We need to rethink how we store our personal data

The data breach at credit reporting agency Equifax, the gory details of which became clear last week, is the latest installment in a series of cybersecurity disasters in which consumers have been at the receiving end of the miseries. The breached data affected the information of 143 million people. That’s not a big number when compared to some of the bigger data breaches of the past year, such as Yahoo’s 1 billion user account record breaker.

However, what made the Equifax breach especially damaging was the sensitivity of the data that attackers laid their hands on. This included Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, credit card information, birthdates and addresses, and more. The only data breaches that compared in terms of severity were Anthem (approx. 80 million people affected) and the Office of Personnel Management (approx. 21 million people affected).

What makes matters worse is that Equifax professes to be a company that protects its customers from identity theft, the same kind of cyberattack that the stolen data will enable. The company is now scrambling to make amends with customers, and is getting ready to face several lawsuits. But that won’t bring back the data that has slipped through its fingers. Continue reading

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5 tips to keep your customers’ data safe

By Lisa Michaels

After many large businesses around the world became involved in data breach scandals, many other businesses of all sizes have begun paying more attention to data security and protection.

No matter what kind of business you run, protecting customer data is crucial to maintain your brand’s reputation and your bottom line. In some industries, businesses who fail to take proper measures to secure confidential information may expose themselves to fines and other penalties from regulatory authorities.

In order to prevent data leaks that carry huge financial costs and could have a huge negative impact on your reputation, you need to apply the following security tips. Continue reading

Public Wi-Fi—To Browse or Not To Browse: We’ll Answer the Question

By Karen Mesoznik, SaferVPN

What You Should Know About Public Wi-Fi

Usually when you’re preparing for an upcoming trip, your mind runs through the usual concerns and questions: “What vaccinations do I need?” “Is my passport up-to-date?” “What do I need to keep my cash and cards safe?” But if there’s one more travel habit you should have, or precaution you should take, it’s staying safe over public Wi-Fi.

Today, public Wi-Fi at airports, hotels and cafes, is a lot like water at a restaurant – it’s an expectation, not a gift, a commodity, not a luxury. But what if the restaurant you went to poured you a glass of unclean water? Water that ended up making you very, very sick?

Think of unsecured public Wi-Fi as tainted water waiting to pollute your personal data, internet privacy and online identity. Continue reading

Why don’t more businesses encrypt their emails?

Businesses rarely encrypt their email messages because good encryption is too hard to use.  That’s changing.

By Randy Battat, PreVeil

Most business-to-business communication involves sensitive information – stuff that the parties really don’t want others to know about. Whether it’s contracts, customer communications, supplier information, dialog with consultants and contractors, or other things, there’s a lot of sensitive information that travels via plain old email.

These emails really should be protected, i.e. encrypted. But the vast majority of B2B communication remains unencrypted, despite wide availability of very good technology and tools. Why? Continue reading

What is phishing and spear phishing?

One of the most basic practices every cybersecurity guide will recommend is not to click on links and attachments contained in emails coming from unknown sources, and to think twice even if they come from seemingly trustworthy sources.

You think it’s unnecessary caution? Ask John Podesta, chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential elections campaign. This is exactly how he (or the operator of his email account) gave away his accounts credentials to hackers. The breach led to a series of damaging and embarrassing leaks which might have cost his boss her chance of becoming president. Continue reading