Doug Bedell — December 18, 2014, 10:53 am

Bio-Metrics Gaining For Computer Security

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With the number of computer security breaches that have been occurring (2,644 in 2012 as an indicator, and that was before Target), enterprises are having to reconsider what makes for secure on-line consumer access. “Conducting business as usual will no longer suffice,” Security magazine advises. “To reassure and retain now-skittish consumers, any entity that engages in e-commerce must employ greater lock-down methods.ID authentication now requires protection that goes beyond ordinary PIN and passwords.”

One such response, the article continues, is biometric-signature authentication. Users sign in by duplicating via hand-writing a “signature” pattern they have already saved in a given system. Another form is a fingerprint, now being used by Apple on its iPhones.

Doug Bedell — December 15, 2014, 12:07 pm

Schneier: Snowden’s Actions Boosted Intrusion Awareness

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Bruce Schneier looks at the impact of Edward Snowden’s leaked National Security Agency documents last year and calculates that 706 million people worldwide have moved to protect their privacy on the Internet in response to Snowden’s revelations.

Whether or not such actions have made any great difference in terms of deterring computer surveillance, Schneier adds, Snowden’s actions nonetheless gave an enormous boost to concerns over Internet privacy.

Doug Bedell — December 10, 2014, 11:28 am

Microsoft, Adobe Issue Important Security Patches

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Time to take time out to strengthen the security of your IT systems. Brian Krebs advises on a host of security updates for Microsoft’s Windows and Adobe’s Acrobat, Reader and Flash Player programs.

“Four of the seven updates from Microsoft earned a ‘critical’ rating,” Krebs advises, “which means the patches on (stet) fix vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malware or attackers to seize control over vulnerable systems without any help from users (save for perhaps visiting a hacked or malicious Web site). One of those critical patches — for Internet Explorer — plugs at least 14 holes in the default Windows browser.” He goes on…

Doug Bedell — December 5, 2014, 4:16 pm

Making Buildings Both Safe and Appealing to View

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In these days of concern about terrorism, how do you make public buildings both safe and appealing to encounter? We’d suggest as one approach, of course, the aesthetic appearance of PRO Barrier’s anti-terrorism vehicle barriers.

But Homeland Security Watch has a post by Justin M. Schumacher that takes a broader look at building aesthetics, on making office buildings themselves both safe and aesthetic. Consider, for example, the new U.S. Embassy in London, currently under construction and pictured with this post.

Doug Bedell — December 3, 2014, 12:17 pm

Smartphones a New Security Frontier

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As if security strategy wasn’t challenging enough, add smartphones to the mix. Yes, smartphones, Josh Sookman writes in a Security blog post, have emerged as “a new platform for physical security.”

“The next wave of security products,” Sookman predicts, “will be driven by the myriad sensors, radios and input/output functionalities of smartphones. Beyond voice calling, today’s smartphones pack super-fast cellular data and WiFi upload/download capabilities with which to stream high quality video and audio streams…”

There’s much more to ponder about pocket-sized security possibilities now that you’ve decided whether or not to top your fences with barbed wire.

Doug Bedell — December 1, 2014, 11:53 am

DHS Security Advisory for the Holiday Shopping Season

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Not only are the weeks before Christmas the year’s biggest shopping span, they’re also “the biggest weeks for online spammers and scammers,” the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warns. So, DHS provides what should by now be a refresher list of what it takes to remain safe from intrusion on the Internet and your computers.

A new one on the DHS list, though, may be “Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots.” Limit the type of business you conduct when using public Wi-Fi networks. Avoid shopping online when using public Wi-Fi as your information can easily be accessed by hackers on a public network.” Cheer up, by staying digitally safe.

Doug Bedell — November 26, 2014, 7:42 am

Great Britain’s Homeland Security Secretary On Edge

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Great Britain’s Homeland Security Secretary Theresa May has some frightful numbers, and a conclusion from them that’s likely pertinent to the U.S. as well. “When the security and intelligence agencies tell us that the threat we face is now more dangerous than at any time before or since 9/11 we should take notice,” Secretary May said recently, as reported on In Homeland Security.

“May reported,” the post advises, “that since April 2010, some 753 people were arrested (in Britain) for terror-related offenses and – of those individuals – 148 were subsequently convicted. Earlier this year, Britain’s terror threat level increased from “substantial” to “severe” in light of deadly conflicts in Syria and Iraq.”

Doug Bedell — November 24, 2014, 4:28 pm

Who Will Be Computer Security’s Ralph Nader?

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Auto manufacturers, notes Tsion Gonen on Information Week’s Dark Reading blog, began paying attention to safety after Ralph Nader appeared on the scene. Now there’s an “epidemic” of computer data breaches going on. Who, Gonen wonders, will be cyber security’s Ralph Nader?

“Despite today’s fire-and-brimstone headlines about data breaches,” Gonen writes, “the problem with cyber security is that nobody is feeling the pain of the problem.” But there are reasons, he continues, why we should be paying attention…

Doug Bedell — November 19, 2014, 12:56 pm

Here’s a Worthy Computer Security Infographic

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Infographics can pack a lot of information into a visually enticing package that encourages reading and comprehension. So it is with the critically important matter of computer security.

StaySafeOnline.org, powered by the National Cyber Security Alliance, offers an infographic, “Our Nation’s Critical Infrastructure is Fueled By the Internet,” that provides a handful of tips on securing computers made visually compelling. A handy introduction to a valuable website in security terms.

Doug Bedell — November 17, 2014, 12:25 pm

Cyber Security Best Practices – Practice Them

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We all have, or should have, concerns about keeping our computer systems safe and secure. But how to do that reliably is pretty challenging.

Here’s what amounts to an introduction to computer security on Information Week’s Dark Reading blog: “Why Cyber Security Starts at Home,” by Corey Nachreiner. He advises to: Patch regularly, use and update antivirus software and “think before you click.”

Good guidance.