Cybersecurity in the Senate: Time to take action

Do you appreciate your digital freedom? Do you know how to protect your security and remain safe on the Internet? If so, then you might have heard about the new Senate Cybersecurity bill S. 3414. The good news is that it is not CISPA. However, there are some downsides to this new bill. First, the privacy protections are under threat. They were added in response to the concerns of the Internet community but they may now be watered down or even removed completely as the bill advances through the Senate.

This is a common problem in these matters. The public hears about a proposed bill and support it but by the time it makes its way through the channels, you’re hardly looking at the same bill you supported in the beginning. This is why we have to step up and speak out.

Congress wants to use “cybersecurity” fears to convince people it’s ok to have their civil liberties challenged. They want to make you afraid of the dangers that exist online and believe that they are protecting you but the truth is they can protect you without invading your privacy.

When cybersecurity legislation is bad, it affects the privacy of the people. Often it will bypass the existing privacy laws and automatically send your personal data directly into the hands of the government without judicial oversight.

The Senate has introduced a new cybersecurity bill (S 3414) that addresses some of the most significant privacy concerns. While not perfect, S 3414 includes strong new privacy protections and we want to make sure they water them down while passing the bill. Continue reading Cybersecurity in the Senate: Time to take action

Identity and Age Fraud Keeps Cleveland Pitcher Out of the Game

Identity and Age Fraud Keeps Cleveland Pitcher Out of the Game

Cleveland pitcher Roberto Hernandez, also known as Fausto Carmona, was suspended because he lied about his age and his identity in his native country of the Dominican Republic.  This happened when he attempted to renew his visa before coming back to the United States.  Not only did his name not match but it was also found that he is three years older than the age of 31 listed on his paperwork.

Eek! Why would someone lie about such important facts when they know they must travel across country borders? It doesn’t make a lot of sense but he might have had hidden reasons that we cannot understand on the surface.

Hernadez, Fausto Carmona, was suspended for three weeks by the MLB. He then had to return to his home country to sort out his legal affairs. He’s now returned to the Indians and a million dollar contract in the States.

Many will say that this is a light sentence considering other cases of identity and age frauds have gotten players permanently suspended and even deported.

The MLB needs to have more consistency in their sentencing and perhaps have a set penalty for this type of player conduct infraction.  Miami Marlins’ Juan Carlos Oviedo, aka Leo Nunez, got eight weeks suspension for the same type of charges.

So why are players changing their identities in the first place? Continue reading Identity and Age Fraud Keeps Cleveland Pitcher Out of the Game

Yahoo! Hacked Learn How to Protect Yourself

Yahoo! Hacked Learn How to Protect Yourself

by guest writer, Linda St.Cyr

 

YAHOO! was hacked by a group calling themselves D33DS. The group claimed that the hack which released 450,000 email addresses and passwords to the public was “a wake-up call not as a threat.” But those who were affected by the hack might not see D33DS benevolence. I know that I don’t and I was one among the half a million emails to be released to the public. Luckily, the password that was associated with my email was outdated. Many other people were not as lucky.

People tend to use the same password for various sites. This can be detrimental if a hack takes place like the one that was done by D33DS. Although, I didn’t use the password that D33DS released I still had to take a day to change the passwords for all the websites that I used. Most of the websites had security measures in place that automatically locked me out the account (and any hackers as well) until I took steps to reset my passwords.

There are three basic steps that can help keep your internet and email activities safe:

 DON’T USE THE SAME PASSWORD

Do not use the same password for various websites. It may make life easier but it also makes you more susceptible to hackers and spam. If you use various websites for business or pleasure create a hard copy list and put it in a desk drawer or in a safe place. If you have ten different website accounts, you should have ten different website passwords.

 CREATE A STRONG PASSWORD

Websites that recommend that you use 6-8 letters including a capital letter and a number or a symbol are ones that want you to have a strong password. The stronger a password is, the harder it is for a hacker to get into your account. A strong password will have a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Your password should not be your social security number, your birthday, your kids birthdays, your phone number or even your anniversary. That information is easily accessible, especially on social media platforms, which makes using it easily accessible for a hacker.

CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD OFTEN

Every couple of months take a day to change all the passwords you use. This will make it more difficult for a hack to take place as your accounts. A hacker could be close to figuring out what your password is but because you change it so often, the hacker will have to start all over again.

The Daily Telegraph, who reported on the Yahoo! hack, stated: “Users of online accounts are urged by security experts and technology firms to select tough passwords and change them frequently to thwart hackers.”

 

This guest post is by Linda St.Cyr,  a freelance writer, blogger, and columnist. She covers a wide variety of topics from food to celebrity gossip. Read her work at Ecorazzi, Yahoo! Contributor Network, or The Hungry Kitchen.

450,000 email addresses and passwords stolen from Yahoo: Is yours one of them?

Linking up accounts and services seems like it could make life easier doesn’t it?  Until you link things up on the Internet so closely that one security breach could lead to several from you email accounts to your PayPal accounts as well as the services you use on sites like Yahoo, MSN and Google.  A recent theft of over 450,000 log-in credentials were discovered from a Yahoo service.   Unfortunately this theft was not limited to just Yahoo services as many people link up their services with their email address, no matter what provider they may have.

The hackers, “D33Ds Company” released a statement about the incident stating  that this should be a wake up call to Yahoo for “lax security.”

“We hope that the parties responsible for managing the security of this subdomain will take this as a wake-up call, and not as a threat. There have been many security holes exploited in webservers belonging to Yahoo! Inc. that have caused far greater damage than our disclosure. Please do not take them lightly. The subdomain and vulnerable parameters have not been posted to avoid further damage.”

While the theft of this data is scary, what is even more frightening is that according to TrustedSec the passwords and information were stored completely unencrypted.

Chief technology officer at Eurosecure, antivirus vendor ESET’s distributor in Scandinavia, Anders Nilsson, revealed that the most common domain names for the leaked email addresses were aol.com, gmail.com hotmail.com and yahoo.com. You can find even more statistics about this incident and the services affected on his blog.  Surprisingly enough the most common password is the one that everyone is told not to use and out of approximately 342,000 entries, 1,666 of them use the password 123456.

If you want to know if you have been compromised Continue reading 450,000 email addresses and passwords stolen from Yahoo: Is yours one of them?

Smartphone Identity Theft, and How to Avoid It

smart phone thief

Your smartphone might not be as safe as you think…

Identity theft has increased by 13% since 2010; and with dozens of apps requesting personal information, and the ever-present danger of lost or stolen phones, many experts tie this increase to the greater penetration of smartphones. Most people are careful to protect email passwords and secured wireless networks, and try to watch what they click online—but for whatever reason, the culture of caution hasn’t translated to smartphones, and 7% of smartphone users were the victims of some form of identity theft in 2011. Here are a few of the most serious ways your phone might be hemorrhaging your personal data—and what you can do about it. Continue reading Smartphone Identity Theft, and How to Avoid It