Tag Archives: bad behavior

Public Wi-Fi: Popular, But Not Secure

20 Oct

Have you ever used free public Wi-Fi at the airport, Starbucks, Panera Bread, or other unsecured venues?  Is it safe from hacking, identity theft, and other invasions of privacy? No!! So, why do we use it?

According to Ian Barker, writing for Beta News:

“There’s an expectation that public Wi-Fi will be available pretty much everywhere we go these days. We access it almost without thinking about it, yet public networks rarely encrypt data leaving users vulnerable.”

“A new survey of more than 2,000 business users by networking company Xirrus finds that while 91 percent of respondents don’t believe public Wi-Fi is secure, 89 percent use it anyway. The report shows that 48 percent of Wi-Fi users connect to public Wi-Fi at least three times per week and 31 percent connect to public Wi-Fi every day.”

“When on public Wi-Fi, 83 percent of users access their E-mail, whether it’s for work or personal reasons, and 43 percent access work-specific information. ‘Today, the convenience of using public Wi-Fi, for a variety of work and recreational uses, supersedes security, which puts both individuals and businesses at risk. Most businesses do not offer secure connectivity options for customers and guests.’ says Shane Buckley, CEO of Xirrus.”


Take a look at the following infographic. Still think it’s a good idea to access private information via public Wi-Fi?


Your Text Messages ARE Being Spammed

13 Oct

If you are under the impression that spamming is confined to the Web and E-mail, you are wrong. Very wrong! According to recent research, text spamming is now a big problem. So, we all need to be more careful with our cell phones and one way to do so is to use stronger passwords and turn off your location tracker.

As eMarketer reports:

“Spam messages coming from SMS and messaging apps are becoming more widespread. Indeed, more than half of text message users worldwide receive an unsolicited message via SMS at least once a week, and more than a quarter say they’re spammed every day. Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF), a global trade body that addresses issues facing the mobile industry, and CLX Communications, a provider of cloud-based communication solutions for enterprises and mobile operates, surveyed 5,850 mobile media users in Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Nigeria, South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S. Most are being spammed frequently. In addition to the 28% of SMS users who are receiving unsolicited messages via SMS every day, 26% of mobile messaging app users are getting spam on their over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps just as frequently.”

Click the image to learn more.


Avoid Risky Password Behavior

5 Oct

Do you have only one password for all accounts? Do you use only lower-case letters in your passwords? Do you enter your password when the URL begins with http (rather than https)? If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you are leaving yourself wide open to identity theft and the hacking of your personal information.

For years, we’ve been writing about password safety–including providing many tips. [See, for example: 1, 2, 3, 4.] Today, let us consider WHY you might still exhibiting risky password behavior.

Recently, Help Net Security described “The Psychological Reasons Behind Risky Password Practices.” Here are a few of the conclusions:



“When it comes to online security, personality type does not inform behavior, but it does reveal how consumers rationalize poor password habits. Among key findings around personality types and online behavior, nearly half of respondents who identify as a Type A personality did not believe that they are at an increased risk by reusing passwords because of their own proactive efforts, which implies their behavior stems from their need to be in control.”

“In contrast, more than half of respondents who identify as a Type B personality believe they need to limit their online accounts and activities due to fear of a password breach. By convincing themselves that their accounts are of little value to hackers, they are able to maintain their casual, laid-back attitude towards password security. This suggests that while personality types didn’t factor into the end result of poor password habits, it does provide insight around why people behave this way.”



“’Developing poor password habits is a universal problem affecting users of any age, gender, or personality type,’ says Joe Siegrist, VP and GM of LastPass. ‘Most users admit to understanding the risks but continue to repeat the behavior despite knowing they’re leaving sensitive information vulnerable to potential hackers. In order to establish more effective defenses, we need to better understand why individuals act a certain way online and a system that makes it easier for the average user to better manage their password behavior.”


Great Video Brand Examples on Instagram

21 Sep

Instagram now has 500 million active users, and it is rapid pulling away from Twitter (whose user base has been rather stagnant). Instagram’s popularity has not gone unnoticed by brand marketers who have been posting pictures and videos in great numbers.

Recently, HubSpot wrote about some of the best video examples of brands using Instagram. According to  Lindsay Kolowich:

Remember when Instagram first started allowing users to post videos back in 2013? The first Instagram videos had to be recorded on your phone and could only be up to 15 seconds long. Those were the days that people compared Instagram video to its Twitter-owned counterpart, Vine. Instagram’s come a long way since then, and it’s blown Vine out of the water. Like most of the other popular social networks, the folks at Instagram have made changes to its platform that make it easier for people to post and share videos.”

“In late March 2016, Instagram announced it would start rolling out the ability for Instagram users to upload 60-second videos. For iOS users, it added that users would soon be able to make videos out of multiple clips from their camera rolls. Thanks to these changes, marketers can use the Instagram app to relate with their fans and customers, to communicate their business’ personalities and brand stories, and to express artistic creativity.”

Here are a few of the 17 brands cited by HubSpot. Click on their names to access their Instagram pages. The posts with video have a video camera in the upper right corner:


Ransomware: Even Worse Than the Name Implies

30 Aug

The term “ransom” has been around for hundreds of years and is best described as a way to redeem someone from captivity, bondage, detention, etc., by paying a demanded price.

Today, we have another destructive variation of the word ransom — that is “ransomware.” What is it and what can we do about it?

TechRepublic recently produced Ransomware: The Smart Person’s Guide, written by James Sanders. This is an executive summary quoted from the guide:

  • What is it? Ransomware is malware. The hackers demand payment, often via Bitcoin or prepaid credit card, from victims in order to regain access to an infected device and the data stored on it.
  • Why does it matter? Because of the ease of deploying ransomware, criminal organizations are increasingly relying on such attacks to generate profits.
  • Who does this affect? While home users have traditionally been the targets, healthcare and the public sector have been targeted with increasing frequency. Enterprises are more likely to have deep pockets from which to extract a ransom.
  • When is this happening? Ransomware has been an active and ongoing threat since September 2013.
  • How do I protect myself from a ransomware attack? A variety of tools developed in collaboration with law enforcement and security firms are available to decrypt your computer.

Sanders adds: “For those who have been infected, the No More Ransom project — a collaboration between Europol, the Dutch National Police, Kaspersky Lab, and Intel Security — provides decryption tools for many widespread ransomware types.

Here are a couple of informative infographics by LogRhythm:


Are YOU Doing Enough to Build Your Network?

9 Aug

If you are not heavily involved in professional networking, you are probably doing yourself — and your career — a disservice.

Consider these observations from Lindsay Kolowich, writing for HubSpot:

“When done right, networking is an incredibly valuable investment of every professional’s time and effort. It helps us make meaningful business connections, get feedback, and advance our careers. And best of all, it pays significant dividends over time. So why does it seem so unpleasant sometimes? It can feel fake, it’s exhausting, and frankly, standing alone in a sea of unknown faces with nametags and cheese plates can be utterly painful.”

According to Kolowich, here are common networking mistakes that people make:

  • “You’re waiting to build your network until you need it most.”
  • “You aren’t keeping up your personal brand.”
  • “You’re afraid to attend networking events by yourself.”
  • “You don’t follow up with personal messages.”
  • “You ask the same questions everyone else is asking.”
  • “You dominate networking conversations.”
  • You’re overeager.”
  • You don’t venture outside your existing network.”
  • “You don’t ask for anything, or you ask for too much.”

Click the image to read a lot more.


More Bad News on Our Privacy

9 Jun

As we have noted several times (see, for example, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), the hacking and theft of people’s vital information remains quite rampant around the globe, despite some technological advances.

To show how bad the situation is, consider this recent Russian example reported by Eric Auchaud for Reuters:

“Hundreds of millions of hacked user names and passwords for E-mail accounts and other Web sites are being traded in Russia’s criminal underworld, a security expert told Reuters. The discovery of 272.3 million stolen accounts included a majority of users of Mail.ru, Russia’s most popular E-mail service, and smaller fractions of Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft E-mail users, said Alex Holden, founder and chief information security officer of Hold Security. It is one of the biggest stashes of stolen credentials to be uncovered since cyber attacks hit major U.S. banks and retailers two years ago.”

“The latest discovery came after Hold Security researchers found a young Russian hacker bragging in an online forum that he had collected and was ready to give away a far larger number of stolen credentials that ended up totaling 1.17 billion records. After eliminating duplicates, Holden said, the cache contained nearly 57 million Mail.ru accounts — a big chunk of the 64 million monthly active E-mail users Mail.ru said it had at the end of last year. It also included tens of millions of credentials for the world’s three big E-mail providers, Gmail, Microsoft, and Yahoo, plus hundreds of thousands of accounts at German and Chinese E-mail providers.”

Click the image to access a video clip featuring Auchard.
Reuters TV

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