Violet Blue

    Journalist

    Ms. Violet Blue (tinynibbles.com, @violetblue) is the author of the book How To Be A Digital Revolutionary. She is a freelance investigative reporter on hacking and cybercrime, as well as a noted columnist. She is an advisor to Without My Consent, and a member of the Internet Press Guild. Ms. Blue has made regular appearances on CNN and The Oprah Winfrey Show and is frequently interviewed, quoted, and featured in a variety of outlets including BBC, Newsweek, and the Wall Street Journal. She has authored and edited award-winning, best-selling books in eight translations and was the San Francisco Chronicle's sex columnist. Her conference appearances include ETech, LeWeb, CCC, and the Forbes Brand Leadership Conference, plus two Google Tech Talks. The London Times named Blue one of “40 bloggers who really count.” Ms. Blue is the author of The Smart Girl's Guide to Privacy. Find out more about her work in writing, sexuality, security, and privacy on her Patreon.

  • Sorry, judges, encrypted chat is not like a private thought

    A judge recently claimed that encrypted messages are similar to private thoughts. We, and the FBI, bed to differ.

  • After US Capitol assault, a different cybersecurity threat emerges

    The insurrection at the Capitol had many worried about nation-state actors. It turns out, the real threat could be much closer to home.

  • Everything you need to know about getting a VPN

    Here's a list of the best VPN services you can get right now, plus advice on how to choose the best VPN for you.

  • How it feels to survive Silicon Valley and a pandemic

    It shouldn’t feel like it took a pandemic to get Twitter to boot 7,000 QAnon accounts (and crack down on 150,000 more related to the violent conspiracy group), but it does. At least Twitter is doing harm mitigation around its role in this interconnected disaster. Five months in, you’d think 145,000 American deaths would move platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to ban virus “truther” content, but nah.

  • It’s time to start using a password manager: Here’s how

    These are the best password managers you can use to keep your information safe and secure.

  • Twitter's Bitcoin hackers had almost limitless access

    Imagine getting the keys to the Twitter kingdom -- access to all the account admin panels in the world. What would you do? If you're any kind of seasoned attacker, you wouldn't blow your own cover by tweeting from the world's biggest accounts -- for a bitcoin scam.

  • Hype and hope: Wearables in the covid era

    It’s a pretty cool idea, but my point is that it’s the app making the claim, and not necessarily the ring.

  • The Trojan Horse in Trump’s anti-Twitter executive order

    The order’s gist centers on the White House belief (or rather, tactic) that fact-checking the White House or its allies constitutes anti-conservative bias. So yeah, here we go with Section 230 (again). FOSTA was vague and sought to neuter Section 230, too.

  • Yes, the Patriot Act amendment to track us online is real

    Looks like more bad news with the renewal of the Patriot Act/USA Freedom Act — and its terrible provision to allow government collection of Americans’ internet browsing and search histories without a warrant.

  • How to secure your video calls like a pro

    During a cyberpunk dystopia, a highly contagious pandemic, and tons of leadership incompetence, it's surprising that video call privacy and security is pissing me off the most.

  • Contact tracing apps are coming whether we like it or not

    Can you imagine trying to get 80 percent of Americans, from the privacy and security aware to coronavirus “truthers,” to download a tracking app? It could also save a lot of money; our economy is bleeding out before our eyes.

  • Zoom is now 'the Facebook of video apps'

    A lot of us are wondering just how full of crap Zoom is. Acting like Facebook is already bad, even more so now that we’re all fighting for our lives.

  • The surveillance profiteers of COVID-19 are here

    Our worlds are so upside-down and backwards right now that Wired claims Surveillance Could Save Lives Amid a Public Health Crisis, and privacy activist Maciej Cegłowski flat-out stated We Need A Massive Surveillance Program.

  • We need to talk about sex, tech and COVID-19

    For the horny and lonely, sex and dating continues during the coronavirus pandemic. While Big Tech sticks its head in the sand, forcing its users to adapt, the sex industry leverages tech to show us how to play safe.

  • Coronavirus bursts Big Tech’s bubble

    Virus enthusiasts from all over the world converged in San Francisco this week for America's largest security event: RSA Conference 2020. Before it began, fourteen companies withdrew from RSAC over concerns about the impending Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On opening day, organizers sent a message through the conference app asking attendees to stop greeting each other with handshakes.

  • It doesn’t matter if China hacked Equifax

    On Monday the FBI and AG Barr announced "an indictment last week charging four members of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) with hacking into the computer systems of the credit reporting agency Equifax and stealing Americans' personal data and Equifax's valuable trade secrets." China's military refutes the charges.

  • Phishing scams leveled up, and we didn’t

    More than a bit of "I'm smarter than you" politics creates the divide between hacking headlines and what we actually need to worry about. On one side, researchers present findings at conferences hoping someone will raise the alarm and practical things will get done before things get worse. On the other, we have Jeff Bezos and his iPhone.

  • Your online activity is now effectively a social ‘credit score’

    Kaylen Ward's Twitter fundraiser for the Australian bushfire relief has ended. The Los Angeles-based model said she raised $1 million (by comparison Jeff Bezos donated $690,000). At the start of Ms. Ward's successful donation drive she had three Instagram accounts — none of which were part of the campaign.

  • How home assistants ruined us, an explanation

    Our situation became clear when my friend ran through Trader Joe's screaming "ALEXA WHAT TIME IS IT?" This wasn't a cringey mockumentary comedy segment. It's the way we live now. I'm certain San Francisco's sea of terrified Postmates and Prime delivery runners parted for her, trampling an Instacart personal shopper already wallowing in the misfortune of crawling along the baked goods aisle, feeling blindly under tortillas for lost earbuds. Everyone wondering if they should yell at Google or Siri to call 911. Several cameras are trained on everyone, of course, to memorialize and broadcast these special moments forever.

  • Security fails we’re kinda thankful for

    As we gather 'round the fire, warming our facepalm-weary hands, the blaze burning bright with the shreds of our privacy and security, it's important to reflect on what we're grateful for: Companies that did the infosec version of stepping on a rake, forcing them to secure us better. Idiots who tried to "hack" the FCC comment system while leaving their OPSEC cake out in the rain. Whatever geniuses left road signs eminently hackable, and the ones who made ATMs susceptible to malware that literally spits out cash. Here are the "winners" of utter and complete security failures we're almost grateful for. Let's hope the next time these clowns fall off a stack of servers, they don't fail to miss the ground.