokers.

The year-long study highlights how data brokering poses a threat to US national security. The study was conducted by researchers at Duke University and was published on Monday, November 6.

The researchers knew that the data brokers were advertising data about current and former US military personnel. So they launched a research operation to find out what types of data data brokers collect and sell about military personnel, and what the risk of foreign adversaries exploiting this data is.

The researchers contacted 12 data brokers in the United States to inquire about purchasing information about military men and women.

After analyzing the data and taking ethical considerations, the team purchased data from three of these brokers. The identity of none of the data was revealed.

They found that some brokers offered to sell data with minimal scrutiny, while others had certain controls.

One broker requested identity verification unless payment was made via bank transfer, the researchers wrote. Another asked them to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

In addition, some brokers have rejected sales based on factors such as the lack of a website or the company's "verified" status.

Others inquired about the intended use of the data or requested non-disclosure agreements. Controls often focused on data confidentiality and buyer legitimacy.

The study found that anyone with a few hundred dollars could obtain this sensitive data for good or bad reasons.

All of the datasets purchased by the researchers contained personal information about military personnel, and details such as names, addresses, email addresses, health conditions, religion, and financial data were readily available for $0.12 to $0.32 per military service member when the data was purchased in bulk.

The study notes that brokers sell "up-to-date records" and advertise them as such, where all names and addresses of veterans' mailing lists are updated and verified on a monthly basis.

The year-long study, which was funded in part by the US Military Academy at West Point, highlights the severe privacy and national security risks created by data brokers, as foreign actors are likely to obtain this data, either legally or through, Hacking, to be exploited for various purposes, including espionage, election interference, profiling, fraud, extortion, and more.

These companies are part of a shadowy, multi-billion-dollar industry that collects, buys and sells data, practices that are currently legal in the United States.

The researchers say they were "shocked" at the ease with which they were able to obtain highly sensitive data about military personnel.

The study recommends that Congress pass a privacy law to put controls on data brokers, and that the Department of Defense evaluate and monitor the flow of information to data brokers in its contracts.

A simple password trick that prevents your accounts from being hacked!

It can be frustrating to create a “strong password” that meets the criteria, as it will likely include at least one number, symbol, or uppercase letter.

In this regard, technology experts shared a simple trick that helps create a strong passcode that includes adding emojis, as hackers must pass through about 3,700 variables to reveal it.

There are more than 3,600 emojis standardized in Unicode, and up to five emojis are equivalent to a regular nine-character password, and seven emojis are equivalent to a strong 13-character password.

Besides creating a nearly unbreakable password, people may find it easier to remember strange symbols rather than a "meaningless jumble of letters and numbers."

The suggestion comes from Stan Kaminsky, of cybersecurity firm Kaspersky, who shared the "hack" in a post .

Kaminsky noted that creating a phrase using emojis is the best way to use them in passwords.

For example, you can create book and movie titles, such as "Alice in Wonderland," using a girl, a bunny, a hole, and a top hat.

However, Kaminsky cautioned that using emojis in a passcode does have a downside, as small images can slow down the login process because they are more difficult to enter than letters, numbers, and symbols.

"On smartphones, entering emojis is simple in itself. However, on desktops, it can be a bit more annoying," he added.

Another problem is that people have favorite emojis that they use on social media, and a hacker who follows your every move will likely try to use them to break your code.

"Instagram" finally allows you to disable the "read message mark"!

Instagram announced that it will soon offer the option to disable the read mark for direct messages (DMs), which means users will not be able to know that you have read their messages.
Instagram says it is currently testing the feature, although it has remained tight-lipped about plans to deploy it more widely.

Social media users were divided over the move, with some calling it a "much needed feature", others disliked it.

“Soon, people will be able to choose when they let others know when they have read their messages,” Instagram President Adam Mosseri said in a post.

However, he did not clarify what he meant by “soon” or whether the feature would be available to all users at once.

Mosseri also included an image showing what the option would look like. In Privacy and Security settings, under the “Who can see your activity” category, users are given the option to toggle the Read Messages flag on or off.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that the company was “testing the ability to turn off the reading tag for Instagram direct messages.”

On X (formerly Twitter), many social media users welcomed the announcement, with one saying: “Better late than never.”

Another commenter wrote: "Finally, some good news." Meanwhile another added that this was a "much needed feature".

However, a few commenters lamented the loss of the ability to check whether someone has read their messages.

"Oh, now I can't even tell when I'm being ignored," one frustrated commenter wrote.


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