1. Using a default password
Everybody has probably heard the advice to always have a unique password and to change it regularly. This is smart but for network appliances it is kind of unrealistic. Typically a network appliance is used by a lot of people and so the constant changing of a password can cause more problems than it would prevent.
The problem remains, however, that default passwords are very risky because they are more easily compromised by hackers. This is even truer for network access points, firewall appliances, and intrusion-detection appliances.
2. Using a weak password
A strong password can be an even better defense than a unique password or frequently changed password. Never include any part of your name or user name. Do use the name of your city’s sports team or High School mascot.
Imagine waking up one day and finding out your credit card–which you barely use–has been declined because it was maxed out. You call the credit card company and discover that apparently you’ve been spending a lot in Florida. What’s worse, there is a warrant for your arrest for missing a court date in Florida for assault, when in fact you live around 2,000 miles away, in Denver, Colorado. It’s a nightmarish scenario that you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy–maybe–but it’s exactly what happens to Sandy Patterson in the movie, Identity Thief.
Sandy Patterson, played by actor Jason Bateman, is a financial officer who receives a call from woman informing him that there had been an attempt to steal his identity. Telling him about an identity protection service, she asks for his name, number, as well as his social security number. He had no inkling that the attempt on stealing his identity is actually happening at that moment. What’s worse, it was a woman who stole his identity.
Common sense continues to be tossed aside, just as often as new stories arise of the careless disposal of sensitive documents. The most recent case comes out of Florence, Alabama where hundreds of medical files were discovered inside a dumpster.
The news was reported by Huntsville CBS affiliate WHNT News 19, with the twist that the records were from patients of a Virginia hospital. While the station could not reach the doctor for comment, his family said he had hired a company to shred the documents. Hiring an unreliable document shredding company: the all-too-common outcome in these senseless instances of privacy breaching.
The hospital in Norton, Virginia, where the files originated, was also notified of the incident.
So how could something as careless as this happen, particularly in an industry of professionals we trust our lives with?
by Cora Currier ProPublica, Jan. 11, 2013, 1:14 p.m.
You might have heard about the “kill list.” You’ve certainly heard about drones. But the details of the U.S. campaign against militants in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia — a centerpiece of the Obama administration’s national security approach – remain shrouded in secrecy. Here’s our guide to what we know—and what we don’t know.
Where is the drone war? Who carries it out?
Drones have been the Obama administration’s tool of choice for taking out militants outside of Iraq and Afghanistan. Drones aren’t the exclusive weapon – traditional airstrikes and other attacks have also been reported. But by one estimate, 95 percent of targeted killings since 9/11 have been conducted by drones. Among the benefits of drones: they don’t put American troops in harm’s way.
by Suevon Lee ProPublica, Jan. 7, 2013, 9:28 a.m.
U.S. gun policy is set by both state and federal law. We previously published an explainer on the ways states have eased gun restrictions. But federal policy, too, has become more gun friendly in recent years — and we’re not just talking about the 2008 Supreme Court ruling that struck down the handgun ban in Washington, D.C., and held that people have a right to keep guns in their homes.
Here, we outline five federal policies relating to guns you may not have known about:
1. A federal firearms trace database is off-limits to the public.
How often do federally licensed gun dealers sell guns that are then used in crimes? It’s hard to know, because for nearly a decade such gun trace data has been hidden from the public. Even local law enforcement had been, until recently, barred from accessing the database for anything but narrow investigations.