Would You Rather?

Cyber Security, High Technology, Social Media, Technology Posted Sep 20, 2019 by Shannon Kelley

Artificial Intelligence (AI). What do you know about it? It’s a great tool that has revolutionized the technology world we live in. It drives convenience into our lives and acts as an assistant in our day-to-day routines. However, there are always two sides to every coin, and that remains true when we’re talking about AI. Security and privacy issues come into play when using AI tools and many users aren’t aware of them. Apple launched their new iPhone 11 model this past week and I asked 800 of my closest friends on Instagram (Ha!) to participate in a poll surveying their everyday technology use and habits. When it comes to cybersecurity, the results were shocking!With 41.9% of smartphone users in the U.S. being iPhone users, the poll revealed just how little the average user thinks about the risks associated with AI.

Artificial Intelligence is all around us, whether we realize it or not. It’s in our concert and sports venues, schools, homes, phones, banks, hospitals, and it is even being implemented in our airports. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. It brings us a new level of security and safety to help combat potential harm. However, the tech giants that implement AI may also be collecting your personal information in the process. So how dependent are users on AI via their phones, and what does that mean for their privacy? Take a look.

Do you use Face ID/Fingerprint for logging into your phone or do you enter a passcode?

While using Face ID and a fingerprint to login to your smartphone device is not kept in a database, there are still ways around hacking into the device. In fact, security researchers managed to bypass the iPhone Face ID user authentication in just 120 seconds. All they needed was a pair of glasses, tape, and a sleeping iPhone owner. A Vietnamese security firm, Bkav, also managed to trick Face ID into unlocking a phone using a 3D printed mask. So, if you think your face is unable to be replicated, think again! Our world is moving towards face ID and fingerprints as our identification rather than passports and licenses. While this is significantly more convenient because, well, you can’t lose your face, it raises many privacy concerns. Not to mention it may get to a point where you won’t have the option to opt out.

 Do you use autofill/save your passwords to your phone or do you type them in each time? And do you change your passwords occasionally, or do you keep the same password for everything?

I asked two very similar questions here and both answers came to no surprise.
83% of people said they keep the same password for everything and 82% of participants said they use autofill to sign into their apps. Using the same password for everything leaves you vulnerable to hacking. Our smartphone devices carry important personal information that we shouldn’t risk getting confiscated by a hacker. For example, many of us use online banking. If you are using the same password as your Facebook credentials or have it set up with autofill, this is leaving vital information vulnerable. For the 83% of users who use autofill/saved passwords, it’s also important to understand what online phishing is. Online phishing is when a hacker poses as a trustworthy source through email, text, or phone. Once you open any message from the hacker, they can potentially gain sensitive information like your social security number, passwords, or bank account. Scary, right? To avoid this, change up your passwords and don’t open anything from unknown sources!

Do you share your location with friends/family/other apps, or do you prefer to be on ghost mode?

So, who can snoop and stalk your whereabouts? While this is one of the top privacy concerns, security experts agree that it is practically impossible to stop location tracking on an iPhone. Allowing your friends to know where you are at all hours of the day is probably not your biggest concern. Trust me, I understand the safety reasons that surround sharing your location with friends and family. I recently moved to Boston on my own and use the app “find my friends” with my sister and roommates, just in case. But what concerns experts is the data these tracking services collect. Allowing Apple, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat (to name a few) to track your location, means that tech giants are also tracking your habits. Rather than being an individual you become a demographic, especially to advertisers. Businesses pay to set up a geo fence radius in certain areas. If you step foot into that fence, you are immediately targeted with advertisements from that business. Not to mention, if a hacker gains access to your phone, they too might always know where you are.

Do you keep all text messages, or do you delete them occasionally?

Many of you don’t know that Apple offers a feature that automatically deletes messages after 30 days. Why might this be of interest to you? By default, iOS stores all iMessage content on your phone. I’m sure many of you have a few texts you’d rather not expose to the public and leaving these on your phone could leave conversations vulnerable. For example, have you ever texted someone important personal information like your email password or debit card pin number? If a third party were to gain access to your conversation, they could also gain access to that information. Luckily, if you activate this feature within your settings, all messages and conversations will delete after 30 days leaving you safe from any hack.

 Do you browse with Safari or Chrome?

56% of voters said they use Chrome over Safari. However, Safari has built-in privacy features that Chrome does not. Safari can stop advertisers from tracking you on the web and it stops Facebook and Google from tracking your browsing history. Safari also allows you to manage whether websites can gain access to your microphone and camera. Now that we think about it, it’s creepy how browsers do that! So, the best thing you can do in the interest of private browsing is use Safari as your default browser.


Do you use Wi-Fi and Personal Hotspots or do you use LTE provided by your network?

Many believe that Wi-Fi is safer to use. In fact, 67% of voters said they use Wi-Fi over LTE. While this does save users from going over data limits with their phone providers, it is actually safer to remain on your own LTE network. It is easier for hackers to gain access to Wi-Fi networks than cell phone provider networks like Verizon or AT&T. To avoid having information confiscated stay away from personal hotspots and free Wi-Fi networks (hotels, airports, restaurants, etc.).

Do you use two-factor authentication (2FA) for your Apple ID, or do you have no clue what that is?

Two-factor authentication is one of the best steps you can take in securing yourself against hackers. While it can seem tedious, this multi-step verification method will make it difficult for cyber criminals to breach your account. Activating 2FA will offer an extra layer of protection to keep your cloud storage, online banking, email, and social apps safer.

There is no doubt technology is evolving as it continues to transform everyday life into a more virtual one. Technology has helped accomplish revolutionary things, and AI certainly fits into that. But when it comes to AI with our smartphones, where is the line between convenience and privacy drawn? Which would you rather have?