URGENT ALERT: 143 million Customers Exposed in Financial Data Breach
Credit reporting company Equifax has just revealed that its databases were hacked in a large-scale breach affecting millions across the US, UK & Canada. While no hacking event is ever good news, some are easier to ignore than others – this isn’t one of them. The sensitive nature of the exposed data now requires immediate action for all those even possibly affected.
The short version: Equifax is one of the three main organizations in the US that manages & calculates credit scores. To do that effectively, they have access to almost every piece of financial data for adults in the country, plus pretty much anyone who’s lived/worked in the US. We’re talking social security, tax file numbers, drivers’ license, credit card numbers…the big stuff. On July 29, Equifax disclosed the breach, stating that hackers had repeatedly gotten in through a vulnerability in the web application from mid-May to July of this year.
If you’re an Equifax customer: As scary as all that sounds, what’s done is done. Equifax, cyber-security experts & law enforcement officials are on the case, working to minimize the long-term damage.
The best action now is to protect yourself against fallout:
- Go to: http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com to see if your data may have been affected. There was some news that this site was delivering random results, but Equifax announced it has been corrected. At this stage, it’s safest to assume everyone with a credit history has been impacted, so unless that link gives a definite ‘no you’re safe’ response, continue with the following recommendations.
- Claim the Equifax free year of credit monitoring & identity theft insurance (if you’re a US resident). If you’re not eligible, consider sourcing your own. As the hacked data will continue to circulate for some time, also consider extending your credit monitoring for a few more years.
- Keep a close eye on your finances and accounts. Check for notifications of new credit applications, monitor your statements and bills, and immediately report any suspicious activity or sudden change in billing.
- Change all your passwords to be strong, unique and long. Any of the stolen data may give hackers a free pass into the rest of your bank accounts, email and personal information.
- Add two-factor authentication where possible. This is when an account demands a second layer of authentication before allowing access or changes – getting the password correct isn’t enough, the hacker would also need to get the special code sent by SMS.
- Consider freezing your credit report. This makes it harder for identity thieves to open accounts under your name, as access is completely restricted until you choose to un-freeze.
Need help with your passwords? Give us a call at 604-885-2410
Exciting Changes have arrived at
Mainstay Computing Ltd!
Spring is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings.
At Mainstay Computing Ltd. we have an exciting new beginning; we are now located in the Heart of Sechelt!
Visit us at 5694 Mermaid Street where we have expanded our staff, extended our services, and enhanced our Customer Service Portal.
Enter to win a Backup Solution! (includes hard drive & in-shop setup).
New Location, New Services!
- Central, downtown Sechelt location
- Street access w/ lots of parking
- Wheelchair accessible
- Relaxed office environment
Visit us at 5694 Mermaid Street
- Increased staff w/ fast turn around times
- Service Contracts tailored to fit your needs and your budget
- Professional PC & Mac Support
- Repairs, consultations, and web design
- Help Desk Support
- Start a new service ticket
- Track your repair status in real-time
- Check service tickets, approve/deny estimates, and view invoices
Today, IT security firm ESET® released a useful free tool to help combat the recent ransomware, WannaCry.
ESET’s EternalBlue Vulnerability Checker can be used to determine whether your Windows machine is patched against EternalBlue. This is the exploit behind the WannaCry ransomware epidemic that is still being used to spread cryptocurrency mining software and other malware.
Protecting from EternalBlue is critical. The danger is not in the WannaCry ransomware itself, but in the EternalBlue exploit. This has been using the vulnerability in unpatched Microsoft systems to spread the infection to other unpatched computers. (ESET’s network detection of the EternalBlue exploit, CVE-2017-0144, was added on April 25, prior to the outbreak of the WannaCry threat. To learn more about how ESET solutions proactively protect against WannaCry and EternalBlue, click here.)
While the WannaCry ransomware remains the most visible, the exploit can still be used in the wild by any other malware – not only ransomware.
Read the full article here!
Why You Should Backup Your Files
In today’s fast-paced world, backing up your files is of the utmost importance. Typically music, movies, films, data files, projects, and photos are all stored in one place – your computer. Laptops and desktops have decreased in cost, and the amount of storage inside them has increased greatly over the last few years. Unfortunately having all of your data in only one place is dangerous.
Computer loss, theft, natural disaster, and accidental deletion, are just some of the ways that you can lose the data you’ve spent so long creating and accumulating. The only way to prepare for the unexpected is to have a good backup strategy in place. There are many different ways to backup your computers, and using multiple forms of backup will minimize the risk of ever losing your valuable files.
Can I Use Thumb Drives for Backup?
Technically, yes. In most cases, a simple thumb drive (or flash drive) is the first way most people save their data. Thumb drives are easy to transport, work with most computers, and are relatively small. That makes them a great way to save small amounts of data like presentations or working documents. It’s also easy to give them to others, making them great for collaborative projects.
The downside to thumb drives is that they are usually very small and often are not very dense (meaning, they cannot store a lot of data). This makes them problematic for a few reasons. If your thumb drive is small it’s easy to lose. If you lose your thumb drive then you’re no longer backed up! Not having a lot of storage density is also problematic, as typically a thumb drive will not be able to hold all of the data that is on your computer. For all of those reasons thumb drives are not an ideal solution for backing up your computer.
Read the full article here!
I receive spam in my personal email almost daily. Usually I just ignore it and delete right away. However, I’ve gotten a bit more curious since I’ve become more immersed in security. What would happen if I actually clicked?
Social Engineering: to click or not to click
With one or two wrong clicks, your computer can become infected with a virus or Trojan. You may not even notice, and someone may have complete control of your computer – watching you through your webcam, browsing your files, stealing your passwords and recording all of your keystrokes.
It is far too easy for cyber criminals to lure you into clicking. They will try every social engineering trick in the book. These tricks include email subject lines like “Notice to appear in court” or “Unpaid Invoice” or “Order Form” and the list goes on.
I too even sometimes pause and have to think twice before clicking. And I’m a security expert. What about regular computer users who don’t have the same experience and level of education that I have? So I decided to click, with the goal of showing you what actually happens when you fall prey to ransomware.
Read the full article here!