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Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Want To Revoke My "Do Not Resuscitate" Directive

This past week, I learned about the other side of "Do Not Resuscitate" directives.

The Background

An elderly relative of mine is 81 years old and not in good health.  Her bad health seems unfair because although she smoked when she was younger, she has always watched what she ate, was a very active and talented athlete and had (and still has) a positive outlook on life.  She's had some close encounters with death in the past few years, but 2016 has been particularly tough.  The main artery to her digestive system was blocked and when she ate, she often had very severe pains in her abdomen.  She had to be hospitalized.

Even with all the medication at the hospital, things got bad enough that she decided she could not live with the pain and agreed to angioplasty in her superior mesenteric artery.  Full anesthesia was not an option given her other medical conditions, so she opted for a local and twilight. Even with that precaution, she was aware that she might not survive the surgery.  But she wasn't ready to give up just yet.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Two Ways Tax Scammers Might Target You

It’s that time of year — tax time. It’s also a great time to get up to speed on tax-related scams. Here are two ways tax scammers might target you and what you can do about it:

The following information is provided by the IRS.gov website in an effort to get the word out regarding tax identity theft which is drastically increasing every year. 

Tax identity theft

This kind of identity theft happens when someone files a fake tax return using your personal information — like your Social Security number — to get a tax refund. Tax identity theft also happens when someone uses your Social Security number to get a job. You find out about it when you get a letter from the IRS saying:

·      more than one tax return was filed in your name, or
·      IRS records show wages from an employer you don’t know

If you get a letter like this, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490. You can find more about tax identity theft at ftc.gov/taxidtheft and irs.gov/identitytheft.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Worst Passwords for 2015

SplashData just released its annual list of the most popular passwords of  2015. They took a look at the more than 2 million passwords that were leaked last year and analyzed the most commonly leaked passwords and those that were least secure. If you're curious to see if your password(s) made the list check out the list here: worst passwords for 2015.  

It appears that folks still are not using good passwords.  The most common
are still "123456" and "password". (Anyone want to admit they are in this group?) The report shows how common choices for passwords remain consistently risky. And if that were not bad enough, there is a high number of repeat userid and passwords for multiple sites.  

Friday, January 15, 2016

I Still Have A Dream

Monday January 18th is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Wikipedia describes Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as an American Baptist minister, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. 

We celebrate this day in memory of his efforts for freedom and equal rights for all people. In his now famous speech "I have a dream"  Dr. King spoke of Abraham Lincoln, the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Declaration of Independence.  He follows that with a list of his dreams, dreams for equality, brotherhood and freedom.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cyberterrorism - You Are A Soft Target

Last month, it was reported that an Iranian hactavist group, SOBH Cyber Jihad, accessed the controls of a dam in upstate New York in 2013.

This cyber attack was supposedly in response to the "Stuxnet" virus used by the US and the Israelis to destroy the Iranian centrifuges that enrich uranium.  This Cyber Jihad attack was a shot across the bow, announcing that anyone, not just US or Israeli computer experts, can play this game.

This Is Serious

Cyber warfare is real and is being waged every day.  It's serious.  And it's not just government facilities that are being attacked.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

A Call of Digital Duty: Key Questions and Actions for Securing Your Own Files

Have you ever wondered about the value of a single document or digital asset to your work, your livelihood or even life? Maybe the file contains a contract or evidence to support a claim, a deed or last will and testament, an insurance policy, years of research, or a business plan. Perhaps interview notes from anonymous sources for an investigative article. Is the file worth protecting? Is it worth keeping confidential?

Stop Taking Security for Granted Because of Tech Convenience 
The marvels of technology make nearly every digital action we take more convenient. Yet, when it comes to security, “easier” can often mean lazier and an open door for attacks that could threaten your business. The same level of effort that went into creating your document or digital asset should also apply to how files are protected when they are stored, accessed and shared. And it’s not only a technical job. Time spent training users, changing behavior or bad habits, managing the process and monitoring compliance can fall on your shoulders.

A few years ago, TechRepublic ran a great article called “Chasing the elusive approval for an IT-security budget.” The piece talked about inherent and residual risks and how IT managers can make a business case to help non-tech management understand associated costs. The article also shed light on: “When is the cost of reducing risk more than the cost of having the risk occur?”

That reminds us about how digital risks, consequences and occurrences apply not only to enterprise IT but also more granularly to files and to every file creator or collaborator. While tech security is vast and complex, the answer regarding costs for reducing risk at the file level should never exceed costs of having the risk occur. Part of the solution is finding a security-equipped application to protect your files. And some of those costs equate to seeing how that application can complement work flow and get used regularly.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Here's To The Rejects!

Driving on country roads in northern Illinois a couple of weeks ago, my wife remarked, as we passed the sparsely-placed farm houses, how lonely it must have been, many years ago, with no phones and no internet.

The area had been settled about 175 years ago and here we were, wondering what would compel someone to move to such a remote location to make a living.  The short answer, for probably most of them, was, "They had no choice."

Building a better world

For the most part, the United States was settled by people who were rejected by the their home
country.  Many were rejected because of the religion they practiced.  Others were rejected when they tried to get a job that paid enough to feed and shelter themselves or their families.  Still others, migrating from the eastern seaboard, saw the good land and jobs gobbled up by the wealthy and well-connected.  So, they were rejects.