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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…

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…

New Study Verifies Uptick In ID Theft

Upward TrendFor those who continue to ignore the threat of identity theft, listen up.  It’s getting serious. Really!

Not only is financial crime growing by leaps and bounds, but we are entering a new age of breaches, hacks, mischief-ware (great new word) and privacy vulnerability.

The once encouraging two-year downward trend has now dramatically reversed itself  and is headed into dangerous new territory according to the folks at Javelin Strategy and Research.

An unnerving 12.6 million Americans were victimized by ID Theft in 2012, up dramatically from 2011. New account fraud made up the largest percentage of reported crimes, by targeting the personal information of victims and opening new credit cards and other kinds of loans. Continue Reading…

5 Twitter Hack-Prevention Tips for 2012

Twitter now claims to have 50 million active users every single day!

Recently, a colleague complained that his Twitter account had been hacked not once, but twice in the past month!

There is really no reason for anyone to be that vulnerable to attack.

With 2012 upon us and the explosive growth of Twitter, I think the New Year is an excellent time for a review of easy, effective Twitter privacy practices.

5 easy (and tweetable) tips for better privacy protection.

1. Use a strong password that is at least 8 characters long and includes both numbers and symbols. [tweet this]

To avoid the simplest intrusions, make sure your password is not a word that appears in the dictionary. So called computerized “dictionary attacks” are easily capable of targeting and exploiting those words literally within a few seconds. For a great article on password tips and advice, check out this informative article from the folks at Google.

 

2. Make sure that www.Twitter.com is in the address bar whenever you log into your account. [tweet this]

Bogus sites, malware, spyware and viruses are often disguised as common links. Be cautious about clicking on any links in Twitter messages you read or receive, especially from people you don’t personally know and trust.

Hint: Any words that may appear between the word twitter and the extension.com are indicators that you are not connecting to Twitter!
(example – http://www.twitter.photobucket.com) Not so subtle now, is it?

 

3. Revoke all access for any suspicious, unrecognized or untrusted third-party Twitter applications. [tweet this]

Just go to “Connections” under the “Account Settings” menu and click “Revoke Access.”

Trusted apps should include only ubiquitous, reliable and trustworthy providers such as Facebook, TweetDeck and Hootsuite etc. Programs and applications built by 3rd party developers can be easy and convenient, but should be used with great care. A recent article in PC World magazine reported that Twitter may have solved this problem by rendering all 3rd party apps obsolete, thanks to their newly re-designed iPhone and Android apps.

 

4. Stay updated with the latest patches and updates against spyware, viruses and adware. [tweet this]

Keep all your computers, smartphones, tablets, and browsers continuously safeguarded with the latest patches and updates against malicious or harmful software. If you are not getting these updates DAILY (while you sleep) you are vulnerable.

 

5. Twitter will never email request personal info. If you receive such a request, its the boogeyman! [tweet this]

According to Twitter’s blog:

If we suspect your account has been phished or hacked, we may reset your password to prevent the hacker from misusing your account. In this case, we’ll email you a link to where you can reset your password. Again, this link will always be on the http://twitter.com/ website, and we will never ask you to email us your old password.

 

Twitter says their goal is “increased security and a better experience.” The folks at Twitter may have taken a page right out of the TSA’s manual for handling airline passengers.

Fly little Twitter birdie, fly!

What Twitter safety practices could you share? Leave a comment!

[Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for frequent privacy tips!]

4 Privacy Tips For Bloggers and Content Creators

Los Angeles tilted on its axis last week, with the arrival of thousands of eager internet marketing and social media conscious conference seekers. (Tongue twister not intended.)

BlogWorld Expo 2011 and Joel Bauer’s Passion 2 Profit, each convened separately this past week in the City of Angels.

Tech-savvy attendees at both gatherings feasted on expert advice from noted gurus, coupled with the concentrated learning modules and intimate networking that they (we) all crave. Both events are getting stellar reviews.

Each event trains corporate executives, entrepreneurs, online marketers, bloggers and content creators to achieve maximum impact and an optimal connection to their target niche’ markets.

BlogWorld is the conference where more than three thousand “new media” evangelists, online journalists and social media experts gather to share marketing ideas, current trends and critical branding insights. Speakers included author Guy Kawasaki, blogger Darren Rowse, social media guru Chris Brogan, and Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith. Continue Reading…