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3 Truly “Free” Privacy Protection Resources

privacylostThe fact is…. we live in a post-privacy era!

Daily headlines around the world confirm our greatest fears about privacy being an “endangered species”.  As most folks who reside in cyber-space already know, privacy as we knew it is dead!

Data breaches including Anthem, Sony, Home Depot, Target, JP Morgan/Chase, Uber and the U.S. Defense Department, remind us that even those with virtually unlimited financial resources cannot contain this fire.

These breaches leak our vital information and place it into the hands of fraudsters around the globe. The risks are often referred to as “asymmetrical”, because our exposure is much greater than an anonymous thief’s chances of getting caught.

Open source software and NSA oversight have left privacy advocates gasping for air in search of our long lost right to God-given privacy. Even Adam and Eve had fig leaves and loin cloths, but because of the delicate balance between privacy and security, our modern back doors are open and the front doors are open too!

Here are 3 terrific free privacy protection resources which the unscrupulous “privacy peddlers” can’t charge for. Continue Reading…

9 Steps To The Target Hack

TargetStore.jpgBlack Friday 2013 was the beginning of a crazy shopping season for consumers and hackers alike.

Consumers snapped up holiday shopping deals across the retail spectrum and hackers snapped up the data from credit card magnetic strips. A good time was had by all.

Security experts have now begun to piece together the identities and methods of the actors behind the Target breach.

The stolen data began popping up for sale in black market underground chat rooms almost immediately, just like fresh caught fish that needs to be purchased and consumed it before it begins to stink!

Fearless former Washington Post columnist Brian Krebs, was the first to report on the breach. Krebs has been infiltrating and reporting on criminal activities in underground online chat rooms since 2005.

According to Krebs:

“Key information that informs some of my best scoops is just as likely to come from people actively engaged in cybercrime as it is industry experts working to fight fraud. So, once again, a sincere thank you to all of my readers — lovers and haters alike.”

The investigators’ reports are in. I’m a risk management guy, not a computer engineer so here’s a layman’s list of 9 steps revealing: “How the attackers did it”. Continue Reading…

Why Cyber Threats Will Grow In 2014

speedometer of the new yearHoping for a brighter, more profitable 2014? Cyber crooks are too!

But despite growing security awareness in businesses and at home, experts predict that we’re in for an even larger privacy battle in 2014.

As the recent Target data breach (and the subsequent flooding of personal data onto the internet black market) is proving, cyber attacks are BIG business.

Steve Wexler is a technology and security journalist at IT-TNA (IT Trends & Analysis). In a recent article published in PC World magazine, Wexler commented: “One would expect doom and gloom forecasts from security vendors – and IT industry analysts – and you won’t be disappointed.

In his IT-TNA blog, Wexler cites fear as one of the contributing factors for increased vulnerability: Continue Reading…

Fighting Scary Cyber Threats

PumpkinThis is that time of year when we turn to fall sweaters, football and pumpkin pie.

Its also time to get off the couch for a moment and recalibrate our Cyber security awareness meter. The bad guys are out in force and they are organized, ruthless and hungry.

They attack on every front and in every sector. Industry, government, large businesses, small businesses, students, families or any target connected to “the grid” is open game.

Once again, the Department of Homeland Security kicked off their annual Cyber Security Awareness Month to help raise awareness in this cyber community we have all become attached to and somewhat dependent upon.

“Everyone has to play a role in cybersecurity. Constantly evolving cyber threats require the engagement of the entire nation — from government and law enforcement to the private sector and most importantly, the public. Cyberspace is woven into the fabric of our daily lives and the world is more interconnected today than ever before. We enjoy the benefits and convenience that cyberspace provides as we shop from home online, bank using our smart phones, and interact with friends from around the world through social networks.” Continue Reading…

Is The iPhone Fingerprint Scanner Hackable?

sugar temptation

Yes, but not so fast. What’s that got to do with handfuls of candy (see photo) you ask?

Apple just announced that their newest iPhone has a security feature  called       ‘Touch ID’. This new biometric tool allows users to store their fingerprint data inside the phone as an added security measure.

Many are questioning whether this technology improves the iPhone or if it can be easily hacked or bypassed. The company that developed the iPhone technology (Authentec) was gobbled up by Apple in one of their most expensive acquisitions ever.

Security technologist Bruce Schneier recently pointed out that fingerprint readers have a history of vulnerability and some systems can even be fooled by a simple photocopy of a fingerprint. Schneier says that a German researcher once fooled a system using a fake print made of the same gelatin-like ingredient in Gummy bears! Not so sweet. Continue Reading…

5 Reasons Your Passwords Stink

Security concept: Red Shield With Keyhole on digital backgroundIf we’re being honest here, most of us live at the extreme ends of the password creation pole.

We either give  the construction of effective passwords no thought at all, or we get stuck using the same predictable password on multiple sites and accounts.

There are some basic rules for the effective assembly and storage of passwords that can deter intruders from gaining access to your private data. Although there are many companies who offer this kind of password generation for a fee, I thought I’d share a few ways you can do it without opening your wallet. Continue Reading…

Guard Your Web Surfing From Prying Eyes…3 Simple Tricks

Pryingeye.jpgWe all know by now that the FBI, the National Security Agency and British intelligence are tapping into the data silos of nine leading U.S. internet companies which include: Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Pal Talk, YouTube, Skype, AOL, and Apple.

Exactly twelve years ago, Brad Templeton from the Electronic Frontier Foundation rather prophetically pointed to the sort of privacy scandal (like the one involving the NSA, PRISM and Verizon) that we read in the headlines daily. In 2001, Templeton wrote:

” The real danger comes because when we feel we are under surveillance by the government, by strangers, by our neighbors, or by faceless databases we feel less free.”

According to the EFF, despite President Obama’s recent claim that the government is only sifting through so-called metadata, this data can still reveal a boatload about your movements, your interests and your problems.

Its encouraging and noteworthy that Twitter has been singled out as a positive “exemplar of privacy protection” according to an article in the Washington Post.

So here are 3 simple things you can do to help keep your personal online habits (part of what I refer to in my book as your “Habit Habitat”), as private as possible. Continue Reading…

3 Ways That We’re Being Tracked

Computer_PeekingAre you like me….a law-abiding citizen who has nothing to hide?  We’re being tracked anyway.

Bruce Schneier is a well-known cryptographer, internet security analyst and author. His perspective forces me to think about my own personal privacy and should make you ponder yours too!

In a recent CNN.com opinion piece, Schneier deftly points to the existence and ubiquity of the current Orwellian style surveillance state that we all dread.

The Internet is a surveillance state. Whether we admit it to ourselves or not, and whether we like it or not, we’re being tracked all the time. Google tracks us, both on its pages and on other pages it has access to. Facebook does the same; it even tracks non-Facebook users. Apple tracks us on our iPhones and iPads.”

He goes on to say:  “Facebook, for example, correlates your online behavior with your purchasing habits offline. And there’s more. There’s location data from your cell phone, there’s a record of your movements from closed-circuit TVs. This is ubiquitous surveillance: All of us being watched, all the time, and that data being stored forever.

Here are three of the ways that you and I are being tracked, whether we like it or not. Continue Reading…

What Can Cops Extract From Your Smartphone?

Fingerprint eye circuit boardAre you one of those vulnerable souls who refuses to believe that your every move and word can be traced and tracked? Think again!

At a recent speaking event, the presenter who took the stage before me was a forensic computer analyst for a local law enforcement agency. The irony is that I was at the event to share my “Identity Theft Secrets” about clever ways to safeguard private information.

My warm-up speaker was there to let the audience know that “resistance is futile” because law enforcement routinely extracts details that help them make a case or solve a crime.

Talk about taking the wind out of my sails!

The Toronto Star recently reported on a Michigan search warrant that revealed all the details which police were able to extract from a seized iPhone. A civil liberties technologist was quoted in the article as saying: Continue Reading…

5 Smartphone Protection Tips To Execute Now

For years, we’ve heard the debate over which computing platform is safer, PC or Mac.

As the story goes, the more popular the platform, the more vulnerable it is to attack.

If you own a smartphone however, the debate is over and the jury is in. They’re all popular and they’re all vulnerable.

During a recent trip to Palm Springs, I was reminded that our daughter lost her iPhone there last year. She called the high-end resort where she left her device, only to be told it was not found by the housekeeping department.

Thanks to her enabled device, our daughter not only tracked it down within minutes, but got an apology from hotel management for the “oversight”!

In the world of cyber-security, user-initiated prevention and preparation planning is the most effective defense against the wide variety common threats lurking in our exploding mobile landscape.

Big data’s new promised land,  “the cloud” isn’t the safety mecca it was initially thought to be either.

According to Kaspersky Labs:

“The continuing development of “cloud technologies” also contributes to potential data losses: there is now an extra target for the cybercriminals to attack, i.e. the data centers where various companies’ data are stored. Data leaks from cloud services could deal a serious blow to the perception of the technology itself and the idea of “cloud storage” that largely rely on users’ trust.”

Here are 5 smart tips to adopt now. Continue Reading…

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