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“Smiley face,” “dancing girl,” and “poop” emojis could help keep your data safe

A grid of small cartoons (emoji)
Theus Falcão
Emojis might help make our passwords safer.

Can emojis – those little expressive cartoons that pop up on cell phones and online – help protect users' internet privacy? 

That's the question that Florian Schaub, an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan, is working to answer.  

The topic is especially important this week, when countless people got hit with a phishing scam. In the scam, an email attempts to get users to open a fake Google doc. Instead of a document from a colleague, the link actually leads to a virus. 

In the wake of that threat, it's a good time to ask questions about whether personal data online is vulnerable, and whether some unconventional solutions might help keep users safer.  

Listen to the rest of Stateside's conversation with Florian Schaub in the interview above.  

Schaub wrote an article on this topic for the Conversation. Check it out here.

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