Massive data breach directly affects at least 4 million people.
Unless you were living under a rock this week (and maybe even then), you’ve heard about the recent data breach affecting the US Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
The hack involved personnel files relating to 4 million current and former members of the federal government. In other words, about one percent of the entire US population. It affected nearly every single federal agency, exposing people’s names, addresses, social security numbers, job details, training information, and more.
This was one very big hack indeed. It shows that the threat posed by hackers is increasing every day. It shows that everyone needs to take online security seriously. It also shows that all of us could be victims, and this means all of us must be proactive in protecting ourselves.
Hackers look for vulnerabilities that they can exploit.
If you look for the term zero-day attack in your home dictionary, you probably won’t find it.
Go ahead and check…I’ll wait.
You might not even find the term in some online dictionaries (though to be fair, it does appear in others.).
Nevertheless, if you google the term, you’ll find thousands of references to it, many of them from mainstream sources including Forbes, Time, and USA Today. So what’s the deal? If the term is so important, why isn’t in the dictionary yet?
As with so many computer-related terms, the phrase zero-day attack has recently crept into the lexicon of the common person, after being used by technical types for more than a decade. Also known as 0day attacks, zero-hour attacks and 0hour attacks, these are attacks that exploit a vulnerability in a computer application or program.
A vulnerability, by the way, is simply an error in a software that could be exploited. It isn’t a problem in itself, and it isn’t something that stops an application or program from working properly. However, if a vulnerability is discovered by a hacker, and if the hacker uses the vulnerability to conduct nefarious activities, then the moment these nefarious activities are discovered, it is known as a zero-day attack.
- April 9th, 2014
- 6 Comments
In this age of digital communication, it’s common to receive email attachments that we open without thinking twice. But did you know that close to 1 in 25 email attachments are actually malicious? Some malicious attachments come from spam emails, which usually are easy to identify, while other emails appear harmless to the naked eye. So how do you determine if the Microsoft document or PDF file you’ve received from a job recruiter is legitimate or not?
Continue Reading… Is This File Safe Or Malicious?
- March 19th, 2014
- 7 Comments
The clock is ticking for Windows XP holdouts. Microsoft has announced that official support for Windows XP and Office 2003 ends on April 8, 2014, and users are urged to switch to a more modern operating system.
Ending support means Microsoft will no longer be releasing patches to fix vulnerabilities in the software. Even if serious issues are later found in XP or Office 2003, or if attackers target previously unknown bugs, Microsoft will not be releasing any updates after April to address them. The last update for Windows XP will be released as part of Microsoft’s April Patch Tuesday, on April 8, 2014.
Continue Reading… The End of Windows XP is Near: Here’s What to Expect
- November 6th, 2013
- 5 Comments
In some ways, protecting your computer safe can be thought of the same way as protecting your home.
In both cases, you have to be concerned about people breaking in, and in both your computer and your home, you need to be sure to lock the doors and turn on the alarm. But what happens if there are doors or windows at your house that you did not realize were open? Suddenly, fortifying your home just became more complicated.
Continue Reading… Zero-days: Exploits that take advantage of the unknown