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Jonathan Omansky Visits Year Up Bay Area for the Symantec Cyber Career Connection

Earlier this month, students at the Symantec Cyber Career Connection (SC3) pilot site at Year Up Bay Area welcomed Jonathan Omansky, director of security response at Symantec, as part of the program’s Friday Guest Speaker Series. 

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SC3 Students Have An Exciting First Day at NPower Brooklyn Site

First days of school are always exciting: meeting your fellow students, learning the teacher's name, deciding where to sit. This week, at the Brooklyn NPower site, one of the three Symantec Cyber Career Connection training program pilot locations, classes began for 16 alumni of the NPower Technology Service Corps.  The students were selected from a pool of 50 applicants through a rigorous and comprehensive screening process.

The cybersecurity instructor, Mo, gave the students a bit of a surprise for the first day. He hid an assemblage of computer parts under a tablecloth on each classroom table. They were tasked to build their own computers for the first day's assignment. Working together, asking for help and advice, all the students managed the task, and in the process began that strange alchemy of bonding as a team. 

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ZeroAccess: Millions of Computers In US Infected And It Updates With P2P

Getting infected with malware is always a painful experience but new variants of old threats are using new techniques both to spread and cause harm. One such malware is a botnet that infects computers, creating a hidden file storage area for its files and opening a port for ongoing peer to peer communication. This means the infected computer can get updates from the malware author, either to cause more harm or to for the malware to be redesigned to avoid detection. You may recognize the communication method as a form of peer to peer (P2P) network that is often used to share music and video...
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Norton Report Finds Higher Cybercrime Costs per Victim, Social Stressors and Blurred Lines

This is big. The 4th annual, global research effort known as The Norton Report (previously known as the Norton Cybercrime Report) has been released.  While we found that the global cost of cybercrime only grew a small amount (to $113 billion), the number of victims actually went down. Fewer victims may seem like a positive trend but unfortunately this is explained by a 50% increase in the per person cost of cybercrime. And this trend is fully consistent with the findings in the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, that cybercriminals are using more carefully targeted and increasingly...
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Symantec Cyber Career Connection: NPower Partner Breakfast; YearUp Baltimore Classes Begin

It's one thing to plan and fund a program, yet another to see it come to fruition. I want to share with you some big updates from two of the pilot sites: New York (Brooklyn) and Baltimore.  New York pilot:  The NPower team and Symantec hosted a fantastic partner breakfast in our New York sales office (the view is seen in the top photo) where representatives from many of the top companies in the New York City area attended to learn about the SC3 program. Before the meeting was over, most of the attendees indicated they were on board to take SC3 students as interns. Their support is a ve...
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Changes Coming! Ask Marian Blog Will Become Symantec Cyber Education Blog in September

Hello loyal readers,  I want to update you on the status of this blog and the content found here. We will be transitioning the focus to support our newly launched Symantec Cyber Career Connection initiative, as well as related cybersecurity educational programs around the world. I expect the shift to occur in September so stay tuned.  I hope you will take the time to learn a bit about our new Symantec Cyber Career Connection, intended to help underserved young adults enter into the field of cybersecurity careers. It was announced by Secretary Hillary Clinton at a recent Clinton Global Ini...
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Update on Child Identity Theft Bills in The United States

Since I last wrote on the topic of child identity theft legislation in April, a few states have made progress on the topic, following the lead of Maryland where the concept was introduced:   Delaware passed a bill in April and it was signed by Governor Markell in June: http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-334919816.html Utah seems to have chosen a voluntary approach in partnership with TransUnion to allow parents to add their minor child’s information to a special protected group of credit records but it’s not as powerful as a credit freeze. Information can be found here: https://cip.utah.gov/c...
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Parents Taking Greater Shared Interest in Teaching Kids The “Birds and the Beeps” of Internet Safety

As part of my role, I travel the world briefing media and international colleagues on safer internet use, news and trends. Earlier this year I visited the UK and we discussed our observations that more often than not, parents are either sharing the teaching of internet safety to the kids or moms are taking the primary role. It used to be, in the old days, that anything to do with technology was the purview of the fathers, but apparently that is changing. I often advocate that both parents have “the Talk” about internet safety with children from the very beginning of their use of the...
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Cyber Security is a Shared Responsibility: The 10th Anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Take a moment to think where you were ten years ago and what your computer and internet experience was like. If you can, you’ll remember the work you had cleaning up your email from the deluge of spam messages and the frequency of big virus outbreaks like “ILoveYou”; “Anna Kournikova” and “Code Red”. And when things went wrong, it always felt like your responsibility alone to clean the computer, remove the threat and fix the damage. You weren’t the only one who thought things had to change. Every October, since 2003, we recognize as National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). NCSAM was...
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EU Kids Online Research Study: Zero to Eight: Young Children and Their Internet Use"

Anytime the venerable EU Kids Online team comes out with new research, it’s an opportunity to print it out (on two sided paper, of course), get a cup of the good coffee and settle in for a read. You are guaranteed to read thoughtful, considerate paragraphs about some aspect of children’s use of technology that you’ve been thinking about and wished someone would investigate. The latest bit is no exception: what is happening with the very young children, aged birth to eight, using the Internet on touchscreen devices and should we be paying more attention? The report is titled “Zero to Eight:...
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California Bill Passes Providing Youth with Online Erasers

Some are calling it the online “eraser button”. A new law signed yesterday by California governor Jerry Brown will allow under age youth to remove posts and photos they regret putting on their social media accounts. It requires the websites to allow anyone under 18 to remove their own material and to provide instructions on how to do so. Additionally the bill offers additional advertising constraints for sites directed at serving youth under the age of 18, restricting the display of inappropriate advertising for goods like alcohol, tobacco, weapons and gambling sites....
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Spring Cleaning for Your Digital Life

When I was a young working mother and email was still relatively new, there was a popular e-newsletter with easy household cleaning ideas for harried moms (and dads). Each day, you’d get a tip or an idea of something in the house to clean or organize. The idea was if you addressed one or two items per day, you’d never get overwhelmed and your house would have minimal clutter and mess. At least that was the idea, since I’d usually ignore the emails for days at a time and then go overboard in a frenzy of once-a-month cleaning....
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Facebook "Likes" Have Monetary Value

It’s a typical day on your favorite social network. You see that one of your friends has commented on a photo you can see. You notice that this photo has over 30,000 likes, and more than 100,000 comments. Another 7,000 plus people have shared the amazing photo. There’s an instruction to type the number “1” into the comments space “to see what happens to the image.” In the example I show you here, the photo is of an enormous sinkhole in the middle of an urban landscape. Who wouldn’t be curious what might happen to the image? So it’s not that odd that so many people have apparently followed...
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Oregon Teen’s Stolen Laptop Finds Its Way Home Thanks to Norton Online Family and a Clever Dad

Usually any heroic Norton Online Family story is about how using it can help parents see patterns in their children’s online behavior or reinforce their trust in their children’s good choices. Today we have a story of how Norton Online Family stopped a team of crooks in their tracks. You’re probably as surprised as I was....
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Cyber Security Term: “Watering Hole Attack”

Imagine you are in Africa on a photo safari. You’re in your 4WD vehicle, upwind of the animals who are gathering at a pool of clear water. Zebras and water buffalo herds claim their section of the shoreline, while in the distant tall grass, a pride of lions waits. The vulnerability of the animals drinking at the watering hole is something well understood and the reason tourists are often brought nearby to await the inevitable “circle of life” drama....
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Keep Your Social Media Footprint Private

Ever posted something on Facebook only to regret it and run to delete it? Now that everyone and their grandma is on Facebook (seriously, your grandmother just created her profile!) it’s never been more important to conduct your social networking in a mindful way. You’ve heard the warnings about not posting photos of your wild night on the town or ranting about how dumb your boss is, yet people continue to commit these mistakes day in and day out. We use Facebook and other social networks so frequently, uploading photos, checking into locations, tagging friends, using geo-location services;...
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Symantec Sponsors Pilot Educational Initiative in Australia with Common Sense Media and CyberSafeKids

Whether the issue is cyberbullying, plagiarism or simply a shared desire to teach our children the best way to use technology, most schools are incorporating some form of “digital literacy” in their curriculum. But what is the best way to do this? Which programs have a lasting impact on the children, helping them gain new skills and understanding that translates into safe, kinder, more effective online behaviors? Before we select a speaker for a one-time assembly, distribute fliers and literature to parents or recommend filters, it’s important we have good data on which programs work best....
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Summer Time Can Be Internet Danger Free If You Pay Attention

June is a funny month for most moms and dads of school-aged kids. You are so happy to be getting near the end of a school-year’s homework assignments, classroom activities, field trip permission slips, and carpool arrangements. OK, maybe that’s just me. There’s also the slight sense of panic most of us feel as we try to line up a healthy assortment of summer activities – enough to keep the kids busy but still enjoying the break from formal education. Maybe that means summer camp, swimming lessons, art classes, sports programs or a long family vacation, but for most kids, the summer months...
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Norton Mobile Security Gains New Privacy Features; Beta Testing Begins for Core Norton Products

It’s remarkable how quickly we’ve become dependent on our mobile devices to handle most if not all of our computing needs. Most of us now realize how critical it is to secure your device (physically) and the important data and apps as well. Set a screen lock password; put your other telephone number on the back; and install mobile security software that includes an anti-theft feature....
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Cool Cash from Kal-El: Norton and "Man of Steel" Contest! Enter Today and You Could Win!

Back when I was in high school, I used to wear a gold “Superman” logo on a necklace. I told people it was because my last name began with an “S”, but the real reason was that I thought Superman was cool. I loved (and still do) the idea that hidden among all of us “regular folks” is a superhero with the potential to keep us safe from our enemies; who rescues innocents from everyday harm and rocks his everyday job as a journalist. How vivid the symbolism was for the Cold War era but it still resonates today when you consider how easily any of us can be destroyed by the evil lurking online....
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Today's Modern Fan Increasingly Dependent and At Risk with Mobile Devices

It’s been a few years since I attended a destination music festival, but going to the second US festival in 1983 was one of the highlights of my college years. I remember it was very hot, we saw an incredible array of stellar performances, toured some exhibits with cutting edge personal computers and other technology and had a simply wonderful time. Hard to believe, but back then, we bought our tickets at a ticket broker’s office, we carried wallets and cameras and it was only days later we could show people our photos once we’d had the film developed....
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Study Shows Teens Adopting New Social Media and Reducing Facebook Dependency

“Teens Getting Tired of Facebook Drama” “Teenagers Hate Facebook but They’re Not Logging Off” “Teens Cooling on Facebook but Warming to Twitter” “Facebook Losing Ground with Younger Audiences” Many of the headlines for the latest Pew Center research study of teens and privacy and social media have mistakenly described teens as leaving Facebook for Twitter. That’s not the story. Facebook’s market penetration continues to grow, though very slowly, while Twitter has gained significant momentum. The very reasonable explanation from teens themselves is that there are too many parents and other ...
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Debunking Cyber Security Myths

How did you decide where to live? You probably wanted a good neighborhood close to your work or local shops, maybe in a top school district. I’ll bet you gave it a lot of thought and did your research. But, even if you are lucky enough to live in a safe area with low crime rates, you probably still lock your house when you go out and check the door before you open it to a stranger. We take certain precautions to ensure our safety....
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Advance Preparation for Disaster is a Must for Every Small Business

Small businesses are the economic backbone of this country. Yet, in the aftermath of manmade or natural disasters, an astounding 40% of small businesses never reopen. It doesn’t have to be this way; with preparation, organization and practice, owners and employees of small businesses can secure their future, despite what may come their way. In this 50th year of National Small Business Week, it’s the right time to put your plan together and into practice. The tips and advice here and at the websites I link to are also terrific resources and ideas for your home life, to make sure your family...
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Let's Stop Child Identity Theft Now!

Imagine you are graduating high school and you’ve just celebrated your 18th birthday. In anticipation of starting college in the fall, you begin applying for student loans. The first loan application is returned as “denied” because apparently you have too much debt already. You think it must be a mistake and with your parent’s guidance, you order your very first credit report to see what is going on. What you find chills you to the bone; someone has been using your credit information to take out loans, purchase cars, and use credit cards. Several accounts are in collection and the score is...
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Happy Earth Day!

Earth Day is celebrated around the world each year on April 22nd. It’s a great opportunity to consider what we each do in our daily lives that may negatively impact the environment, either through pollution, excess use of precious natural resources, or other unthinking actions. None of us would purposely damage our home but it’s easy to get busy living life and working hard and missing the small ways we can each make a difference....
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Cyberbullying (a presentation you can use)

Cyberbullying - the scourge of today's Internet connected teen but what can you do about it?  Cyberbullying by Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate from Marian Merritt
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Boston Marathon-Related Cybercrime - Be Careful!

In this hyper-connected world, even if you were thousands of miles from Boston, you were impacted by the blast of vicious bombs at this week’s Boston Marathon attack. Many of us were riveted by television coverage or online reporting of the terrible tragedy. Undoubtedly, some of you may have already received malicious spam emails that started flooding global inboxes, and malicious links appearing in your social networks. Be cautious and be careful about what you open, link, promote or click on! (In the case of the malware-laden emails we’ve seen, you can be sure your Norton and Symantec...
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Top Ways to Avoid Digital Dangers During Your Spring Travel

I can feel it, can’t you? Spring is coming! We’ve reset our clocks, had the official first day of spring and I’ve even seen a few tulips blooming in the front yard. For some of you lucky folks, that might also mean you have some family travel coming up for Spring Break. Whether you’re headed for beach fun, snow slopes or a city break – and whether you’re going with friends, family or on your own – a little research and some preparation can make traveling with your technology a breeze.  ...
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Cyber Bullying in Asia: Notes From My Trip

A few weeks ago, I traveled to meet with cyber bullying experts and media in three Asian cities: Tokyo, Hong Kong and Beijing. I also had several conversations with parents in each market that furthered my knowledge of just how similar the online safety issues are around the world. For example, in each city, at least one parent had cause to state a version of “my child knows more about technology than I do.” Even in the high-tech capital of the world, Tokyo, I met parents who were unsure of how to manage the devices and mobile access their children have to the Internet. At the very least,...
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Join Together and Open The Sky: International Women’s Day

I know I’m blessed and lucky to have been born in the United States. Our country, though far from perfect, offers so many wonderful opportunities for women. I’ve certainly benefitted from these freedoms:  I attended public schools through high school; had thousands of colleges and universities to consider for my higher education and was able to move into a new career as my interests evolved. And I’m indebted to the women who preceded me who fought for the vote and for equal rights in the workplace. As a woman with a family and a full time career in the high tech industry, I have a front row...
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About To Send a Kid Off to College?

Do you have a teen about to head out to college? If you do (as do I) you’ve got loads on your mind about helping them pick a school, consider different majors, maybe even discuss possible career options.And then there's the daunting worry about paying for college which has never been more expensive! There are loads of little details to settle and just one is making sure they are set up with a safe, functional computer.  If your teen is like mine, they just aren’t very good at maintaining security software, running the update service for the operating system and other important programs and...
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Why Patching Your Software Matters!

If you were to think of software like you would a houseplant, maybe it would be more natural to keep it patched and up-to-date. To take care of your plant, you’re supposed to water it, turn it in the sun for it to grow evenly and occasionally mist the plant’s leaves or add fertilizer.  And when I say “software,” I don’t just mean security software, which most users understand  will only keep you safe  when it has the latest protection files. No, all software is, by its very nature, imperfect. Software is almost like a living thing. Program code is written by one person, the Developer, and...
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The 10 Things Parents Should Know About Online Safety, As Reported by Young People

For every parent who has ever felt frustrated at understanding technology, there's a teen who looks on in amusement. Or does that version of the digital divide feel foreign to you? In any event, a study from Young And Well in Australia titled "Enhancing Parents' Knowledge and Practice of Online Safety" has just come out and includes a list I just had to share with all of you. Be sure to read the full report, filled with ideas about how parents can do a better job understanding online risk for their kids and improving trust through communication. (Sounds like "The Talk" is still in vogue!)...
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Symantec Announces Bamital Botnet Take Down

Add the name “Bamital” to the list of oddball terms like Waledec, Rustock, Kelihos, Zeus and Nitol. All are bot networks taken down over the past 2 and a half years by Microsoft in partnership with law enforcement and security companies like Norton by Symantec.  You can read about the event here or on our Symantec Response blog. ...
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Today is Safer Internet Day (#SID2013)

In its 10th year of observance, Safer Internet Day is a European-led effort, from InSafe, to promote greater awareness and safer use of the internet and mobile devices, especially by youth. This year’s theme is “Online Rights and Responsibilities.” It’s not as well known here in the United States as June’s Internet Safety Month or the related but slightly different Cyber Security Awareness Month in October. Sometimes it feels like the calendar is filling with days or months of celebration or awareness campaigns.  Fortunately, the combined momentum of these programs will likely improve...
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Data Privacy Day: Challenges to Having a Meaningful Online Presence

Every year on January 28th, we celebrate Data Privacy Day. Throughout Europe and in the US and Canada, people are coming together to raise awareness about how our personal information is being used. Every day, we are asked to “accept” an end user license agreement (EULA) or to provide private information in order to get a service or product. Every day, consumers around the world wonder if they are sharing too much or if those they are entrusting with their private data will guard it as securely as we might want. For more information, please visit the special Data Privacy Day page on the...
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Travel With Your Tech Safely – A Summer Refresher

I’ve long given business and leisure travelers the same advice when they set off on a trip – keep your eye on your computers and mobile devices,  be cautious on public wifi networks,  avoid connecting computers or memory sticks to shared computers and avoid internet café computers if you want your social network and other account logins to stay safe....
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What's All the Buzz About Java? Fixing The Vulnerability

No doubt you’ve seen news reports or a post on your social network alerting you to concerns about something called “Java” that could cause trouble on your computer. If you aren’t sure what’s happening or need a straight forward explanation for a friend or loved one, here’s an overview to help you sort this out:...
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A Great New Tool That Can Simplify Passwords (Finally)!

Password management isn’t particularly new. Most of us make half-hearted attempts at creating tough ones that no one could guess. But then we discover we can’t remember them.  So you hit the “Forgot My Password” link on site after site. Then you probably graduated to the most popular but terrible method, writing passwords on slips of paper on your desk. I’ve even visited offices where passwords are taped to the computer monitor. Not good, people, not good at all....
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A Look Back; A Look Ahead - Cyber Safety in 2012 and Predictions for 2013

What are some of the key cyber safety and security news events of the past year? I've tried to summarize some of the big stories in areas such as cybercrime fighting; cyber bullying stories; legislation; and social media news. This might be the only blog entry I ever write that brings together a school bus driver, a K-pop music star and President Obama. ...
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Your New Resolutions: 6 Things to Stop and Start for a Safer Tech New Year!

Among the end of year holiday tasks like taking down the tree, recycling the wrapping paper and boxes and planning your New Year's fun, you probably are thinking about Resolutions. We don't all cotton to the idea of once a year making ourselves promises we don't intend to keep but there is something wonderful about starting the New Year with a clean slate and banishing bad habits. In the world of computer and mobile phones, there are steps you can take to do things better, smarter and safer. Why not take a moment to consider what you might do to step up your safety game. ...
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Bringing Your New Baby Home

Some of us might just be lucky enough to get some new tech toy this holiday season. Be it a new computer or tablet, bringing tech home requires a little bit of effort to set up. Ideally, you’d just open the box and push the start button and everything would be like Goldilocks’ porridge, “just right.” Make sure getting security “just right” is among your new tech priorities....
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Facebook and the Privacy Hoax

Have you seen this in your Facebook “News Feed”? “In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!”...
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What You Need to Know About Shopping Apps and 5 Holiday Online Shopping Tips!

It’s a little funny that as we near Thanksgiving, and therefore Black Friday (the big in-store shopping day after the holiday), I’m asked to give holiday shopping advice. Let me be completely honest; I’m a committed online shopper. My favorite shopping expeditions involve a warm laptop, hot cocoa and fuzzy slippers. I don’t like crowds or circling the parking lot to find a space (or worse, forgetting where you left your car and wandering the lot with all the shopping bags when you are ready to just go home.)...
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Cyber Crime Threats Run the Gamut from Personal to Geo-Political

I recently spoke at a major US financial services firm in the mid west to a large employee audience about a wide variety of cyber security issues. As I was prepping my slides, I noticed that some of the issues we’re dealing with are highly personal, like having your social network account hacked (as has happened to 1 in 6 online adults according to the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report). And others, like Stuxnet, the malware attack that took the Iranian nuclear facility offline, are the acts of one government (or two) against another.  So the gamut of topics feels wider than ever. I worried...
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Make Windows 8 Great with New Norton Apps

Any time we get a new operating system from our friends in Redmond, it’s cause for a nervous kind of celebration. I mean that speaking just as a consumer; innovation is exciting! You have to recognize the enormous effort and design triumph that is Windows 8, even if, like me, you have only a limited experience with it....
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Hurricane Sandy Brings Cyber Fraud, Both Benign and Malicious

The devastation of this week’s horrific hurricane has just begun being enumerated. Destroyed homes, upended and soaked cars, roads washed out and the many thousands of trees felled are the most visible signs of the horror. Too many lives were tragically lost as well. But as with tragedies in the past, such as Katrina and the earthquake/tsunami in Japan, cyber fraud travels in every storm’s wake....
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These Are Tricks That Make Me Say “Boo” and Sometimes “Boo Hoo”

Have you noticed how dramatically different your online experiences are these days? Not only did we get new services like a Timeline rolled out to all of us, but we’re now seeing sponsored posts in our News Feeds and soon we’ll be able to purchase gifts for our friends’ milestones like birthdays. I like these innovations but I’ve also noticed new malware and dodgy “tricks” going on from cyber-tricksters and scam advertisers alike. And in our mobile devices, there are new and emerging problems like “smishing”,  which is SMS-based phishing attacks and greedy, information-gobbling “app goblins...
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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month - 7 Tips For Online Safety!

This blog first appeared on A Platform for Good's blog:    1. Password safety! Create a complex and unique password for your social network. Don’t share it with anyone. If you've already shared it with someone, login and change it! If you can register more than one email address to the account, do that too. This can come in handy if your account is ever hacked, giving you another way to recover the account from the hacker. The slideshow below has some great tips for creating and using passwords wisely!   Let me in! 10 tips to better passwords from Marian Merritt 2. Private matters - T...
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