Spam Campaign

July 15, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

thCA4CUKQ1Internet security firm F-Secure is warning there is a massive spike in “Spam Campaigns”. They are seeing 200 times the volume of spam that contains malware known as “Locky”. Locky is ransomware and it encrypts the data on a computer to try and extort payment from the owner. This malware is advanced and effective. It is also difficult for an Antivirus to detect.

The best defense is to avoid it altogether. You can prevent ransomware by being wary of spam messages, and don’t open documents or follow links in emails you are not familiar with. If in doubt, just don’t click it. Antivirus helps, but it can’t protect you from malware like Locky. If it seems strange or too good to be true it probably is!

Enter Password Here

April 9, 2015 by · Leave a Comment 

password

So many passwords…what should they be? Should I have CaPitaL letters? Numbers? Symbols? or all of the above?  Oh my!!! It’s enough to make a person scream in frustration!

Passwords are an absolute necessity. Most of the time they are required to make purchases online or access certain websites.  We also want to protect the information we provide online.  Let’s face it, we don’t want just anyone to get our personal information. On the news now, it’s not only security breaches that we hear about, but also how hackers are able to get into and access our personal emails.  It just never seems to end.

We need passwords.  We can’t get away from them.  We just need VERY strong passwords. What can we do to be proactive in this New Year to protect our personal information?

Here is a little secret…the more complex the password the better.  When you use different characters and lengthen your passwords, it becomes harder to figure them out.  Use the following example:

Hard                          H_ard                          H_a_rd                          H_a_r2d                          H_a_r2d!_2

Is this making sense?
How do we remember this?  Great question and thank you for asking!

1. Create your own pattern of letters, symbols, and numbers, etc. and create a rotation system.
2. Keep the list somewhere that is not accessible to anyone else.
3. Then when you update the passwords, update your list.  (Online hidden documents are perfect for this.)

Let’s be password superheroes, and make it harder for malicious cyber criminals to steal our information.

DATA BREACH: How corporate data breaches can affect you!

November 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

How close we have to keep an eye on our possessions.

How close we have to keep an eye on our possessions.

Have you seen in the news how many data breaches have taken place from retailers across the United States? Target, Neiman Marcus, Michael’s, Staples, and more!  A lot more!

You have a greater risk of becoming a victim of identity theft or fraud if your credit/debit card information is compromised in a security breach.  We are responsible for monitoring our own credit.  A few companies may offer credit monitoring, but how much does that protect us?  Yes, there are federal laws and industry practices that protect you from major losses. However, there is still a genuine risk.

Be aware of the following that can happen to you if your credit information is breached:

  1. Your data can be sold to others, even internationally.
  2. It is a hassle to try and repair all the damage done and takes a lot of time.
  3. Even if your cards are cancelled your checking account can still be vulnerable.  Bounced checks, late fees, and more hassles are all a possibility.

Extremely old technology is relied upon to care for our credit and debit card information.  Which can, it seems, be easily accessed by the wrong people.  The Consumers Union, a branch of Consumer Reports, is calling for better protection to fight against data breaches.  But there is no visibly clear path to manage this.

What can we do?  One way is using a credit card that has a computer chip which stores encrypted data; a pin is needed when making transactions.  Another way is to pay close attention to your bills.  Be aware of where you use your cards and note any suspicious activity.

Smart cards will not solve all of the issues, at least until federal standards are improved to hold companies to a higher level of responsibility.  Just be aware and remember you are the only one that can ultimately protect your credit and personal information.

Protect Your Mobile Devices

February 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Just like computer, cell phones, digital music players, Bluetooth headsets, e-readers and tablets rate high on the bacteria pendulum.  Protect your mobile devices by using the safe cleansing practices outlined in Squeaky Clean Mouse and Touchpad. In addition to keeping devices germ-free, it is important to protect the data on your mobile devices.

  1. Strong Passwords: If you have sensitive data on your mobile devices, password protect documents with strong passwords that includes letters and numbers.
  2. Auto-lock: Along with the password, the device should lock itself after a period of inactivity – approximately 5-10 minutes.
  3. Data encryption: Make sure the device encrypts data. Most mobile devices do this by default, but make sure.
  4. Public networks: Whenever possible, avoid public WiFi networks.
  5. Marketplace Apps: Check out marketplace applications before downloading to ensure they are vetted and reliable.  At the 2011 Mobile Security Symposium, experts agreed that many applications can be malicious.

Most mobile device operating systems are more resistant to attacks than the Windows desktop operating system.  However, there’s a shortage of tools to manage attacks when they happen.  We anticipate in the coming months attention to mobile security will increase as attacks target and highlight weaknesses in the mobile marketplace.  Stay tuned for updates!