ISSUE: COVID19 Tracing Software Security Issues

By: William Sikkens
Host, User Friendly 2.0  Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

Who watches the watchers?  This question comes to mind as we are seeing contact tracking apps all over the world.  Required in other countries participating (at least for now) is still voluntary here.

Any application that produces data raises the concern for the security of that information.  We saw the first exposure last week in India when a database was placed online without a password.

The world is changing and with it the idea of privacy.  If you opt into contact tracing it’s important to take the same cautions you would with financial data.  Passwords (where you have the option to set them) should be different from banking and health care access.  It is also important to make sure you don’t give out personal information and take caution when you have to provide this type of information.

The bad actors are also trying whatever they can to steal stimulus checks, identification, and your personal details.  Vigilance is key right now.


Almost any modern software that keeps information is in danger of being hacked.  With most of the world online now the ability to keep data safe is shared between what we do and how the companies we share information with maintain their security.

There are basics you can do that have been recommended by the experts.  These include using different and complicated passwords and watching your financial and other accounts for anything unusual.

Due to the sheer number of passwords we have now it can be very difficult to actually have different passwords for everything you might access.   At a minimum you should use a unique password for your financial information and another for health.  These should be different from everything else and changed from time to time.

There are devices you can buy to maintain separate passwords but do create a “choke point” in that if you lose or damage the device you will lose access to all your passwords saved on it.

There isn’t much you can do to control how a company protects your data.   If you see anything suspicious, report it right away.  Some banks limit the time you have to report based on the kind of account you have.  Credit cards may also be different in reporting policies.

William (Bill) Sikkens has been an on-air technology expert since 2014. With an expertise in I.T., cyber security and software design he has had more than 20 years’ experience with advanced technology. Sikkens conceptualizes and designs custom applications for many professional industries from health care to banking and has the ability to explain the details in a way all can understand.  Article edited by Gretchen Winkler, who along with Jeremy Winkler are the co-hosts of User Friendly 2.0 here on The Answer Saturday’s at 5:00 p.m.

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Got a technology question or comment for Bill? Follow him on Twitter @sikkensw