Epsilon Breach

Newspapers across the country are reporting Epsilon, a mass marketing firm has been attacked by hackers.  Early forensic reports indicate only individuals’ email addresses were compromised.  However the list of company accounts compromised includes Best Buy, Tivo, Walgreens, Capital One, Citi, JPMorgan Chase and US Bank.  Most customers will likely not see any consequences.  But potential risks do exist and there’s a couple things everyday users can do to protect themselves.

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Check your Zip Files. Brian.

Not a security issue today, but I’m calling my co-worker out on this one.  Whenever you make a zip file, always verify you can UNZIP it before sending it off.  Especially if it’s a very large mission critical zip file.* Continue reading

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“Facebook” Virus

As I look out at the eastward moving scenery, on my way to clean a conficker.B worm off a customer’s system, it seems only fitting to recount a nasty little run in I had with a “Facebook” virus at a dinner party.  Conversation flowed over thinly sliced pork chops with a delicious caper sauce, salad and challah.  (Pork chops and challah??  That’s a meal I’ll never see twice!)  I was telling my hosts and their roommate about my IT job when Katie, whom I’d just met, dropped the usual line with the usual pleading look.  “Say, do you think you could take a look at my computer?  I’ve been having a problem with my Facebook account.”

Dan watched me closely across the table.  He’s bribed me with food and drink on many occasions to fix his computer, iPod, TV whatever.  So as I leaned back and said “Sure,” he well knew my patient smile and tone of voice conveyed the sentiment, “I’ve looked at dozens of computer problems today.  But I guess I can look at one more.”  Maybe I don’t have the backbone Dilbert has to say no.  Maybe I’m just a softie for a damsel in distress. Continue reading

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Review: Google’s Heavy Duty Token Security

Recently, I got a notice from Google that I could start using their two step authentication to add extra security to my email account.  As far as I know, no one’s out to get me, but I’m always a fan of extra security if it’s easily used and well implemented.

Google is famous for trying new takes on old things and deploying beta software early and often.  This two step authentication is not a beta.  Email and other digital services have become essential to everyday life for many.  And Google clearly took great care implementing this new security feature.  The app Google Authenticator has been available for months on the iTunes Store but with no apparent use for non-Googlers.

Two step authentication for the masses is never going to be perfect.  But all said and done, Google gets this one more right than wrong.   Continue reading

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Probably Just a Coincidence… Right?

Minding my own business is a pain in the neck sometimes.  Five days ago, I got an email from Expedia.  This practice is not unusual because travel agencies, banks and retail outlets often send you email promotions without your consent, hoping you’ll never opt out.  But the part that made it unusual was that I’ve never used Expedia and apparently they had me down for four tickets to Spain.

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