Tech Essentials for the Modern Investor, a guide that reveals the new world of big data,
privacy risks, and Internet
“Tech Essentials for the Modern Investor” was written to open your eyes to the new world of big data, privacy risks, and Internet criminal tactics. Why should you care? We discuss how companies are siphoning off your personal, financial, and habitual information, using the information to build profiles on you, and then selling your profile to organizations that want to track, target, or market to you. Some people enjoy this as it gives them the opportunity to receive more targeted advertising in their email – but they are often not aware that Internet criminals can also use this information to target you with sophisticated cyber fraud and hacker attacks. Today, Microsoft and Google are an extension of your life. With Google, it is impossible to avoid providing them your information if you use Google products (search, Gmail, document storage online). With Windows 10, unless you take great care when you first start using, every document you create is stored in a “Drive” in the Microsoft Cloud, where Microsoft discloses that they have the right to read your information and analyze it. There is a mirrored document structure on your computer’s hard drive and on the OneDrive (your Microsoft online drive). The copying of your information might be refreshing for those that want an instant backup… but do you really want all of your financial and personal information stored and analyzed by Microsoft, automatically? Microsoft Window 10 goes further with Cortana, for example, which can, perhaps without your knowledge, record your keystrokes, listen to your conversations and watch you via your built-in computer microphone and camera. Microsoft’s Cortana is particularly invasive as this has access to your camera and microphone along with your contacts, calendar, keystrokes, web browsing history, web search key words, and all of your documents. Apple’s Siri is similar, on your mobile device, and Amazon Echo listens to you in your living room. People have reported having conversations in their living room, only to receive email marketing messages related to those conversation topics soon after. Creepy. This is all disclosed of course. Microsoft states, for example: We will access, disclose and preserve personal data, including your content (such as the content of your emails, other private communications or files in private folders), when we have a good faith belief that doing so is necessary. The good news is, with some awareness, you can learn how to use these powerful technologies (Windows 10, with all its built in “spying,” is really built with the end user’s convenience, needs and goals in mind). You can opt out of these features to enhance your privacy, but you need to know where to look. Windows 10, for example, has a Settings and Privacy applet, where you are greeted with 13 different screens to weed through, to opt out of things (read each carefully). Most of the concerning ones are on the General tab, but you really should go through all tabs, to understand and customize which types of data each app on your system can access. With Apple’s iPhone, within the Location Services area, you can see all of your physical locations visited and the tracking that is shared with Apple, other apps, and sometimes other people. For example, if you do not want a cumulative list of every physical location you have visited stored by Apple and shared with apps and marketers (among others), you might take the time to turn that “feature” off, hidden away in sub menus. 5 | Foreword Some people simply claim none of this is important as their life is not interesting enough for others to care about enough to monitor their activity. Hackers like these people, as they can use legitimate marketing and social media tools (often back-end purchased premium accounts) to cull this data on you, run your profile through an algorithm to determine if you are worth targeting (if you have the financial resources to pay ransom to regain access to your personal files and photos, and if you are making investments) and then they lure you to send funds to hacker or imposter bank accounts. If you are an investor or investment advisor, your profile would certainly trigger the green light for hackers to target you. This book aims to increase your awareness of these trends and threats, recommend tools you can use to protect and equip yourself, and show you how to meet these challenges head on.