Saturday, January 3, 2015

Looking Back At 2014 - The Year Of The Hacker!

At this time of year traditionally people look back on the year that was, and make resolutions for the year to be. I will jump on this bandwagon, starting with a look back at what I feel was the most important internet story of 2014 - Internet Security (or the lack of...)
2014 was the year of hacks, here are some of the highlights:
  • The Bitcoin exchange Mt.Gox filed for bankruptcy after $460 million was apparently stolen by hackers due to "weaknesses in their system"
  • Retail stores were hacked including:
    • Staples
    • Home Depot
    • Michaels
    • Jimmy John's
  • Banks were hacked
    • JPMorgan Chase, info stolen for 83 million accounts
  • Healthcare was hacked
    • Community Health Systems which operates 206 hospitals in 29 states had 4.5 million people's personal data stolen
  • Apple "photos" was hacked, 500 private celebrity pictures stolen and later posted on the internet
  • It was the year of "Heartbleed" and "Shellshock" and an Internet Explorer bug, that left every version since Internet Explorer 6 open to hack
  • and of course the Sony hack
And that is just a partial list... This is scary, the companies getting hacked are some of the biggest, and supposedly "most secure" websites on the internet.

So for 2015 I am going all in on encouraging "Internet Security Best Practices"

What you can do to stay (somewhat) secure
  • Start with secure passwords, don't use the same password anywhere twice on the internet
    • I can't recommend highly enough a program like 1Password. Yes it will cost you a few bucks up front, but the ability to have secure, easy to access passwords on all your devices is more than worth it. This is one of the first apps I install on every new device.
  • Use "2-factor verification" on all your email accounts. Gmail has it, Apple has it, use it. Makes it very difficult for a hacker to ever access your emails.
  • And remember that nothing is really private on the internet!
    • That text you sent, is saved on a server somewhere, and can be recalled at any time
    • that email you thought was private, can be used against you in a court case one day
    • Your Facebook/Pinterest/LinkedIn posts, even with privacy settings, they can be seen by others
    • even your phone calls are easily intercepted and recorded these days...
Be smart, take the time to make your data, your business, your identity secure. Those hacks I listed are going to costs those companies millions, but you and I we can't afford to have our businesses or identities stolen away from us.

And on that negative note, I actually look forward to 2015! I think that great things are going to happen this year! Business is booming, I'm busier than ever (and no longer a one person operation!) and I look forward to talking at you very soon!