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Archive for April, 2009

10 things to ensure career survival in 2009

Source: Tech Republic

With unemployment rates climbing into the stratosphere and job prospects becoming increasingly tenuous, IT pros need to think strategically and act effectively to keep their heads above water. Here are some recommendations to help you safeguard your career during the months to come.

#1: Make a specific plan

#2: SWOT yourself

#3: Update your resume

#4: Invest in your career

#5: Get financially smart

#6: Develop a sense of urgency

#7: Look up, not down

#8: Update your skill set

#9: Self promote

#10: Look after your loved ones

Download the article as a PDF.

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Staying Safe on Social Network Sites

Source: US-CERT

The popularity of social networking sites continues to increase, especially
among teenagers and young adults. The nature of these sites introduces
security risks, so you should take certain precautions.

How can you protect yourself?

* Limit  the  amount  of personal information you post

* Remember that the internet is a public resource

* Be  wary  of  strangers – Consider limiting the people who are allowed to    contact you on these sites.

* Be skeptical – Don’t believe everything you read online.

* Evaluate your settings – Take advantage of a site’s privacy settings.

* Use strong passwords – Protect your account with passwords that cannot      easily  be guessed.  (see  passwords a little easier.. for more  information).

* Check privacy policies – Some sites may share information such as email
addresses or user preferences with other companies.

* Use and maintain anti-virus software ( see Safe Surfing for more info.)

5 Ways To Survive a Data Breach Investigation

Source: Network World
Security experts say it all the time: If a company thinks it has suffered a data security breach, the key to getting at the truth unscathed is to have a response plan in place for what needs to be done and who needs to be in charge of certain tasks. And, as SANS Institute instructor Lenny Zeltser advised in CSOonline’s recent How to Respond to an Unexpected IT Security Incident article, “ask lots and lots of questions” before making rash decisions.

Unfortunately, many companies still fail to heed that advice and end up in a lot more trouble than was necessary — see The Company That Did Everything Wrong Parts 1 and Part 2 for painful examples.

Robert Fitzgerald, a Boston-based digital forensics investigator and president of The Lorenzi Group LLC, finds that at many of the companies he investigates, the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt ring true: The only thing [companies] have to fear is fear itself.

Spam ‘uses as much power as 2.1m homes’

Source: Guardian.co.uk

Internet users have long known that spam emails – offering everything from cheap medicines and sex aids to get-rich-quick schemes – are an unwanted annoyance, but new research suggests that they are also hugely damaging to the environment.

More than 80% of the world’s email traffic is now spam and the transmission and receipt of unwanted email gobbles up 33bn kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, according to anti-virus software specialist McAfee. That is the equivalent of the electricity used by 2.1m US homes.

The report follows research published yesterday by rival online security firm Symantec showing that cyber criminals are now trading stolen credit card details for as little as 4p, while a person’s full identity can change hands between gangs for 50p.

Over 60% Of Breaches Tied To Flaws In Business-Critical Applications

Source: darkReading

If you still don’t think security vulnerabilities in software will necessarily catch up with you, think again: 62 percent of organizations in the last 12 months suffered data breaches as a result of bugs being exploited in their major applications, according to a newly released survey.

Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Veracode, surveyed application developers and security and risk professionals in 200 organizations in the U.S. and U.K., and found that secure software development programs are rare — only 34 percent said they have a software development lifecycle program that integrates security.

“The survey showed that people, process, and culture are the primary inhibitors,” says Matt Moynahan, CEO of Veracode, in an interview. “Security is not a core competence of enterprises developing code.”

How well protected is your PC?

Source: TestMyPcSecurity

Test My PC Security has a wide range of downloadable firewall leak and HIPS tests so you can find out just how good your security software is.

If you are connected to the internet, you have a doorway that the rest of the world can use to enter your computer. The purpose of the security tests on Test My PC Security is to find out how well that doorway is protected. Will your security software prevent your confidential data from being transmitted to a hacker? Will it stop a virus from corrupting or destroying your important documents? Can you trust it to halt a key-logging program from recording and broadcasting every keyboard stroke you make?

Try it out…

How do you know if there is spyware on my computer?

Source: US-CERT – Recognizing and Avoiding Spyware

The following symptoms may indicate that spyware is installed on your computer:

  • you are subjected to endless pop-up windows
  • you are redirected to web sites other than the one you typed into your browser
  • new, unexpected toolbars appear in your web browser
  • new, unexpected icons appear in the task tray at the bottom of your screen
  • your browser’s home page suddenly changed
  • the search engine your browser opens when you click “search” has been changed
  • certain keys fail to work in your browser (e.g., the tab key doesn’t work when you are moving to the next field within a form)
  • random Windows error messages begin to appear
  • your computer suddenly seems very slow when opening programs or processing tasks (saving files, etc.)

To avoid unintentionally installing it yourself, follow these good security practices:

  • Don’t click on links within pop-up windows – Because pop-up windows are often a product of spyware, clicking on the window may install spyware software on your computer. To close the pop-up window, click on the “X” icon in the titlebar instead of a “close” link within the window.
  • Choose “no” when asked unexpected questions – Be wary of unexpected dialog boxes asking whether you want to run a particular program or perform another type of task. Always select “no” or “cancel,” or close the dialog box by clicking the “X” icon in the titlebar.
  • Be wary of free downloadable software – There are many sites that offer customized toolbars or other features that appeal to users. Don’t download programs from sites you don’t trust, and realize that you may be exposing your computer to spyware by downloading some of these programs.
  • Don’t follow email links claiming to offer anti-spyware software – Like email viruses, the links may serve the opposite purpose and actually install the spyware it claims to be eliminating.

As an additional good security practice, especially if you are concerned that you might have spyware on your machine and want to minimize the impact, consider taking the following action:

  • Adjust your browser preferences to limit pop-up windows and cookies – Pop-up windows are often generated by some kind of scripting or active content. Adjusting the settings within your browser to reduce or prevent scripting or active content may reduce the number of pop-up windows that appear. Some browsers offer a specific option to block or limit pop-up windows. Certain types of cookies are sometimes considered spyware because they reveal what web pages you have visited. You can adjust your privacy settings to only allow cookies for the web site you are visiting (see Browsing Safely: Understanding Active Content and Cookies and Evaluating Your Web Browser’s Security Settings for more information).

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