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Data Security

The latest on data breaches and cybersecurity and data security by Adam K Levin.


  • Facebook “Most Used Words” App as Privacy LessonColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    If you have an account on Facebook, you may have noticed posts featuring a nicely designed cloud comprised of the words that your Facebook friends use most often. It’s powered by an app from a company called Vonvon, and it’s been getting a lot of attention this week from consumer privacy experts. The reason this app has privacy hawks screeching is simple. It grabs an enormous amount of personally identifiable information and private details about […]

  • How to Keep Your Smart Devices From Exposing Your DataColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    In 2015, somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices will be purchased, an increase of 60% over the previous year. There will be 10 billion IoT devices connected to the Internet this year. A couple of years ago, a survey found that three out of four Americans had no clue that there was such an animal as the Internet of Things, and many likely still don’t know (until you tell […]

  • 6 Cybersecurity Best Practices for Companies Looking to Protect Their DataData Security, Blog, Technology

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    In my forthcoming book, Swiped, partially excerpted below, I examine some of the enterprise level, cybersecurity best practices. These are the questions organizations need to ask themselves if they want to protect the data they are sitting on. Some of the considerations: Does the organization use a standards-based security architecture that is integrated into all technology processes? In plain language, sending personal information via attachment on an email is a “technology process.” This would include […]

  • What Hackers Want More Than Your Credit Card NumberData Security, Identity Theft

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    Account takeover fraud — which occurs when a cybercriminal gains unauthorized access to an online account — is growing rapidly, a new analysis by a major Canadian cybersecurity company shows. Vancouver, British Columbia-based NuData Security, which predicts and prevents online fraud, analyzed more than 15.7 million login interactions from May through June and identified 882,340 as high risk or potential account takeover attempts. “Account takeover is the new credit card fraud,” says Ryan Wilk, the […]

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    Life After Ashley Madison: How to Operate in a World Without SecretsData Security, Technology

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    The other cufflink fell on the Ashley Madison hack Tuesday. According to Wired, 9.7 gigabytes of Ashley Madison data were dumped on the dark web, and the collection appears to “include account details and log-ins for some 32 million users.” Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. According to the Wired article, the hackers left a note with the quarry of ill-gotten files of marital listlessness: “Avid Life Media has failed to take down […]

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    Ashley Madison Breach Marks the Rise of ‘Data Kidnapping’Data Security, Identity Theft

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    Some secrets are more valuable than others. And some secrets are more valuable TO others. In perhaps the most predictable extortion hack ever, cheating website Ashley Madison has confirmed to Brian Krebs that some of its data has been stolen. It now appears that tens of millions of people are at risk of being exposed. As you’ve already deduced, Ashley Madison users are not really all that worried about having the credit card numbers stolen and used for […]

  • The Real Question We Should Be Asking After the Massive Government HackColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    True or False? There was no way the Office of Personnel Management could have prevented hackers from stealing the sensitive personal information of 4.1 million federal employees, past and present. If you guessed “False,” you’d be wrong. If you guessed, “True,” you’d also be wrong. The correct response is: “Ask a different question.” Serious data breaches keep happening because there is no black-and-white answer to the data breach quagmire. So what should we be doing? […]

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    The Three Laws of Cyber Fraud in Today’s Online WorldData Security, Technology

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    One of the most popular sessions at the RSA Conference was the Cryptographers’ Panel, during which some of the founding fathers of modern cryptography discussed trends in research and cybersecurity in general. This year the panel consisted of Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, Whit Diffie and Ed Georgio (former chief codemaker and chief codebreaker at NSA). During the session Shamir referred to his three laws of computer security, which he formulated many years ago: Absolutely secure systems do not exist. To halve your […]

  • Wetware: The Major Data Security Threat You’ve Never Heard OfColumn, Data Security, Blog

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    For the first time, according to a recent study, criminal and state-sponsored hacks have surpassed human error as the leading cause of health care data breaches, and it could be costing the industry as much as $6 billion. With an average organization cost of $2.1 million per breach, the results of the study give rise to a question: How do you define human error? More than half of the respondents in the Ponemon Institute’s Fifth […]

  • Cloud-based backups can leave taxes, other private data exposedFinancial Literacy, Data Security

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    It’s great that more folks are backing up their files using cloud-based services like Dropbox. While hackers and virus writers get all the headlines, I think hardware failure is really the biggest risk most consumers face. Cloud services have become such a part of the way we live, however, that we’ve gotten a little too casual about it.  That’s how tax returns end up lying around in public places for all to see. You’ve set […]

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