Mike Foster's IT Security & Best Practices Blog

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Credit Monitoring is Not Enough – You Must Place Credit Freezes to Protect Yourself

Regarding the Equifax breach, the breach affects about half of America’s population, so take action. Experts agree that one of the best things you can do to protect yourself is to place a credit freeze on your credit reports. Continue reading ‘Credit Monitoring is Not Enough – You Must Place Credit Freezes to Protect Yourself’


What You Need to Do to Protect Yourself after the Equifax Breach

You may be one of the 143 million people affected by the Equifax hacking breach that was announced yesterday.

Data stolen may include contact information, dates of birth, driver’s license information, and Social Security numbers. Attackers can make money selling the information to people who could steal your identity and take out loans in your name.

Place a credit freeze on your credit report. To do so, contact all four: Experian, Innovis, Trans Union, and, you guessed it, Equifax. In total, you’ll spend less than $75 to place the freeze.

A credit freeze stops people for gaining access to your credit report. It is difficult for an imposter to borrow money if a lender cannot check a credit report first.

Remember, credit monitoring, though good, sometimes only catches bad things when it is too late.

A security freeze is more effective, and lasts longer, than a fraud alert.

Additionally, watch out for anything odd or abnormal on your bank statements. Download your credit reports every quarter to see what is on them. One way to see your credit reports is to use a service such as annualcreditreport dot com

The FTC gives suggestions about avoiding and handling identity theft at consumer.ftc dot gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

Equifax has set up a website equifaxsecurity2017 dot com for people to see if their information was part of the breach. However, many people have been experiencing problems with that website.

Executives – FYI: Reports say that the attack did not result from social engineering. In other words, nobody clicked a bad link in an email. The attackers got in because an Equifax website was insecure. Have you had someone check the security of your website lately? If your site simply displays static information, you are at a much lower risk than if your site has a place for someone to login and/or look up information via your site.

Reports say that the breach may have happened as early as May, and Equifax discovered the breach on July 29. The time between when attackers compromise a system, and when it is discovered, is called dwell time. The best thing to do is to stop hackers from getting in to begin with. Keep security a top priority at your organization! The attackers are counting on you to overlook important steps.

Please forward this to anyone you care about…


Make Life Easier – Go Back to Easy Passwords

NIST, the National Institute of Standards and Technology in the US, is releasing new password standards that make passwords so much easier… Continue reading ‘Make Life Easier – Go Back to Easy Passwords’


Moms, Dads, and Friends: Take 7 Steps to Secure Your Students’ Computers

School is starting again and many students need computers. Take these important steps to help make them more secure: Continue reading ‘Moms, Dads, and Friends: Take 7 Steps to Secure Your Students’ Computers’


Hacker Convention Starts Later This Week

Expect to see an increase in interesting news stories about what can be hacked this week. The big hacker convention DEFCON starts this week and lots of new announcements will be made as part of the program. Continue reading ‘Hacker Convention Starts Later This Week’


Fix A Computer in Minutes and It Works Almost Every Time

I was stranded in the Portland airport last night because of a mechanical failure on the first flight. You’ve had similar situations for sure. What would your travel experience be like if the airlines could immediately reset a plane to be brand new if it breaks? Continue reading ‘Fix A Computer in Minutes and It Works Almost Every Time’


Recover Quickly if Ransomware Attacks at Remote Worker and Home Computers

Ransomware is a common problem. If an attacker encrypts all your files and demands that you pay ransom to unlock your files, you will want to be able to recover quickly. Regular backups are not enough. Continue reading ‘Recover Quickly if Ransomware Attacks at Remote Worker and Home Computers’


The UK Is Preparing to Attack Hackers with Army, Navy and Air Force.

The UK is preparing to attack hackers with Army, Navy and Air Force. Continue reading ‘The UK Is Preparing to Attack Hackers with Army, Navy and Air Force.’


Protect Yourself and Your Organization – New Ransomware Outbreak with Added Poison

A new strain of Ransomware, dubbed P e t y a, is gaining momentum infecting companies and home users. Worst of all, in addition to holding files ransom until you pay up, it appears to be infiltrating corporate networks to steal usernames and passwords too. Be sure that you: Continue reading ‘Protect Yourself and Your Organization – New Ransomware Outbreak with Added Poison’