Monday, July 17, 2017

Websites Stealing Your Data Without Hitting Submit

I want to talk to you a bit about web security, but not the simple stuff like storing your password well or showing you how hackers can get into your online accounts. I figure you had some idea of that happening. No, it’s time to put on your tinfoil hats, everyone. Are they secure? Good.

In the world of increased complexity with web traffic, flashy pop-ups that are actually designed to get your email, and so many cookies that track your data, applications like Javascript have been given a lot, if not too much, access and capabilities. Recently, Gizmodo released an article talk about how you do not even need to hit submit on a web form for them to get your data and begin to spam… I mean… contact you. (Check out the full article to see the technical details of the process)

The concern is that many businesses are doing whatever they can to get ahead, including unethical, sometimes illegal practices. This has created a culture of distrust for online companies in general.

Take for instance how you buy things online. I myself only pay for things online in one of two ways: via a manager that stores my credit card and is SSH coded so that keystroke trackers cannot get it or via PayPal that includes a two-factor verification EVERY time.

It creates another barrier for the customer to get what they want, meaning that I am less likely to do so.

Another example, online streaming through video games or Periscope craft these over-the-top promises and deliveries that are cheesy and terrible. It makes it hard for other companies, including churches, to do live stream well because we’ve been burned before or we are not willing to do shenanigans to get your views. These live streams drop off into space.

Tinfoil hats aside, I don’t think it’s a giant leap from websites using Javascript to steal your data to the Internet is going downhill. I wonder what we as church tech can do to better this process. Is it time for the church to develop digital advocates? Should we offer support beyond looking at porn and include supporting identity theft, online bullying, and report illegal practices? Or should we focus on doing online ministry better so that we become an example for others on what can work and how we should process?

I’d love to know your thoughts.

Websites Stealing Your Data Without Hitting Submit first appeared on ChurchMag and is sponsored by ChurchMag Press.

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