Weekly Roundup: Use Signal Rather Than WhatsApp, Learn about Canada’s Privacy Laws, and Ransomware Attacks

This week in our roundup for the top cybersecurity news from around the world, we discuss how Signal is a much better alternative to WhatsApp, how Canada’s privacy commissioner is super concerned about the online safety of the citizens, and how  ransomware attacks just keep coming. 

Time for a safer alternative to WhatsApp!

Try Signal instead of WhatsApp if you give a damn about privacy

Uh so, we’re probably aware of what you’re thinking: why are we even suggesting a WhatsApp alternative when it works just fine? The short answer is Facebook owns WhatsApp. And we say this loud and clear: if you are using Facebook without any security, then say goodbye to your privacy. 

There is nothing hidden on Facebook. Period. End of Story. 

via GIPHY

Yet, unless you are smart and know how to protect your Facebook data, pictures, videos, home address, or contact information, your privacy is an illusion. You may think WhatsApp privacy is all well and good, as end-to-end encryption may keep you safe from prying eyes or stop anyone from trying to interfere with your privacy. But WhatsApp is weak when it comes to using the app on various platforms or devices and transferring data on another device. 

I mean, chat history is all available in plaintext. How secure is that?! 

On top of that, there’s a lot I don’t know about Facebook’s intentions with WhatsApp. We have no idea if  Facebook collects the metadata of every WhatsApp picture, or if they are gathering data you share with contacts. This is still a big red flag in terms of user privacy, and quite frankly, a grey area. 

So it’s time to bid adieu to WhatsApp. Give Signal a shot instead, because, for one thing, it ain’t Facebook.

Signal is getting traction as an alternative to WhatsApp on the simple fact that it is more secure. That’s it, this is how the app is becoming common. Whatever WhatsApp can do, Signal can do better.  

You can use Signal on multiple devices, delete and completely vanish the messages from the server, and call others using the desktop app. And the best part is that you can transfer encrypted Signal messages to other devices (WhatsApp can’t do that, remember?). (Hint: you need a really long encryption code to transfer data across devices.)

We won’t go as far as telling you to delete WhatsApp just yet, but consider using Signal for more privacy. In time, you will get familiar with Signal and can upgrade your online privacy. And don’t forget to tell your friends to use Signal… some of them may not care about security and privacy, but we do. 

Canada’s Privacy Commissioner wants the Government to change its Privacy Laws

We were surprised to hear that Canada has privacy laws, lol. 

On a serious note, if you are a Canadian citizen, then you might see tons of online ads just like the rest of the world because this is how the internet works now, unfortunately. But the main concern here is protecting the privacy of each citizen especially when it involves personal information like medical history. 

See, the thing is: there are no solid protection and data privacy laws in Canada. 

According to PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act), the rules apply to private-sector organizations across Canada that collect, use or, disclose personal information in the course of a commercial activity. The law defines a commercial activity as any particular transaction, act, or conduct, or any regular course of conduct that is of a commercial character, including the selling, bartering or leasing of donor, membership or other fundraising lists.

The above is a summary of some kind of privacy law, but Canada needs to put forth more effort in protecting its citizens’ data, considering ransomware attackers can truly destroy the lives of just about anyone. 

Privacy laws without a backbone…

The problem in this law is there is no accountability and privacy of data from foreign companies working with native Canadian citizens. Most companies prefer to outsource their work and protecting that data is a big concern here for the Privacy Commissioner. 

The focus will first be on telecom companies that are working in Canada because the government can’t ignore the fact that foreign companies are accessing their citizen’s data. 

And yes, Canada might be following the footsteps of the United States of America (when the US accuses China and Russia of launching cyberattacks) but they are very far from accusing a country or even creating an internet firewall. The privacy commissioner, Daniel Therrien, wants to highlight the fact that other countries have legal privacy laws whereas Canada doesn’t. 

We agree with him 100%.

Just giving you a heads up before it’s too late

According to reports, countries are facing a spike in ransomware attacks especially when all of us started working online. 

Who has become a victim of a ransomware attack lately? Telecom companies, healthcare organizations, and software companies have all faced ransomware attacks, and in more than 90% of cases, the victim has had to pay a large ransom. When we say large, we are taking millions. 

This is why we, the PureVengers, have put on our red capes and to provide tips and tricks on how to avoid any type of cyberattack or malware attack or even simple hacking. We know hackers are smarter than most internet users and you may still get scammed, but… we are here to help you shield common ransomware or cyberattacks at the very least. It’s our duty.

Ransomware attacks are unstoppable… but controllable 

The sad part is that most governments and organizations don’t realize the full extent of ransomware attacks. Recently, a patient died because hackers penetrated the systems and doctors weren’t able to treat the woman as they were stuck worrying about ransoms. Moreover, Garmin servers were under attack twice; customers weren’t able to sync their  devices to the cloud or access old data until the company paid the attackers using cryptocurrency. 

Here is another news of a ransomware attack on software using clinical trials. 

And another one here.  

I’ll give you 5 minutes to search for some ransomware articles too. I dare you to find less than a dozen. I’ll wait. 

Ah yes, you saw that one, where ransomware attackers targeted hospitals once again. You see the pattern here, don’t you? Hospitals and medical organizations without property security protocols equal a hacker’s paradise. 

On the plus side, the biggest threat right now is for the US Presidential Elections 2020.

Our honest thoughts on this

All we can say is that there is no end to this battle. Hackers are going to keep hitting weak spots and ask for a ransom because it is easy money. They steal your data and pay them to get it back. This is digital kidnapping on a very high level. 

The best thing to do is make yourself aware of the sharks on the internet and try to learn more about online privacy. That’s why we share a reckless amount of guides to help you understand the dynamics of online privacy and how to shield against digital threats. 

#BeCyberAware in 2020

Sameed Ajax Sameed is a Digital Content Producer at PureVPN who covers cybersecurity, streaming, and weekly news. He also shares awesome guides and easy hacks to help Internet users protect their private data. Besides that, he waste time playing FIFA, eating pizza, and sending tweets.

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