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DefCon 24- Hacking to Make the World a Better Place

Did you know that an attacker can flood your house via the water dispenser on your connected refrigerator? Or that bluetooth enabled locks can be picked from ¼ of a mile away using radio frequencies? I didn’t either, until I attended this year’s DefCon 24, an annual hacking convention in Las Vegas. While a hotel in Las Vegas full of 22,000 hackers sounds like it might not be a good idea, it’s just the opposite. The purpose of this conference is to bring together Internet security professionals from all over the world to help educate, inform and learn how to make the Internet a safer place...
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How to Stay Safe When File Sharing Online

File sharing technology is an easy way for individuals or institutions to transfer content on the internet. There are several peer-to-peer (P2P) applications and services available. Some applications are free and others offer paid subscriptions for larger storage capacity, speedier service or extra security. File sharing is a very common activity for most online users, but file sharing also makes you susceptible to various online threats including identity theft, infection or attack. If you plan on using file sharing technology be sure personal data and other sensitive materials are secur...
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How Can I Tell If I Have Malware and What Can I Do About It?

Malware has become a catchall term for various types of cyber security risks, such as viruses, Trojan horses, worms, adware, ransomware and spyware. Many of us use these terms interchangeably to describe strange symptoms or behaviors encountered on a computer. However, all of them share a common goal, which is to compromise the safety of your devices. Symptoms of malware may appear obvious or discrete; knowing how to detect these dangerous intrusions will help you determine how to go about fixing the problem should it ever occur.   Malware is short for malicious software and refers to pro...
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What Are Browser Hijackers?

A browser hijacker is defined as a “form of unwanted software that modifies a web browser’s settings without the user’s permission.” The result is the placement of unwanted advertising into the browser, and possibly the replacement of an existing home page or search page with the hijacker page. The idea is to make users visit certain websites whether they want to or not so the hijacker enjoys higher advertising revenue. Browser hijackers may also contain spyware to obtain banking information and other sensitive data. As frustrating as browser hijackers can be, they luckily aren’t terribly...
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Cyber Safety for Women

An unfortunate number of women are becoming victims of cyber crimes. According to a recent study more women are known to use the Internet to enrich their relationships compared to men. Young women, those 18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25% were the target of online sexual harassment. The growing reach of the Internet and the rapid spread of information through mobile devices has presented new opportunities that could put some women at risk, so it’s important to be mindful of the...
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7 Ways to Ensure Your Data Is Safe During Vacation

It’s barely spring and already you’re thinking about vacation. Where will you go? What will you do? Who will you meet? Vacations are an exciting, happy time for people to get away and avoid the everyday worries of home. But the fun and leisure comes to a screeching halt in the event that your personally data is compromised while traveling. Vacations can often put your personal information at risk, due to careless missteps in how you go about preparing to leave, how you communicate while on vacation, and what you share on social media. Here are seven ways to ensure your data stays safe wh...
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How to Let Go of Old Tech Securely and Responsibly

According to several studies on cost of ownership, users should replace their computer devices every four years. Not everyone will need to upgrade his or her computer every four years, but it’s a good rule to follow to ensure your data is safe and properly protected online. To help you remember, every time we have a leap year ask yourself: when was the last time I bought a new computer? If you can’t remember, chances are you may be due for an upgrade. Once you’re ready to make the switch, you’ll need to follow a few steps to ensure your old technology has been properly wiped and recycled,...
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Software Terms of Service and Privacy Policies Explained

If you’re like most people, you don’t read the Terms of Service when you get a new app or buy a new device. That’s a big mistake, because a lot of apps on the market that are less-than-ideal, known as “grayware,” count on you allowing them access to your information. They know most people don’t read the Terms of Service, so their Terms of Service include language authorizing a massive invasion of your privacy. At the same time, you might have noticed that most Terms of Service is just boilerplate. How do you read the Terms of Service and find out what you need to know about privacy without...
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PC or Mac: Which Is More Resistant to Cyber Threats?

Cyber criminals are not run-of-the-mill street hooligans. Assailants of online crimes are educated, tech-savvy, sophisticated individuals who don’t care if you prefer PC to Mac or vice versa. There has been considerable debate in the tech arena regarding the security of one machine over the other. Are PCs more prone to cyber attacks? Is a Macbook really less vulnerable to online threats? The debate wages on. For a long time Mac users enjoyed a period of peace—they felt impervious to threats, only to realize years later that the sophisticated hacker would eventually evolve to this platform...
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Kirby the North Pole IT Elf Presents: Paper or Plastic

Our favorite holiday IT elf is back with some more holiday shopping tips! This week he reviews "paper or plastic," and we're not talking about grocery bags. 

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Thanksgiving - Cybersecurity Technologies We're Thankful for and Why

Thanksgiving not only marks the start of the fantastic holiday season—it’s also a time to reflect on what you’re thankful for. One of the many things to be thankful for this holiday is cybersecurity, which has gotten more and more advanced as of late.

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Encryption: How To Utilize it Online and Why It’s Important

Encryption is the process of protecting personal data, often with a form of “secret code,” so that it cannot be read by anyone who doesn’t have the code key.  Today, huge amounts of personal information are managed online, via computer applications, and stored in the cloud, or servers with an ongoing connection to the Web.

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