Tag Archives: Security

U.S. Senate Launches Anti-Fraud Hotline

Victims of fraud are increasing on a daily basis. Everyone is a target, but some people are more at risk than others. Elderly people, lonely people, and immigrants are often targets of fraudulent activity. Scams to get credit card and other financial information include email scams for moving large amounts of money, phone calls asking for financial information because a loved one is in trouble, and online matchmaking gone horribly wrong.

People have lost their livelihoods by falling victim to these scams and schemes. The United States Senate wants to put a stop to them and wants to help victims of fraud, especially elderly victims.  A new anti-fraud hotline has been unveiled to make it easier for senior citizens to report suspected fraud and to receive assistance.

“If you Continue reading U.S. Senate Launches Anti-Fraud Hotline

Don’t Double Swipe Your Credit Card

don't double swipe your credit cardThe Credit Card Association of the Philippines (CCAP) has given the message “Don’t double-swipe credit cards” to commercial establishments and retailers. The advice is good for customers, too. The practice of “double-swiping” can compromise the data security of credit cardholders.

Alan German, a spokesman for CCAP, said that criminal groups are targeting Point-of-Sale systems, stealing card data and customer PINs.

German told ABS-CBNnews.com, “In many cases, the second swipe results in the credit card’s full data to be retained by the merchant in its own system. Effectively, this unnecessary practice increases the merchants’ vulnerability to potential data compromise… This loose data, so to speak, can then be used to create counterfeit cards, engage in identity theft, and perpetrate fraud.”

The reason “double-swiping” has become common among retailers is because it is often used for customer loyalty programs, record-keeping or other aspects of the retail-operations.  The second swipe of a credit card is most often unrelated to authorization or transaction settlements with the retailer.

German believes that if card issuers and merchants understand the risks in double-swiping cards, they will undertake measures to protect their businesses.  Understanding the risks would also protect credit cardholders from potential identity theft and other types of fraud.

Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) says the bad news is that we are all vulnerable to identity theft, but there are ways to protect yourself: “First, don’t carry your social security number on any documents in your purse or wallet; change your driver’s license or any other documents to different numbers. Next, lock your mailbox and be sure to stop mail when you’re out of town for more than a few days. Shred your trash with a cross cut shredder. Be careful what you say about yourself in public –especially when you’re on your cell phone. Finally, you can protect your computer with a fire-wall, anti-virus software, or a program that removes spyware.”

Another item that the FBI might list on their website to protect customers and retailers is “Don’t double-swipe your card.”

New video sneak peek at ‘The Fifth Estate’

thefifthestate

We talk in here a great deal about online security and what can happen with that security is breached. Both good and bad things can happen. We have also heard a great deal in the media about “The Fifth Estate.” Not exactly a new concept, but one which is gaining in momentum:

***The Fifth Estate refers to citizen journalism. “Fifth Estate” is used to describe media outlets (including the blogosphere) that see themselves in opposition to mainstream media (the official press), any class or group in society other than the clergy (First Estate), the nobility (Second Estate), the commoners (Third Estate) and the press (Fourth Estate). It has been used to describe civil society, the poor or the proletariat.***

We have heard a great deal about WikiLeaks, which has forever changed the way people view information and data, both the release of it as well as the hiding it.  “The Fifth Estate” is a new thriller movie which is based on the real events.

Official description . . . “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (Benedict Cumberbatch) and his colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg (Daniel Brühl) team up to become underground watchdogs of the privileged and powerful. On a shoestring, they create a platform that allows whistleblowers to anonymously leak covert data, shining a light on the dark recesses of government secrets and corporate crimes. Soon, they are breaking more hard news than the world’s most legendary media organizations combined. But when Assange and Berg gain access to the biggest trove of confidential intelligence documents in U.S. history, they battle each other and a defining question of our time: what are the costs of keeping secrets in a free society—and what are the costs of exposing them?”

I know I’m excited to see this side of the story and where actions like these may lead.

 

THE FIFTH ESTATE opens in theatres everywhere on October 18th!

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American’s Under Surveillance: NSA admits tracking cell phone locations

The National Security Agency (N.S.A.) has started to come clean about tracking Americans cell phone data and what data was being collected. NSA admits to tracking the cell phone location of Americans in a test pilot project in 2010 and 2011.

According to the New York Times, “it was unclear how many Americans’ locational data was collected as part of the project, whether the agency has held on to that information or why the program did not go forward.”

NSA  claimed that they never moved forward with the program.  The “experiment” pilot project was to test how location information would move into the massive databases containing other information on Americans.  Cell phone location is considered to be one of the most sensitive data that a cell phone emits, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Since most people carry their cell phones everywhere they go it is possible that the location data tracking could lead to the government knowing most intimate daily habits and movements of not only the person whose phone is being tracked but friends and family members whom the person had come into contact with throughout the day.

The biggest problem with NSA’s admission of the test pilot program is that it admitted to doing an illegal activity.  NSA’s chief Keith Alexander said during a Senate hearing, “Under Section 215, NSA is not receiving cell site location data and has no current plans to do so.”  The recent admission of past collection clearly violated Section 215 of the Patriot Act.

In order to counter-act negative reaction to the admission, Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper told Congress that if they started their location recollection program they would inform the intelligence committee and FISA court. That means that Americans could still be kept in the dark if the program, a clear violation of the Patriot Act and one that brings up Fourth Amendment issues, were to become restarted.

I feel safer already, don’t you?

Bradley Manning Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy

Bradley Manning was found not guilty of “aiding the enemy” by a military judge on Tuesday, July 29. Private Manning became notable for his release of hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents. Manning released the documents to WikiLeaks for publication in 2009 and 2010.

Manning was arrested in May 2010. He was charged with 1 count of aiding the enemy, 9 counts of failure to obey a lawful order or regulation, and 24 counts of violating the General article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The last 24 charges included violations of the Espionage Act, Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and Embezzlement and Theft of Public Money, Property or Records.

The total number of counts that Manning was charged with was 34. If he had been found guilty of “aiding the enemy” he could have potentially faced the death penalty.

While the court-martial judge, Col. Denise R. Lind,  ruled that Continue reading Bradley Manning Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy

Mail Tracking Revelation Shows Why Transparency Is Vital

With the latest revelations coming to light about the letters that were tainted with ricin being sent to President Obama and NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the need for transparency is becoming more clear every single day. It has now been revealed that a computer takes high resolution images of every letter and package front and back and keeps them on file. This is only the latest in a series of domestic surveillance admissions here on American soil.

The mailings were intercepted at various points in the mailing process. The horrible potential of these letters were stopped and it was largely due to the MICT machines that provided them the information. These machines literally keep records of what you have mailed down to the letter. Fortunately this surveillance did what they intended and saved some folks in the process. That said, this latest information shows that we need to have a long talk with our government about transparency.

After 9/11, we found out that we would have to give up some personal freedoms in the interest of national security and protection. Most Americans embraced what was needed and we banded together to get the job done. Some rules were put in place that was designed to prevent terrorism and domestic crime in and out of our country. Somewhere along the way we have lost sight of the programs and stopped the dialogue.

Related content:  Is Your Status Drawing Homeland Securities Attention?  Keywords Revealed

The United States government and the NSA needs to come out and provide the American public with a comprehensive list of the ways in which we are being watched. We need to know when our phone lines are being tapped. We need to know when our mail is being monitored and we need to know when our Internet access is being followed and documented. Any domestic surveillance that is going on that would normally require a warrant should be revealed voluntarily and quickly.

This transparency is the only way that we will have the ability to have an open and honest discussion about what is truly necessary. How else can we have that discussion? We don’t have the facts. That much is clear based on the revelations in recent years of surveillance we were unaware of. The American people have a right to choose when something is excessive. Give them the tools to do just that and we will remain protected.

Five Reasons Instagram Might Be A Bad Idea for Your Teen

teens and instagramInstagram is one of the hottest social media apps on the market and they are growing quickly. In the past year alone they have doubled their subscription base and that does not appear to be slowing down. Because the app is used primarily on phones and tablets, it has been particularly popular with the younger crowd for sharing pictures with friends. The problem with Instagram is that it is not meant for kids younger than 13 per their terms of service. Despite this, kids sign up all the time with little to stand in their way. Here are five good reasons why you might want to stop your kid from using Instagram at such a young age:

Instagram is public

Like any other social media site, anyone can see your kid’s pictures if they don’t set the account to private. If the kid posts a picture at the park with friends and the account is set to public, anyone can know where your kid is, what they look like and who they are with. The danger is obvious.

Instagram can be brutal

We have all heard the stories of how social media can hurt a kid. Instagram allows Continue reading Five Reasons Instagram Might Be A Bad Idea for Your Teen

Opposing Views of Fingerprint Payments

fingerprint takes place of credit cardWhen my child’s school started scanning fingerprints for lunch payments, I was opposed to the idea. But I like to be a pretty fair person so I weighed the pros and the cons. As it turns out, this could be a budding popular method of payment and there are actually quite a few perks involved.

Pros

There isn’t a person on the planet who hasn’t lost their wallet, purse, or at least one credit card. Personally, I am well known for all of the above. One of the advantages of fingerprint payments is that it’s pretty hard to lose your finger. Even if someone did manage to take it from you in some unspeakable way, new fingerprint systems monitor for pulse as well as scanning the fingerprint. Another positive point is that identity theft is a lot easier to prove when you aren’t even in the same location.

Let’s just assume that someone used some sort of technology to duplicate your fingerprint. They put it on their own finger, which obviously has a pulse. They make a purchase. You try to dispute it. If this had been a credit card and you weren’t in the same location as the purchase, your creditors might accuse you of lending it out in an effort to obtain the merchandise without having to pay for it. This is clearly an impossible task when you use fingerprints instead of credit cards.

Cons

While there are plenty of pros when it comes to fingerprint payments, there are cons as well. How you look at each depends a great deal on how you view the financial and governmental system, not to mention your own body. I have to admit, when I first heard of it at my son’s school I wondered how much he would hate me for allowing this if later on down the road he wanted to live “off the grid”.

I don’t even like the idea of Social Security numbers. The idea of submitting my young child’s fingerprint to anyone was appalling to me. For me, the biggest downside of all to fingerprint payment Continue reading Opposing Views of Fingerprint Payments

Will New Innovations From 2013 International CES Put Your Information at Risk?

The 2013 International CES was host to plenty of exciting exhibits to choose.  Revenues for consumer electronics are expected to keep growing to new record levels! At the show, over 20,000 new products were launched from more than 3,250 exhibitors, making it a sure bet that there is something for everyone being revealed. There’s always a lot of excitement for CES because it’s often a first look at the years’ best new innovations.

Going Wireless in More Ways

There were more than 1,200 exhibitors showing off their wireless technology this year. Wireless technology is taking center stage at CES this year, including new and improved smartphones and tablets, making it more important than ever that people understand how to protect their information and identity when using these devices.

With that many exhibitions, there are bound to be plenty of awesome gadgets and programs, but Continue reading Will New Innovations From 2013 International CES Put Your Information at Risk?