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Can the Elections Get Hacked?

The security of electronic voting machines has been the subject of scrutiny, just before the November U.S. presidential elections. Are they secure? Are they anonymous? And if the answer is yes, how can we possibly know? A Symantec security expert recently demonstrated just what a motivated hacker can do to undermine the election by hacking an electronic voting machine.  Can Hackers Hack the Election? At the Black Hat convention this year, Symantec’s Brian Varner demonstrated a security flaw in an electronic voting machine and the smart card a voter would use to place their vote. Using...
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Keep Your Home Wi-Fi Safe in 7 Simple Steps

It is beginning to feel like the Internet is a basic necessity for existence in the 21st century. With all our devices connected to the Internet, we have an indescribable physical mobility that leads to increased productivity. It is safe to say that the Internet is for everyone and does not limit itself to the tech savvy. Unfortunately, when not safeguarded, the Internet can be a playground for nefarious activities caused by people with malicious intent.   Take a home wireless network as an example. Almost every member of the family accesses it through laptops, PCs, cell phones and tablet...
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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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What Is Smishing?

A form of phishing, smishing is when someone tries to trick you into giving them your private information via a text or SMS message. Smishing is becoming an emerging and growing threat in the world of online security. Read on to learn what smishing is and how you can protect yourself against it. Put simply, smishing is any kind of phishing that involves a text message. Often times, this form of phishing involves a text message in an SMS or a phone number. Smishing is particularly scary because sometimes people tend to be more inclined to trust a text message than an email. Most people a...
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Norton @ DefCon

This year, Norton visited DefCon 24, a hacking conference held in Las Vegas. Established in 1993, this conference is designed to bring together people from all realms of the Internet security sector to explore the latest threats that are currently on the Internet, and to learn how to get ahead of them. This year, the conference had a record-breaking attendance of 22,000 people ranging from hackers, coders, journalists (me!), security researchers and even federal government employees. This was my first time attending this conference, and although I did my research on it, it was beyond my e...
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What Is a No-Log VPN Network?

Many VPN providers safeguard their customers’ anonymity by offering a no-log network, meaning that they do not collect, or “log,” any information transmitted through the network. They don’t save information about your personal details, where you go online, what you download, or what you search for. Therefore your privacy and anonymity are protected from everybody — even your VPN provider.

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Paying Friends Through a Mobile Payment App

Mobile payment apps are changing the way we do business, but they can also be convenient ways to send money to friends and family. It’s easier than ever to send money to the people who need it, but also easier than ever for hackers to gain access to that money before it gets where you want it. How do you keep yourself and your money safe, while also being able to access the convenience of mobile payment apps? How Mobile Payment Apps Work You can pay using your phone, even without apps. Some companies, such as your phone company, allow you to pay your bill using standard text messaging....
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#30SecTech: What Is a VPN?

There’s a good reason hackers love free public Wi-Fi. It’s because they can easily access information on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. So when you’re in a coffee shop or an airport checking your emails or paying bills while on public Wi-Fi, you could be letting cybercriminals spy on your sensitive and personal information. VPNs, or virtual private networks, like Norton WiFi Privacy can turn those public Wi-Fi hotspots into secured private connections. Watch this short (30 seconds!) video to see how a VPN could give you a new sense of security on Wi-Fi. ...
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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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The Day I Thought Cybercriminals Left Me For Dead

Early on a Wednesday evening, I received a call from my doctor. Her voice, frantic on the line, proclaims, “I’m so happy to hear your voice- the strangest thing happened today. You were marked in our system as deceased for about 20 minutes.” I paused for a moment out of shock, and assured her I was very much alive and well. She went on to explain how she’d never seen anything like it before. As the initial shock wore off, we started to have a bit of a laugh on how bizarre this was. 

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How to Avoid Public Wi-Fi Woes on a Business Trip

As summer arrives, it’s not just families that will be filling airports and hotels. While other people may be vacationing, business travelers will continue to work their way around the country and the world, often using unsafe public Wi-Fi.

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What Is a VPN? And Why You Should Use a VPN on Public Wi-Fi

If you’ve ever wondered if it’s safe to use public Wi-Fi, you are not alone. In fact, according to the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report, 6 in 10 consumers believe using public Wi-Fi is riskier than using a public restroom. And it is. Surfing the Web or transacting on an unsecured Wi-Fi network means you’re placing your private information and anonymity at risk. That’s why a virtual private network, better known as a VPN, is a must for anyone worried about online security and privacy. 

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The Risks of Public Wi-Fi

Picture this. It’s Saturday morning and you’re hanging out at your local coffee shop using the free Wi-Fi to catch up on a few tasks you couldn’t quite get to during your busy week. Sound familiar? This is a typical scenario for many of us, but did you know you might be unaware of some threats lurking in the background on public Wi-Fi while you balance your bank account and sip a latte? What Is Public Wi-Fi? Public Wi-Fi can be found in popular public places like airports, coffee shops, malls, restaurants, and hotels — and it allows you to access the Internet for free. These “hotspots”...
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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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How Does Malware Get Past Security Software?

Have you ever run your Internet security software only to find out that there’s malware on your computer? How did it get there? When you’re running a full Internet security suite, it can be very frustrating to find out that, despite your best efforts, there’s malware on your computer anyway. The fight against malware is a complicated arms race of sorts. Here’s how it works. The Four Components of the Malware Arms Race There are three main players in the malware arms race: Malware Coders: The malware coders are, unfortunately, generally the winners of the arms race. They write mali...
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The Importance of Data Back-Up

Have you ever lost a lot of really important data? Or, alternately, have you ever had a moment of panic where you thought you did? Whether it’s images of a family vacation, a report from work or a semester’s worth of homework, you probably have data on your computer that’s not just valuable, it’s too valuable to lose. Backing up your data regularly will help you to avoid the crushing feeling that comes with finding out that all your hard work and treasured memories are gone. The Importance of Backing Up Let’s face it, no matter how great your computer or external hard drive are, one da...
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The Dos and Don’ts of Using Public Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi is available just about everywhere, from the local coffee shop to the hotels and airports you visit while traveling. Wi-Fi has made our lives a little easier, but it also poses security risks to the personal information available on our laptops and smartphones. Here is a helpful list of dos and don’ts you should follow if you plan to use public Wi-Fi.

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4 Steps to Make Your Smart Home More Security Smart

“IoT” is an acronym for the “Internet of Things.” And any device that can connect to the Internet and transmit or receive data can be considered a “smart” thing. That includes smart homes, also known as connected homes. Smart homes — in which IoT devices such as thermostats or ovens can be programmed from anywhere — are popular with consumers who seek convenience. Some people, however, may not realize the connected devices or appliances they’ve grown to depend on could leak private information or be susceptible to hackers. In the rush to get products to market, smart device makers may not see security as a priority. 

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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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What to Do When a Device Is Lost or Stolen

Realizing your mobile device has been stolen is a sickening feeling, and often one that elicits panic. As challenging as it may be, you must remain calm so you can take the necessary steps to retrieve the device, or at least keep your data protected. You may never see your phone again, but you’ll know that your personal information is safe from those who would abuse it. Let the Right People Know The first thing to do is to let the authorities know your mobile device was stolen. File a report with the police—not only is this helpful for insurance purposes but it also increases recovery ch...
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Protecting Android Devices and Why They’re so Vulnerable

The security argument between Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android system for smartphones is heating up yet again. In a recent study conducted by Daniel R. Thomas, Alastair R. Beresford, and Andrew Rice at the University of Cambridge, research concluded that 90 percent of Android devices are exposed to at least one critical vulnerability.  The threat model was constructed using three common attack vectors: installation attack (malicious codes installed through app download); dynamic code loading (an existing app downloads new malicious codes); and injection (an attacker injects malicious code...
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Participating in Legitimate Surveys- What Personal Data is OK to Give Away

Companies of all sizes use online surveys to gather important market research, which they later utilize to direct product development and marketing initiatives. This critical step in the marketing process is appealing to some online users because they get paid to complete surveys, and earn rewards or special discounts from popular brands. Some surveys aren’t paid at all, offering consumers little more than the opportunity to participate in the development process of a product or service. There’s been a lot of hype about people allegedly making a living off of these online surveys, causing...
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How to Remove GPS and Other Metadata Locations From Photos

Once upon a time, a photograph provided only the information one could see in the physical print—no hidden data about locations, time and date, or the device that took the photo.  With the advent of easy digital photography, however, connecting extra information to the photos became easy as well.  This information, known as “metadata,” might include items like the GPS coordinates of the photo’s location, the date and time it was taken, the camera type and shutter settings, and the software used to edit the photo. Many digital photographers don’t realize that their photos might carry this...
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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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What Personal Information Should You Safeguard?

Some 10 million identity thefts happen in the United States every year. Taking extra steps to protect your personal information—and knowing what information you need to safeguard—is the best way to prevent identity theft from happening to you. Let’s review this information to help you protect yourself as much as possible: Low Sensitivity Among the information considered “low risk” in regard to personal information sensitivity is your full name, address, and phone number. Medium Sensitivity Information regarded as “medium” in terms of sensitivity includes your date of birth, place of bi...
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8 Cyber Security Tips for Business Travelers

Whether you’re a regular business traveler, or a high-tech adventurer seeker, traveling—particularly abroad—poses unique cyber security threats. Business travelers are especially vulnerable because they often carry sensitive data, both personal and business related, on a variety of devices including smartphone, laptops, and tablet. Don’t cancel your travel plans just yet. Here are eight cyber security tips for business travelers that are also great tips for anyone planning a holiday abroad: 1. Lock Devices Down Most smartphones, laptops, and tablets come equipped with security settin...
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Data Privacy Day 2016: Ten Ways to Keep Your Data Private

The Internet has blurred the lines between real world and the virtual one. Technology is barreling into our hands through smartphones at an unbelievable pace. While this is good for productivity and progress, it makes it easy for thieves to do their job. The anonymity and location independence that comes with the Internet muddles the moral character of even the most ethical person. One can’t assume your phone and the information it stores is safe from the malicious intentions of the human mind. Data Privacy Day (DPD), is an international effort held annually on January 28 in order to hel...
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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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Your Identity Is Connected to All of Your Devices. Here's How to Protect It.

You don’t have to be a super geek to protect yourself from cyber criminals and hackers. Sure they might know more about computers and software than you do. However, there are basic defenses available to help you stand up against even the most sophisticated online threats. Today, most of us have multiple devices to access the Internet. All of these devices create a latticework of information that links to you personally. If one device is unprotected, it could be compromised in a way that affects all the others. That’s because most of us use different devices to access many of the same pers...
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Credit Monitoring Services and Other Anti-Fraud Protection

Identity theft is the most common complaint lodged with the Federal Trade Commission, to the tune of 11.7 million a year. That means roughly one-in-five Americans over the age of 16 have become victims of identity theft. 14 percent of those victims experienced a monetary loss of $1 or more. Half of all victims resolved the issue within a day, but nearly one-third (29 percent) had to spend a month or more getting their life back on track. While identity theft gets a lot of the press, there are other forms of fraud out there, both on the Internet and off. The good news is that there are a my...
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6 Tips To Maintain Your Privacy While Searching For Jobs Online

Looking for employment today is dramatically different from how it was just two decades ago. It’s rare to just walk into a business, fill out an application, and get hired within the same day; today’s job hunt often begins and ends online.

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Ransomware And The Importance Of Backing Up

Ransomware has a unique and specific agenda, and one that can be entirely avoided if properly understood.

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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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What Is Malvertising?

Malvertising is a shortened term for malicious advertising, and is defined as using online advertising to spread malware. Malvertising requires placing malware-laden advertisements on legitimate web pages and through authentic online advertising networks in order to infect a web browser and device. Often, it’s very difficult to distinguish between legitimate and malicious online ads.

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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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Apple’s iOS 9 Shines The Spotlight On Security

It’s another year and another shiny new iOS for all to enjoy! Apple hits the mark on all the usual exciting, fun enhancements such as a more intelligent Siri, and those new Emojis we’ve all been waiting for. However, after a few privacy mishaps last year, such as the iCloud photo breach, an iCloud password vulnerability, and the more recent keyraider malware, Apple took notice and significantly upped their security game. Private Means Private! iOS 9 will not tie any usage data to an Apple ID or any other Apple service. The data is now completely anonymized, and Apple states that they w...
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Data Breaches Aren't Going Away- What You Need To Know

It may seem like stories of massive data breaches are popping up in the news on a weekly basis these days. Unfortunately, this is not surprising. As technology progresses, all of our information moves to the digital world, and, as a result, cyber attacks are becoming the new wave of crime. Corporations and even small businesses are extremely attractive targets to cybercriminals, simply due to the large payday of data that can be nabbed in one fell swoop. What is a data breach and how and why do they happen? The main reason that cybercriminals are stealing personal information is for us...
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Data Privacy and Ridesharing Apps

In busy towns and congested cities, ridesharing apps are quickly becoming all the rage. They’re a new and interesting marriage of technology and commuting that helps us keep up with this “always on” lifestyle. However, they’re also kicking up quite the controversy over how companies handle our real-time location data and overall privacy. What is ridesharing? Uncommonly referred to as “real-time ridesharing,” these new mobile apps are taking the local markets by storm. They allow a user to request an almost instant ride to wherever they need to go with just the push of a button.  In a...
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What to Do in the Event of a Major Data Breach

Stories of massive corporate data breaches in the media are becoming all too common today. So common that the FBI now considers cyber attacks on US companies one of its top law enforcement priorities. Unfortunately, as technology progresses and all of our information becomes more and more digitized, cyber attacks will continue to be an unfortunate part of our lives in the future. Corporations and even smaller businesses are an extremely attractive target to cybercriminals, simply due to the large payday of data that can be stolen.  What Can Cybercriminals Do With My Stolen Data? The main...
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Data Privacy Day 2015

What is Data Privacy Day? Launched January 28th 2008 as an extension of Europe’s Data Protection Day celebration, Data Privacy Day (DpD) aims to empower and educate consumers and businesses about the importance of data privacy and the affect of their digital footprint. DpD is a series of events online and offline intended to bring awareness of the importance of privacy and how to protect it. Why is Privacy Important? There are many reasons why maintaining your privacy online is important. Protecting your privacy helps impede the theft of financial information and identities. Howeve...
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