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Home Depot and JP Morgan were hacked, so YOU need to take action

Posted on September 3, 2014 in hntbh - 0 comments - 0

The news in the past few weeks has included several online businesses (Apple), a leader in finance (JP Morgan), and a retailer (Home Depot). The attacks varied, the exposure of specific data unique, and the customer type certainly unrelated. Despite these realities, every one of these businesses has one thing in common – YOUR information, money, and details were exposed.

Why is this important?

  • Thieves could empty bank accounts
  • Thieves could use the stolen information and trick YOU to log on to a fake JP Morgan website (this was actually done in this case days before the attack was made public)

You must take the following action:

  1. Change your passwords (for any call in verifications and or online)
  2. Print your account statements and keep a detailed record of your $$ at the bank(s)
  3. If your retailer confirms a breach, request a new Credit/Debit Card w/ fresh fraud prevention safeguards

Responding to the ebb and flow of data breaches is impossible, but if together we establish behaviors to counter the negative effects then we have succeeded.

Be safe,

James

*on the book front I am making progress and aim to release a chapter sketch soon. a challenge I have currently is financing the graphic artists and editors necessary to create a really stunning book. any ideas are welcomed!

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87% of Consumers Feel Their Data is Not Safeguarded

Posted on June 20, 2014 in hntbh - 0 comments - 1

A survey conducted in March 2014 – with roughly 2,200 consumer participants – shows a significant concern of consumers’ data being safeguarded by businesses, retailers, and data brokers.

The important stats:
•  The majority of respondents, 87%, believe adequate safeguards are not in place to protect their personal information
•  64%, compared to 85% from the 2012 survey, are concerned about websites tracking their buying behavior

Consumers continue to be cautious about the use of their personal information. So what does this mean for you, the average consumer?

HNTBH Conclusion:
1.  You are not alone in being concerned about how your data is being used. The vast majority of your peers feel the same way.
2.  The duty of protecting your data is your own responsibility. Businesses cannot accomplish this task alone. Work with them! This crucial point is discussed under the “Tips” link of this website, as well as the external resources linked by HNTBH.
3.  Check out the post, “Police Your Own Data.” You will learn the safest information security habits and – like cleaning your closet – eventually it must happen. Don’t keep putting it off.

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Don’t abandon your Phone! Repeat, do not Abandon your Phone!

Posted on May 26, 2014 in hntbh - 0 comments - 2

lonely iphone

A common fault of smart phone parents is that they often abandon their phone in a public place. It’s just a phone, right? Whether to charge the phone in the corner of a restaurant or “save a seat” at the movies, we’re all guilty of phone abandonment.

 

This is a very unsafe behavior. Your phone can easily be stolen in these situations. Next time your device needs a charge, consider charging it when you are within a five-foot distance of it. Or perhaps you ask a restaurant waitress to sit you beside a power outlet.

 

I snapped the image above at a busy Starbucks in Atlanta. The owner of the orphan phone was outside with friends for almost five minutes before returning. Note that the offender’s purse, that probably held less value than the smart phone, was safely taken outside. Smart phones cost roughly $400.00 to replace and house super important personal data.

 

HNTBH Solution:

1.  Charge your phone at home and in your car

2.  Secure the phone in your purse or pockets

3.  Set up a lock code on your phone (in the worst case scenario of theft, this can protect your personal information)

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Are Online Companies Protecting your Identity?

Posted on May 16, 2014 in hntbh, Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

eff 2014 snapshot

Every year, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) publishes a report stating which online tech companies are protecting your personal data. This 2014 EFF picture shows exactly how companies safeguard your information, and areas in which they are falling short on user protection.

HNTBH Solution:
The safest choice is to center your online activities around the companies that provide the most protection and simply avoid (or limit) doing business with the companies that do not offer proper protection.

Click here to see the website or download a PDF version of the full 2014 EFF results graphic and summary, Who Has Your Back? 2014: Protecting Your Data From Government Requests.

Compare the 2014 results to the 2013 results. See how your favorite businesses have changed privacy policies and how the list has grown.

Tech blog Engadget has a helpful easy-to-read explanation of the 2014 EFF results as well.

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Are Criminals Remotely Hijacking your Wireless Routers?

Posted on May 7, 2014 in hntbh, Uncategorized - 1 comment - 1

Researchers have discovered that home and small-office wireless routers are being hacked regularly and more than ever. Since early 2014, 300,000+ home devices were reported as infected. These are common household devices, such as Apple AirPort, NetGear, and Linksys routers. Attackers are able to modify these devices to access your personal wireless network and conduct malicious activity.

What this means for you:
1.  Hacked systems significantly lower the speed of your Internet connection
2.  More expensive power bills as Internet use increases
3.  Your Internet service provider (ISP) may disconnect you due to “criminal activity”

HNTBH Solution:
•  Update the software on these devices at least once per year
•  Protect home wireless devices by using a firewall
•  Buy a new wireless router

Note: If your router is more than three years old, it’s simply not able to provide the best protection. The safest choice is to purchase a new one. My recommendation is this Linksys Wireless Router.

Click here for the technical detail on the 300,000 device hack. And here to read how a home DVR was hacked in less than 24 hours.

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Are you Being Held Hostage on your Android Phone or PC?

Posted on May 7, 2014 in hntbh, Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

Recently, criminals have gotten crafty and made software that locks your computer and demands a payment of $300.00. The hackers do this by implying you have done something illegal or they simply lock you out of the system.

A 2012 Symantec survey found that so-called “ransomware” extorts an estimated $5 million a year from users of PCs, and a new version is charging $300.00 to unlock your Android phone.

HNTBH Solution:
1.  Download directly
2.  Use your backups to restore
3.  Do not pay money

Click here to read full arstechnica.com article with technical details.

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Changing Passwords. How About Right Now?

Posted on April 15, 2014 in hntbh, Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

There is almost always a story in the headlines about a new technical vulnerability – Target, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, etc… Big companies can be hacked, too. Here’s a helpful article explaining what to do in a Heartbleed situation.

HNTBH Solution:
•  Change your passwords
•  Change them now
•  Change all of them

There is good reason to change passwords frequently. In fact, most corporate business networks require users to change their password every 90 days. This is usually for the end users and rarely for the system-to-system accounts.

A vulnerability in a so-called secure network makes it possible for any account (specifically using HTTPS with OpenSSL, but let’s not get into details here…) to become exposed and accessed by someone other than the original user. That is always bad news. Hint: use varied capitalizations, numbers, and symbols to make an extra strong password.

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22% of Americans Experienced a Personal Data Breach in 2013

Posted on April 15, 2014 in hntbh, Uncategorized - 0 comments - 0

Findings from a January 2014 Pew Research Center survey show that:

 

•  18% of online adults had important personal information stolen (ie: Social Security Number, credit card number, or bank account information). This percentage is quite an increase from the 11% who reported personal information theft in July 2013

 

•  21% of online adults said they had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over without permission. The exact same percentage of Americans reported this experience in the July 2013 survey.

 

Click here for the full Pew Research Center article and infographic.

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