Consumer Catch-up: GDPR in effect Friday, FTC settles with PayPal, WiFi router security

GDPR goes into effect Friday

Companies are flooding email inboxes with updated privacy notices ahead of the new European data privacy rules - and you should not ignore them.

The General Data Protection Regulation, or GDPR, has companies scrambling to become complaint before Friday's deadline. The GDPR sets tougher rules about what companies can do with your data, and gives you more control over it.

Many companies are changing policies across the board, not just for their European customers. That means American users can benefit, too.

Starting tomorrow, companies must get consent from users to collect their data, and must tell users - in plain language - what they will do with that data.

Read carefully through all those update emails to make sure you know how each company is handling your data. You may be removed from mailing lists unless you actively choose to stay on. You may also have the option of deleting data the company has gathered about you.

Keep in mind that not all companies are making changes for American users. In Europe, regulators can fine companies up to four percent of sales if they are non-compliant, which could cost some businesses billions of dollars.

FTC settles over Venmo concerns

The Federal Trade Commission is settling with PayPal over privacy concerns involving peer-to-peer payment service Venmo.

The FTC says Venmo led users to believe that money was immediately credited and available to transfer, but did not tell users that the money could be frozen or removed after Venmo reviewed the transaction. The organization says Venmo also misled customers about how much they could control the privacy of their transactions.

In the settlement, Venmo agreed not to misrepresent any restrictions about how customers can use its service. Venmo also cannot misrepresent privacy settings or security. The company will have a third party overseeing these changes for 10 years.

Cisco researchers say 500,000 routers infected with malware

Researchers working at Cisco's cybersecurity group Talos say at least half a million WiFi routers are infected with malware.

The malware is called "VPNFilter," and while researchers say they are still investigating, they say it is likely state-sponsored or state-affiliated. Routers in 54 countries are impacted, and are in small or home offices.

Impacted router devices include: Linksys, MikroTik, NETGEAR and TP-Link networking equipment.

The malware has capabilities to do things like steal website credentials and disable the infected router, which could cut off internet access for hundreds of thousands of people.

Talos says you can reboot and reset your router to factory settings. Also make sure you have the latest software update and a strong password.

Click here for a look at more stories by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

Web copy written and produced by Miranda Dotson
Copyright © 2020 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.