Even Online Mega Companies Don’t Backup!

Even Online Mega Companies Don’t Backup!

Flickr accidentally deleted a photographers account with 5 years of work and 4,000 photos… and they had no backup!

Flickr is an online image hosting website very popular for people to share and embed their photographs online. The service is widely used by bloggers and a variety of social media. Flick was acquired by Yahoo and in September 2010, it was reported to be hosting more than 5 billion images.

Just last month a professional photographer experienced a nightmare. This is what one would clearly call an IT “disaster” to their business. The photographer contacted Flickr when he could not log into his account. They accidentally deleted his account and containing over 5 years of his professional work and 4,000 images!

Quote from Flickr Staff:
“I can restore your account, although we will not be able to retrieve your photos. I know that there is a lot of history on your account – again, please accept my apology for my negligence.”

Flick is apparently working on an “Undo” feature…

And once again you will hear me say… BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP!

Not just at work, but at home as well. How about all those digital pictures everyone takes of their special memories?

These unfortunate circumstances are avoidable. I describe this along with many other Information Technology concerns in my new book.


How Identity Theft Happens

How Identity Theft Happens

Your identity is valuable, and for that very reason, you should protect it. Your personal details are what thieves need to steal your identity. But how do they get it? They use clever ways to steal your information with you none the wiser.

Unlocked mailboxes are an invitation for identity thieves to steal your personal information. It’s so easy for them to take mail sent from your bank or credit card provider and use those details to open an account using your name. Aside from mailboxes, dumpster diving is another way that thieves can access your information after you’ve thrown it out. What’s the solution? Get a locked mailbox and shred all of your mail.

You may or may not have heard of phishing and vishing. Phishing is when thieves send emails from your ‘bank’ asking for your account details and telling you to click on a link. This will then lead you to a fake website where you enter your details. Once you do, the thief has your bank information. Vishing is quite similar to phishing, except thieves call you pretending to be your bank and ask for your personal information.

Thieves, not only want your money, but also your medical and health coverage too. By stealing your wallet or hacking into your hospital’s records, they can access your medical insurance details. They can also steal information by hacking into your database at work, pretending to be a business partner, or stealing disks or files.

Thieves use Spyware that installs itself onto your computer and records your personal information, such as passwords and social security numbers. They also install skimming devices on ATM machines. When you place your card in the machine to access your money, this skimming device records all of your bank account details.

Social networking sites, such as Facebook and MySpace are perfect places for identity thieves to get your information quickly and easily. They simply access information and pretend to be someone they are not. When they have you convinced, they persuade you to give your personal information to them. Thieves can also use your birthdate and last name on a social networking site to access your personal details.

Ensure that you keep your personal information safe and always be aware. Remember that even children are at risk. Because they don’t usually have a bank account until they reach a certain age, you may not find out about the theft for many years. Seniors are also vulnerable as they have more wealth and are more trusting of others. Students are a good target too because of their frequent changes of address, new credit cards, and unforwarded mail.


The Benefits of Data Encryption

The Benefits of Data Encryption

Keeping data secure is the law for many commercial and private organizations. If any sensitive information is stolen or lost, the organization may suffer some serious consequences. There are various types of security methods to consider, but data encryption is, by far, the most effective protection.

Employee and client information is valuable intellectual property that needs to be protected and secure. Your organization depends on it. If this information is stolen or accessed by the wrong person, there is a lot of damage that can be done.

Firewalls and security software do protect important data and keep threats out of your database or system. But there are intruders that can target your information. With data encryption, your information can’t be viewed. It was first used as a military solution, and now, it is used publicly as data encryption is easy to use and very secure.

Data encryption does decrease potential threats and security issues. Ensure that everyone in your organization is aware of your security policies. It allows your organization to keep their documents secure at all times.

Whether your sensitive data is stored on your computer, laptop, removable storage media, or on an email server, data encryption protects your information. If you’re working from home or away from the office, you can access sensitive information securely. If your electronic device is stolen, all of your data will be kept safe.

Always choose a security measure that affects your organization positively. Data encryption should allow your organization to operate smoothly while securing important information inside and outside of the office.

Overall, data encryption offers many benefits and provides solid protection against potential acts of threats or theft. It’s also efficient, easy to use, and affordable. Sensitive information should always be protected by data encryption to ensure the utmost security within your organization.


How to Protect Yourself from Twitter Scams

How to Protect Yourself from Twitter Scams

Tweeting on Twitter is quickly becoming the most popular ‘thing’ to do. Never heard of Twitter? It’s a free Internet service where you can post just about anything you want from what you’re doing now (e.g., “I’m eating macaroni and cheese”) to sharing links to interesting articles. It is also a useful tool for businesses and entrepreneurs. Ensure that your posts are short and sweet as you’re only allowed 140 characters per message. If you do use Twitter, there are some scams that you should be aware of.

Making easy, fast money from home is one Twitter scam. These scams tell you that you can earn money by marketing other people’s products to them. All you need to do is pay a small fee to sign up. Sounds believable, right? Once you sign-up, expect your credit card to be charged $40.00 a month in membership fees. There are real work-at-home jobs, but the scams fail to tell you about the membership fees or they try to hide this vital information. It can also be hard to cancel your membership or get a refund.

The Twitter phishing scam tricks users into sharing their personal information, such as passwords, social security numbers, and birth dates. Scammers set up a link that takes you to a fake Twitter sign-up page where you have to type in your password. Once they have your password, they can access your account and spread more scams quite easily. Avoid sharing your password with anyone and change it frequently.

If you want more followers to follow your tweets, there is a service out there that promises they can make that happen. How? This service identifies Twitter users who follow anyone who is following their tweets and targets users with the same interests as you. This is a Twitter scam. If you purchase this service, you could be held liable for sending Twitter spam and banned from Twitter. Give it time and wait for followers to follow you.

There is a Twitter scam that sends messages attached with a link that sound like they were written by one of your friends or followers. When you click on this link, you are directed to another web page where malware or spyware is installed. Avoid clicking on unfamiliar links and installing applications that you are unaware of.

Twitter performs regular checks when approving applications, but there are scams that attempt to access your information from the Twitter API if you give them permission to do so. Ensure that you avoid granting permission to access your Twitter account. There is an option in your Twitter settings to reject access to certain applications. It’s a good idea to turn this function on to protect yourself from this particular scam.


Protect Your Employees Against Identity Theft

Protect Your Employees Against Identity Theft

Since identity theft has become more and more common, employees are now becoming increasingly aware of the precautions they should take to prevent this serious, prevalent crime. Thousands of Canadians are victims of identity theft each year. How do you protect your employees against it? I’ll tell you how.

Do you have a Human Resources (HR) department within your business? If so, there are probably operating procedures set in place that detail how employee information should be handled. Ensure that all employee files, both active and terminated, are kept safe under lock and key. Also, make sure that only HR has access to the key and employee files as they should be the only ones that need these files.

You should avoid releasing any confidential employee information to anyone except if it’s an employee who requires this information or if an officer of the court issues your business a subpoena. Always ask questions if an employee file is requested to be seen, taken, or copied for any reason.

Does your company have a clean desk rule? If not, ensure that this rule is implemented as soon as possible. Why? It ensures that any employee who works with sensitive information clears their desk of these files and places them under lock and key before they leave the office for the day. Most financial and housing institutions follow this rule.

Social Security or Social Insurance Numbers are mostly used to identify an employee. Since identity theft is on the rise and accessing SIN’s are used to steal identities, employers use number masks. This means that instead of using the actual SIN as in 145-654-002, the numbers XXX-XXX-002 are used to identify the employee. The masking works well when you send information via mail or email.

Ensure that your office has a reliable paper shredder. Once sensitive information is used for work purposes, it should be destroyed using a paper shredder. It will go a long way to protect your employees from potential identity theft. These documents should be shredded every day after use as this prevents information from being stolen.

With these simple steps, you can help protect your employees from identity theft. Make sure your employees know about the dangers of identity theft and what they can do to protect themselves at the workplace and at home.


Why Virus Hoaxes Are a Security Risk

Why Virus Hoaxes Are a Security Risk

Viruses, if left on your computer, can be detrimental to the overall performance of your computer. This is why most viruses are considered a major security risk. Is your computer operating slower than normal? Is it encountering a lot of errors when you open and close programs or documents? If so, then your computer may have a virus.

So how do you prevent viruses from infecting your computer? Install a reliable, effective virus scanner and run a scan for viruses regularly. Also, you should ensure that your virus scanner is updated and operating fully. But there are certain viruses that you can unknowingly invite into your computer.

Virus hoaxes are new and becoming more common. If you read information and articles on the Internet, then you may be aware of virus hoaxes. So what are they? Virus hoaxes are spread using emails that are designed to make you believe that your computer is infected with a virus even though it isn’t. Tricky, right?

Virus hoaxes are quite clever. They will normally tell you that your computer is infected with a virus. Not only that, the email or message will advise you that certain files need to be deleted. Usually, a list of instructions will specify how to delete this file which is essential to the optimal performance of your computer. Once these files are deleted, your computer may not turn on or function normally. Virus hoaxes work extremely well because most people are worried about viruses attacking their computer. This is how they lure you into believing the hoax.

Most of these hoaxes will expose your computer to a virus or they may tell you to download a virus scanner to help repair your computer. But they will do exactly the opposite. These virus scanners will simply add more viruses to your computer which will cause additional damage.

Delete or ignore any emails that tell you that your computer is infected. In most cases, it is a hoax virus email just waiting to infect your computer with a virus. Hoaxes can also pop up on websites that claim to scan your computer for viruses. Avoid these sites as much as possible. It is impossible for these sites to scan your computer unless you download a trusted scanner from an official website, such as McFee or Norton.

Also, if you ever receive emails telling you that you need to send the message to other people, then you will know that it is a hoax. This is called a chain letter. To ensure that virus hoaxes don’t work their way into your computer, be aware of any messages or emails that you may receive and read them very carefully. Your computer’s life depends on it.