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Dashlane's new Password Changer feature does the password-changing legwork for you, letting you change all or a selection of your passwords with a couple of clicks.
Whenever a big security breach such as Heartbleed occurs, I engage in an internal dialogue in an effort to determine if it's worth the hassle to change my admittedly weak passwords. The debate ends up boiling down to this question: is the threat of some of my accounts getting hacked greater than the time and effort required to change my passwords?
With Dashlane, I no longer have to crunch the numbers to decide whether I need to change my passwords. Today, it released a new feature that lets you change all or some of your passwords with a few clicks of your mouse. Dubbed Password Changer, the new feature is in beta and available for the PC and Mac versions of Dashlane; it will come to Dashlane's mobile apps soon, according to the release.
You can sign up for Password Changer on Dashlane's site to be added to the waitlist. When I signed up earlier today, there were more than 8,000 people ahead of me, although tweeting about it dropped me to 450th in line.
When the feature arrives for your account, you will see a Password Changer button with an orange beta tag at the top of the Dashlane app. It opens a new Dashlane window where you can check off the accounts that need a new password, or you can check the box for Auto-change password at the top to select all of your accounts listed. Click the green Change password button and Dashlane will change all of your passwords.
(For the curious, the "auto" in Auto-change refers to the fact that Dashlane is changing your passwords for you instead of making you manually create passwords, as opposed to Dashlane changing your passwords on some sort of schedule moving forward.)
To see the new passwords that Dashlane created for you, head back to the main Passwords page of Dashlane, mouse over one of your accounts, and click the gear icon to see its settings. Next, click the lock icon next to the password field to view your new password. In addition to doing the password-changing legwork for youDashlane's Password Changer also creates stronger passwords than you would likely create, if left to your own devices.
In my experience, not all of my accounts showed up on the Password Changer window. In fact, accounts that used the same email that I used to create my Dashlane account were not listed. According to Dashlane's developers, "On the Mac version, we have a feature which prevents you from using Password Changer on the account you use as your Dashlane ID. We did this because if you change this password (intentionally or accidentally), and don't know the password, you might get stuck not being able to receive a token from us, which would prevent you from using o Dashlane anymore."
I am awaiting an answer why this issue is specific to Macs and will update this post when I hear back. In the meantime, if you are on a Mac, you might consider creating a new email account to use for your Dashlane log-in.
An email from the head of Sony Entertainment Michael Linton to Sony staffers tells them the FBI will be on hand in their Hollywood offices this week.
The FBI will advise Sony Pictures employees on how to manage the leak of their personal information stolen in a massive hack of Sony computers, the law enforcement agency confirmed late Monday.
The FBI will visit the Hollywood offices of the film and TV arm of Japanese tech and media conglomerate this week, according to an email sent by studio chief Michael Linton updating employees on the status of the joint investigation of the hack being conducted by the FBI and security firm Mandiant, reported Variety."Over the weekend, you should have received my note sharing cyber security expert Kevin Mandia's thoughts on this unprecedented and highly sophisticated attack on us," Linton wrote.
"I know it is unsettling that we have been the target of such an attack, but I want to assure you all that we have the recognized experts working on this matter and looking out for our security."Linton said he would address Sony Pictures employees in a company-wide meeting on Friday.Sony didn't respond to a request for comment.
The episode began on November 24 when a hacking group calling itself the Guardians of Peace claimed to have obtained Sony Pictures' internal data, including its "secrets," and said it would release the data to the public if its demands were not met, according to reports. It is unclear what the hacker group was demanding.
As of today, hackers have released around 140 gigabytes of a cache of internal Sony files and films they claim totals at least 100 terabytes -- approximately 10 times the amount of information stored in the Library of Congress. The information included passwords, employee Social Security numbers, and contracts with celebrities and distributors.
Several former Sony employees said they saw their personal data in leaked documents. "The studio's done absolutely nothing to reach out to us," said one former high-ranking Sony employee who left the company earlier this year and reached out to Sony in the wake of the attacks for more information. "Their response was paper thin, a form response."
Circumstantial evidence and speculation suggested the hackers were working on behalf of North Korea, which has denounced Sony's upcoming film "The Interview," starring Seth Rogen and James Franco as TV journalists who become embroiled in a plot to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. In June, North Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs called the movie "terrorism" and described film-makers as "gangster-like scoundrels."
A spokesman for the foreign ministry said the country would retaliate if the film -- due for release next month -- is shown. Over the weekend, North Korea expressed support for the hackers but denied involvement in the attack.
Car makers and regulators see a rising threat in automobile hacking.
The U.S. military and the automobile industry believe they can. Tests conducted by hackers in the U.S. military confirm that, given the right time and tools, a car’s control systems are susceptible to attack, according to the Associated Press.That fact, not necessarily novel, has become a pressing concern for the industry as a growing number of cars come to market embedded with electronics. In the tests, hackers proved that once they penetrate a vehicle’s defenses, they can do almost anything, whether that’s popping the trunk, cutting the brakes, starting windshield wipers or even killing the car’s engine.
Possible entry points hackers might use to compromise a vehicle’s controls can be electronic ports used by mechanics for service, Bluetooth-equipped cars and access points used by mobile apps.Despite an absence of recorded criminal attacks of such digital commandeering, U.S. military and privately conducted tests have raised red flags for auto brands.
In a 92-page paper released in August at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas, cyber security researchers Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek shared a review of cars surveyed as most susceptible to hacking. The automobiles attributed with the weakest defenses included the 2014 Jeep Cherokee, the 2014 Infiniti Q50 and 2015 Cadillac Escalade.
Teslas have also been in the news for hacking when Chinese students proved they could hack a Model S Tesla at another cyber security conference.In response, some brands have moved into action. General Motors, for example, is researching security methods of companies like Boeing. Likewise, manufacturers such as Toyota and Honda are participating in a collaborative group called the Auto-Information Sharing and Analysis Center, a group that shares information on detected cyber threats.
As study and analysis continue, the U.S. Department of Defense reports it has also been investigating the issue and seeks to plug vulnerabilities by refashioning the automobile code to make it impervious to major attacks.
The retail chain becomes the latest victim of hackers, who gained access to customer names, credit and debit card account numbers, expiration dates and verification codes.
Women's clothing store Bebe has become the latest retail hacking victim in a breach that exposed credit and debit card information, the company announced on Friday.
Between the period of November 8 and November 26, Bebe believes that hackers gained access to its payment-processing systems and were able to nab credit and debit card data. The hackers could get cardholders' names, account numbers, expiration dates, and verification codes, according to the company. That's all a person would need to make fraudulent purchases on a card.
"Our relationship with our customers is of the highest priority and we recognize the importance of protecting their information," said Bebe CEO Jim Wiggett, in a statement. "We moved quickly to block this attack and have taken steps to further enhance our security measures."
The Bebe hack is just the latest in a string of data breaches that have left companies around the world scouring to find a suitable solution to the epidemic. Last year, Target was hit with a massive data breach that made over 110 million customer records available to hackers. Soon after, the hacked data was found on underground Internet sites that sell customer information to criminals.
And late last month Sony Pictures was the victim of a massive attack that crippled the company's operation for a week. The hackers were able to secure screenings of movies that have yet to hit theaters and have since released them online. Other private information, including that of executive salaries, scripts, and other data has also been leaked.
Bebe has so far provided little information on the hack and declined CNET's request for comment. In its statement, the company said it "recently detected suspicious activity" in its payment systems, leading it to hire a security firm that rooted out the issue and blocked the attack. Bebe has not said how widespread the attack has been nor how many users have been affected.
The company can confirm, however, that the attack was limited to in-store purchases made in the US, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Online and mobile purchasers were not affected in the breach.
Bebe has 175 retail stores worldwide and 35 Bebe outlet stores.
Following the script of other companies that have been affected by a data breach, Bebe says that it will provide customers with one year of free credit monitoring. Interested customers need to enroll by calling a toll-free number. Bebe also suggested customers contact their banks and access statements to ensure no fraudulent charges have been made.
Looking ahead, Bebe says customers shouldn't worry about buying products from the company.
"Customers can feel confident in continuing to use their payment cards in our stores," the company said in the statement.
Arguably the world's most famous hacker, Kevin Mitnick says even he's on attackers' hit lists. That's why he decided to make his next book a guide to practical safety for everyone on the Internet.
Even famed hacker Kevin Mitnick -- labeled a "computer terrorist" by the FBI in the '90s -- worries about getting hacked.
But he doesn't want you to. So he's now writing a book called "The Art of Invisibility" that shares his advice on how to stay safe online. It starts, he said, by making sure all your information is encrypted, or protected so only authorized people can access it.
"It's quite easy for somebody to get your credit report," Mitnick, now a security consultant, said in an interview this week. "In our world with all the surveillance, it's important to encrypt everything."
Thanks to high-profile security breaches at retailers like Target and Home Depot in the past year, and the ongoing reports of government surveillance first exposed by Edward Snowden in June 2013, people are more concerned than ever about their online security and privacy. Most Americans don't trust social media or online communication tools to send private information, including email, chat and instant messaging, a Pew Research study released earlier this month found. More than 90 percent said they have little or no control over how businesses collect and use personal information online.
Mitnick was convicted in 1999 after being labeled the most-wanted computer criminal in the United States and remains a source of controversy. Most recently, some in the security community have been upset over whether Mitnick's side business of selling zero-day exploits -- previously-unknown security flaws -- is ethical.
But even for a notorious computer hacker like Mitnick, it isn't easy avoiding the bad guys.
Mitnick received a tip at the end of October that somebody was going to try to hijack the website from which he runs his security consulting and public speaking business. He was able to avoid the attack because he's used to thinking about how the bad guys trick people into giving them information that lets them gain access to sensitive data -- a technique often called social engineering.
"It's really hard to help people become inoculated to these [social engineering] attacks," he said, which is why they're often successful.
To make it harder for the bad guys to crack your password, he offers some commonsense suggestions, such as using two-factor authentication -- which adds a second password or other credential to your account login. He also recommends using a virtual private network to make it difficult for people to eavesdrop on your Internet usage. VPNs protect your Internet traffic and communications so only authorized recipients can see what you're doing.
He also offered some techniques you probably didn't know about, like using sandboxing tools -- software that isolates programs -- to keep attackers at bay. Though some of these approaches, like buying a separate computer for online banking, might be a stretch for a normal user.
Here's an edited Q&A about what people should know in regard to staying safe online, courtesy of a reformed hacker.
Q: How easy is it for someone to steal your information?
Mitnick: [For example,] it's quite easy for somebody to get your credit report. [It] shows the first 12 numbers of your credit card number, so all the fraudster has to do is get the last four.
When you have an American Express card, they never report the real credit card number to the bureaus. They have a different account number. So if somebody steals your credit report, they won't get your American Express card. Sometimes, it's safer to use those than your MasterCard or Visa.
[Another example is] on mobile phones. The simple password on iPhone is automatically enabled. You can disable to get the complex password [option]. A simple four-digit password is easier to guess than a complex password, but people don't want to spend a lot of time unlocking their phones.
People like to make it really simple, that's why you have Touch ID [fingerprint reader] with iOS now. If you're crossing the border, and US customs asks you to unlock the phone, you can refuse to give them your code, but a court can make you unlock it with your fingerprint.
What are the biggest mistakes you see people making with their security?
Mitnick: The biggest threat goes back to what I did as a teenager, social engineering. There's always somebody in an organization who will... open a malicious link or an [email] attachment. It's really easy for the attacker to look for [how people know each other], especially with social networking, and create a reasonable pretext that most people will fall for.
What best practices are people struggling to adopt?
Mitnick: Would you spend $200 to ramp up your security? Everybody says yes. [I tell them to] go out and buy a [Google] Chromebook, and use it in guest mode. Only use it to access your financial institutions. Not email, not Google Apps. I think that works really well.
For anything sensitive, just use a separate machine.
It's much easier to buy a prepaid wireless device. Walk into Verizon, pay cash for a [mobile hotspot and phone] and you have anonymity. You never use it with your real mobile device, and you must go through the trouble of [changing] locations.
What should we be most concerned about protecting?
Mitnick: Anything that's sensitive to you personally. Most people focus on financial and identity theft. For me personally, it's who my clients are, my accounting, what our technologies are.
It could be something as simple as the photos on your iPhone to your financials. In our world with all the surveillance, it's important to encrypt everything.
Do you have to be an expert to use consumer security and privacy tools?
Mitnick: (Most people) don't actually realize what they're doing. You have to configure your devices for the level of privacy that you require in your life. It's a different level of privacy from what Edward Snowden would need versus the guy on the street.
How do we make security tools easier to use?
Mitnick: The people that are the most vulnerable don't use any kind of security process or security technology at all. Manufacturers need to integrate security into the devices they sell.
The biggest challenge in writing this book is what counter-measures you give the public on something simple like protecting their email. A lot of people have access to it -- your employer has access, your email provider has access.
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Mr. Adams is the Director of Center for Public Computing & Workforce Development.
Center for Public Computing & Workforce Development is open to Tallahassee Communities and surrounding areas. Below are a few steps on how to register to the Center.
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