Have You Been Hacked, thanks to a Data Breach?

Data breaches have been one of the hot topics in the cyber-security world over the past couple of years and the targets should have you worried. More and more companies are being hacked in order to obtain information, specifically customer information, and only the ones that even catch the breach are heard about in the news.

Just to give you an idea of how many databases have been breached in recent years (2004-2014), check out the infographic below to see just how many have been realized. This doesn’t even include the massive LinkedIn breach that was larger than the Adobe one.

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Security Alert: Beware of Third Party USB Chargers

If you have ever purchased a third party USB charger for use in your home or office, you should check out this Security Alert issued by the FBI.

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Importance of a Secure Password

These days, more and more of our daily tasks can be performed online and one of the growing struggles associated with this is the dreaded password creation and management! This is a topic that far too many of us don’t pay enough attention to and are probably guilty of at least a couple bad practices surrounding passwords.

The first issue at hand is creating the password itself. How many times have you found yourself creating an account for a new website and in order to speed along the process you just use the ‘same old password’ or a variation of the ‘same old password’? I know I had done this countless times before I was shown the light and realized just how unsafe this really is! One of the problems with this is that if any one of the many sites that your use that password for is compromised, the attackers now have a valid password to use on any other site on which you may have an account!  Also, how many different accounts do you have that either simply use your email address as the login or maybe you use the same username, or variation of, as your other log in credential?

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The Importance of Updates

We are all too familiar with those pesky little notifications making sure you are aware that there is an “Update Available” for your software. Every operating system and, any program worth having, usually releases updates. Most of us tend to ignore these little notifications and put off downloading and/or installing these updates. You’ve probably even said things to yourself such as; “Are these updates really necessary?” “Everything is working just fine as it is.” or “I don’t want to have to restart my computer!” Although these are all valid annoyances, this is a terrible practice that could leave your computer at risk of attack or infection!

Here’s why those updates matter. These updates, which can also be referred to as ‘patches’ or ‘service packs’, are usually released in order to enhance the security of the software. They can also contain bug fixes and even improve performance and stability of the program. (Note: Updates and Upgrades are two very different functions. Updates patch or fix the current master version of the software and Upgrades provide a fresh installation of the latest master version.)

Most computer viruses and malware are designed to exploit different vulnerabilities that may be present in your software. If an attacker is able to see that you are running outdated versions of Java or Adobe Flash player, they can gain access or infect your machine through online applications. These online applications are almost always something harmless like a game on a social media site or an interactive webpage that is powered by either Java or Flash.

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It’s Just a Harmless Word Document…

For anyone who works in a corporate setting or runs their own business, it’s not uncommon to receive a plethora of emails containing attachments. For the most part, these attachments are harmless and are coming from known or trusted sources. The rest of these attachments that come in emails from spammers or unknown senders should be considered suspect.

codigos-ejemplos-macros-wordOne of the favored methods for cyber-attackers to infect machines is through Word or Excel documents with Macros.  In case you didn’t know, a macro is essentially a program that has been written to run on the platform of either Microsoft Word or Excel. Macros can be written in PowerPoint as well but PowerPoint files are larger and less likely to be used to distribute malware or viruses. Continue reading “It’s Just a Harmless Word Document…”

How Secure are You, Really?

This is the post excerpt.

If you are like most people today, you probably spend a fair amount of time connected to the internet. Heck, if you have a smart phone, you may even be connected when  you don’t know it! Most of us use the internet to do many daily tasks such as paying bills and banking, shopping and keeping up with friends and family. So, here’s the big question, when was the last time you thought about your security or privacy while doing any of those activities online?

I am a Security Analyst by trade so I tend to think about this more than most, though no one is perfect. Throughout my time in the cyber-security field, one big fact has become painfully obvious, the majority of users simply don’t know the risks associated with being connected to the internet and have no idea how vulnerable they really are!

For example; check out these four most common worst passwords used last year…

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