September 8, 2017

codeYesterday the credit reporting company Equifax announced that hackers had breached their security systems and stolen personal information from 143 million customers. Along with names and birthdates, the hackers also obtained social security and driver’s license numbers. These pieces of data are basically gold to identity thieves, allowing them to make purchases, borrow money and more all under the victim’s name. “This is about as bad as it gets,” said World Privacy Forum executive director Pamela Dixon. “If you have Continue reading

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August 22, 2017

max-pixelWhen Bitcoin launched in 2008, a single unit of the mysterious cryptocurrency was worth just a little more than half a cent. Bitcoin’s value remained under a dollar for years afterward, leading many to wonder why anyone would invest in a strange new currency that couldn’t be controlled by any government or company. Besides being seemingly worthless, Bitcoin also operated through a decentralized network of computers whose owner was impossible to verify. This anonymity extended to Bitcoin’s users as well, Continue reading

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June 29, 2017

Christiaan-ColenOn Tuesday Roman Klimenko headed into his Kiev accounting office for work just like he does every day. A few hours after he opened his tax preparation software, however, something went horribly wrong. “The screen became red,” said Klimenko. “A warning appeared, and everything on the hard drive was scrambled.” In a matter of moments he lost all of his filings from last year.

This same situation played out across tens of thousands of Ukrainian computers in that same instant. Continue reading

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virus-attackLast Friday hackers launched a massive cyberattack that targeted hundreds of thousands of users and organizations in more than 150 countries. Using a “ransomware” virus called WannaCry, the malware infected computer systems by locking users out of their files and demanding money to set them free. Regardless of whether the user paid up or not, though, the virus was easily able to spread to other computers linked within the same network. Eventually one lucky researcher discovered a “kill switch” in Continue reading

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February 23, 2017

cafecreditdotcomFormed in 2011 with the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial reform act, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau aims to keep citizens safe from unfair or deceptive practices by businesses. One of the ways the government organization accomplishes this task is by maintaining a database of complaints made by consumers against companies. And people have certainly taken advantage of this service since its creation two years ago. In that time, the CFPB has received more than 700,000 complaints aimed primarily at Continue reading

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November 15, 2016

TimParkinsonFrom a young age Americans are taught to keep a close eye on their Social Security number. After all, this unique code acts as an identifier for everything from bank accounts to medical records. If it falls into the wrong hands, all of your personal information could become compromised. To prevent this from happening, the government requires companies to keep Social Security numbers private while advising individuals to reveal it only to trusted parties.

But in today’s digital age there’s Continue reading

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June 27, 2016

Password protection has been an essential element of online security since the beginning of the Internet age. But as hackers become better at infiltrating digital defenses, many companies have started switching to more advanced user verification methods. For instance, millions of customers at Wells Fargo and Bank of America regularly use their fingerprints to access their accounts from mobile devices. This practice will only grow as more companies include fingerprint-scanning technology in future smartphone models.

And biometric security doesn’t stop Continue reading

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April 8, 2016

By now, anyone with an online presence knows that you need to think carefully about what you post on social media. Just one ill-considered joke or comment made in anger can haunt a person for years, harming their future prospects and reputation. Along with these everyday hazards, those who come from wealth run a number of additional risks if they flaunt their fortune too flagrantly online. Not only does this tacky act make them susceptible to thieves, but it also Continue reading

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March 31, 2016

Last month, the FBI and Apple became entangled in a legal battle that many assumed would rage for months. The conflict centered on an iPhone owned by one of the perpetrators of the San Bernardino mass shooting. While the FBI accessed most of the device’s data through the cloud, the government claimed a security system installed on the phone prevented them for obtaining the rest of its information. Apple refused to help the feds bypass the security feature, however, claiming Continue reading

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March 16, 2016

The horrific events of last year’s mass shooting in San Bernardino shocked the nation. Along with the sheer violence of the attack, the fact that it occurred in an office building made many Americans deeply uneasy. Debates about workplace security soon started to rage throughout the media and the Internet. To the nation’s pro-gun advocates, San Bernardino represented another instance where they believe people could have been saved if only they had been carrying a weapon themselves.

While there are Continue reading

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