I Scraped Millions of Venmo Payments. Your Data Is at Risk

Like many people, I use Venmo to pay for stuff: to split the check at dinner, to send my roommate my portion of the utility bills each month, to reimburse friends for concert tickets. It's a useful app for sending and receiving money, regardless of who you bank with. Last summer, after paying my portion of the electric bill via Venmo, I started to wonder if there were holes I could poke in the app. I was a grad student studying information security at the time, and I thought I might make some extra cash. Venmo is owned by PayPal, which has a public bug bounty program—that is, it pays hackers to report security vulnerabilities in its products. After proxying …

Is Your Wobbly, Illegible Touchscreen Signature Still You?

Technology changes us as much as we change technology. It trains us to behave in certain ways, to modify how we speak or move to better accommodate its utility. In some cases, technology can transform the very things that define us. Perhaps the most literal example is our handwritten signature, a core talisman of identity. Developed in response to the ancient technology of paper and ink, it’s lately been confronted with the primacy of keyboards and screens. Think about how you most often sign your name, if you do at all: It’s not with a pen. Over the past decade, businesses have updated their points of sale with touch pads and styluses. Signing contracts increasingly happens electronically, where you either …