Spring has finally sprung, and it’s that time of year where a lot of us clean, organize, and simplify our lives. What a lot of people don’t realize is the importance of applying those principles to our digital data as well. We collect, organize and store the things in our lives that are important to us (just ask anyone with a garage).Many of those things packed away in those special storage spaces would be devastating to lose..
But have you ever thought that way about what is on your tablets, computers and mobile phones? Right now, most folks have hundreds of phot...
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...
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.
The holidays are just around the corner, and that means many of us will be making purchases online to avoid large crowds and busy mall traffic, especially during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
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.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
Mention “cookies,” and most people expect a treat to appear. When talking about computers, however, cookies aren’t what’s on the dessert menu. In fact, they’re not even physical objects. Yet they do a great deal of the work that makes it possible for you to browse the Internet—and they can cause trouble if you don’t know how to manage them.
Meet the Cookie
A computer “cookie” is more formally known as an HTTP cookie, a web cookie, an Internet cookie, or a browser cookie. The name is a shorter version of “magic cookie,” which is a term for a packet of data that a computer receives, then s...
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...
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...
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:
Among the information considered “low risk” in regard to personal information sensitivity is your full name, address, and phone number.
Information regarded as “medium” in terms of sensitivity includes your date of birth, place of bi...
Biometrics are part of the cutting edge of technology. Put simply, biometrics are any metrics related to human features. Fingerprinting is a very early and simple version of biometrics, like when you login to your phone using your fingerprint. As with any emerging technology, the first question you should ask is if they are safe.
How Do Biometrics Work?
If you’ve ever put your fingerprint into an device, you have a vague idea of how biometrics work. Basically, you record your biometric information, in this case a fingerprint. The information is then stored, to be accessed later for compa...
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...
There are few times your smartphone or tablet will be more at risk than when you go on vacation. Although these items have been specifically designed to accompany you on your travels, they’re full of personal information that can put you, your finances, and your personal property at risk.
There’s no reason to assume the worst when you go on vacation, but you can greatly reduce your chances of a security breach by preparing your smartphone or tablet ahead of time and remaining vigilant while on your trip. Here’s how to prepare a smartphone or tablet before you go on vacation.
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,...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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:
The malware coders are, unfortunately, generally the winners of the arms race. They write mali...
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”...
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...
You’re probably familiar with 3G, 4G, and Wi-Fi hotspots. In today’s increasingly connected mobile world, there are a variety of ways to get and stay connected to the Internet, but what’s really the safest way?
Truth be told, nothing is 100% safe. However, there are ways that you can beef up your own security to get as close to that 100% as possible. It begins with understanding what these technologies are, and the risks that come along with them.
How Do Mobile Devices Connect to the Internet?
Let’s break down the three different ways your mobile device can connect to the Internet, and...
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.
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...
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...
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...