The worst data-breaches that defined 2015

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We wrapped up 2014 thinking that we had put behind a record year in cyber-attacks and data-breaches, something that wasn’t likely to be repeated for some time to come. But 2015 proved us wrong, and came through with a new slew of hacks that dwarfed 2014 both in size and severity. Furthermore, the targeted audience of hack attacks grew vaster, with cheaters, children, and even hackers themselves joining the ranks of victims.

Here are some of the worst hacks we saw in 2015. Let’s hope for a safer year in 2016. Continue reading

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5 necessary IoT precautions for Christmas

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Ok, this might be a bit of a late warning, but as the saying goes, “It’s better late than never.” 2016 is slated to be a record-breaking year in electronic device shopping, and it starts right here, in the Christmas holiday season. A big chunk of those devices will be IoT, internet-connected devices. An October report by Consumer Electronics Association places the amount of Christmas spending on tech at $34.2 billion. Online Trust Alliance estimates that more than 50 million connected devices will enter consumers’ homes over the holidays this year.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts (here and here), the IoT industry is full of security holes, inherent from the fact that it’s a fledgling technology that is still going through its early steps and “gold rush” era: Vendors are in a rush to ship out new devices (which is not a bad thing per se); consumers are in a rush to fill their houses with those devices (not a bad thing either); and malicious hackers are in a rush to exploit those devices and carry out their evil deeds (definitely a bad thing).

As Christmas fills your houses with cool new IoT devices, here are a few precautions to take before and after you buy new IoT devices this year. Special thanks to Ericka Chickowski for her Dark Reading article and the OTA for their smart device security checklist. Continue reading

What we can learn from major healthcare data breaches in 2015

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There’s no doubt that 2015 was a record breaker in data breach attacks. Of all the industries and sectors affected by the attacks, healthcare was perhaps the most severely hit. Some 15 major attacks have been documented so far, and not a month goes by without reports of another healthcare organization being compromised by hackers, resulting in the theft of personal information of millions of patients, employees, and health-related service providers.

With 2015 coming to a close, we’d be wise to take a closer look at what caused the attacks, the damages made, and how we can move forward to stem the flow of attacks and heighten security next year. Continue reading

Why you need to worry about your smart-home’s security?

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No one will argue that the Internet of Things (IoT) is the buzzword in today’s internet-driven world. From connected light bulbs to smart fridges and coffee machines, the IoT phenomenon is promising to change our lives in ways that weren’t imaginable a few years back.

But in tandem with becoming smarter, our homes are also becoming less secure, and the billions of devices that are being added to our hyper-connected world every year are creating countless new possibilities and attack vectors for hackers with malicious intents.

As the IoT continues it chaotic growth, is becoming more critical than ever. Hacked baby monitors, cars that are shut down remotely, and televisions that spy on you are just some of the stories that might give you the creeps and make you lose your trust in your own dishwashing machine and other home appliances. Continue reading

Cyber security 101: simple measures everyone should adopt

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As more and more aspects of our lives become connected, we become more vulnerable to attacks. The latest data-breach at VTech toy store taught us that even our children are exposed to the vile deeds of malicious hackers.

But despite the spooky and high-tech stories you hear about the sophisticated methods employed by hackers, in most cases, it is simple negligence and overlook that allows them to carry out their attacks. A 2014 report from IBM states that 95 percent of IT security breaches result from human errors. For instance, despite all these warnings you see on sites about creating strong passwords, you’d be surprised to learn that “12345” and “password” remain the two most common passwords on the internet.

It is time to give up the naïve way of thinking that security breaches are always for big corporations and high profile figures. Any one of us can become a target. And we must learn the basics to protect ourselves.

In this blog post, I’ll reiterate a few simple rules that everyone should learn and abide by – even children. Continue reading