Posts Tagged: ‘department of homeland security java’

Scam of the day – October 20, 2013 – Important Java updates

October 20, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

If you are a regular reader of Scamicide, you know that Java software has proven to be a frequent target of hackers and identity thieves.  Java is a very popular software made by Oracle.  Unfortunately, it is also a software that has proven to be very vulnerable to being hacked by identity thieves and exploited for purposes of stealing information used to make you a victim of identity theft.  One of  the more interesting facts about identity theft,  as indicated by Kaspersky Lab, a security firm is that flaws in Java software were responsible for almost half of all cyber attacks by identity thieves and hackers last year.  The Department of Homeland Security has even gone so far as to advise people to disable Java or prevent Java apps from running on their computers.  However, many people still use Java for their work and personal computer use.  If you are one of these people it is imperative that you update your Java software with the latest security patches as soon as their are released.  Recently Java announced a new security patch, which you should install on your computer as soon as possible if you use Java software to help protect you from hacking and identity thieves.  Identity theft statistics show that if you install the security patch, you will lower, although not eliminate, your chances of becoming a victim of identity theft.

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Here is a link to the latest Java security patch information: https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/current-activity/2013/10/15/Oracle-Releases-October-2013-Security-Advisory

Unless you absolutely must use Java, my advice is to disable it.  You can find a link with instructions as to how to disable Java in my Scam of the Day for April 22, 2013 which can be found in the archives of Scamicide which you can access at the top right hand corner of this blog.

Here also is a link to a page where you can find alternative pdf readers that are safer than Java : http://www.pdfreaders.org/

If you still wish to use Java software, make sure that you check for and download the latest Java security patch at the link indicated above.  It will help provide identity theft protection.  Here on Scamicide I will provide access to these updates as they are released.

Scam of the day – July 12, 2013 – Critical Microsoft security updates

July 12, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Identity thieves regularly manage to exploit vulnerabilities in the common software programs that we use.  Java software has proven to be such an effective target for identity thieves that the Department of Homeland Security has even gone so far as to advise people to remove Java software from their computers because of its susceptibility to being exploited by identity thieves.  For more information about Java, as well as instructions as to how to remove it from your computer, go to the Scamicide archives.  Software manufacturers constantly are trying to patch the vulnerabilities in their products and whenever those patches become available, I make sure that I notify you not only that they are available, but where to go to download the necessary patches.  Delaying installing the latest security updates puts you in a dangerous risk of identity theft.  The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team, a part of the Department of Homeland Security has issued a new advisory that provides information about vulnerabilities in a number of Microsoft software programs including the commonly used Internet browser, Internet Explorer.  It is important to download the necessary patches as soon as possible.

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Here is a link to the latest alert issued by the Department of Homeland Security regarding the Microsoft vulnerabilities and how to remedy the situation.

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA13-190A

 

Scam of the day – April 22, 2013 – Urgent Java updates

April 22, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Computer hackers are constantly exploiting vulnerabilities in software to attack your computer and steal information from it that can make you a victim of identity theft.   The dirty little secret is that computer security software is not very effective against the newest viruses and malware.  Studies have shown that it takes the software security companies about a month to catch up with the latest viruses.  During that time you are extremely vulnerable to viruses and other malware despite having the latest security software on your computer.  Java software which is made by Oracle has been a particularly successful target of hackers and identity thieves.  According to Kaspersky Lab, flaws in Java software was responsible for about half of all the cyber attacks by hackers last year.    Dangerous vulnerabilities in Java software have been continuously exploited by identity thieves and hackers to gain access to victims’ computers, steal information and make them victims of identity theft. Despite the best efforts of Oracle the maker of Java software, Java continues to be a source of opportunity for hackers and identity thieves.  It has gotten so bad that  the Department of Homeland Security has gone as far as to advise that people disable Java or prevent Java apps from running in your browser.

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I strongly advise people who do not need to use Java that they disable it.  Here is an important link from the Department of Homeland Security with information as to how to disable Java or to otherwise deal with its vulnerabilities: http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA13-064A.

However if you still desire to use Java software, you should use this link to go to Oracle’s latest security patches for Java: http://www.oracle.com/technetwork/java/javafx/overview/index.html

Scam of the day – March 11, 2013 – Extreme danger with Java software

March 10, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

Computer hackers are constantly exploiting vulnerabilities in software to attack your computer and steal information from it that can make you a victim of identity theft.   The dirty little secret is that computer security software is not very effective against the newest viruses and malware.  Studies have shown that it takes the software security companies about a month to catch up with the latest viruses.  During that time you are extremely vulnerable to viruses and other malware despite having the latest security software on your computer.  Java software which is made by Oracle has been a particularly successful target of hackers and identity thieves.  According to Kaspersky Lab, flaws in Java software was responsible for about half of all the cyber attacks by hackers last year.    Much of the recent wave of attacks against American companies by the hundreds involved Java software vulnerabilities.  Now the Department of Homeland Security has identified new and dangerous vulnerabilities in Java software that can lead to your identity being stolen and your computer being compromised by hackers.  The Department of Homeland Security has even gone as far as to advise that people disable Java or prevent Java apps from running in your browser.

TIPS

I strongly advise people who do not need to use Java that they disable it.  Here is an important link from the Department of Homeland Security with information as to how to disable Java or to otherwise deal with its vulnerabilities: http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA13-064A

Scam of the day – February 21, 2013 – The threat to you of the recent hacking of hundreds of companies

February 21, 2013 Posted by Steven Weisman, Esq.

As I have been reporting to you, there have been a recent wave of serious hacking into companies such as Facebook and now Apple, that were long thought to be secure and safe from cyberattacks and these two companies are only two of the hundreds  that have been hacked.  Often companies do not publicize it when a hacking occurs. There is initial evidence that suggests that in the recent Facebook and Apple attacks, it may be the same people and the same vulnerability that is being exploited, namely a vunerability with Java software.  The Department of Homeland Security and many computer security experts are advising people to disable Java on their computers.  As I have told you previously, the computer security company Kaspersky Lab has indicated that Java software  security flaws were responsible for almost half of all cyber attacks in the world last year.  There are conflicting reports as to the source of these most recent hacking, some say Russia, some sayChina, but whoever it is,  the result is the same.  You and I are in danger.  There are plenty of criminals and foreign enemies who can get access to the technology necessary to hack into the computers of the companies and intrastructure of our country.  We are in grave danger.

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So what can you do?  President Obama spoke of the dangers of cyberwarfare in his State of the Union Address.  The President and Congress need to act now!  Email your Congressman and Senator and demand that they take action.  Their lack of action in the face of a problem of which they have been aware for a long time has made this problem worse.

As for you and I, as I have said before, our information is only as safe as the security of the weakest institution that holds it and we have seen that banks and other institutions are not secure.  Security begins at home so the first thing that you should do is to follow the security practices I describe in scamicide.com and in my book “50 Ways to Protect Your Identity in a Digital Age.”   Security software is important, but studies have shown it to be no more than 5% effective in protecting you from the latest viruses.  It generally takes about a month for the software security companies to catch up.  However, it is still important to have security software and make sure that it is current.   In addition, you need backup documentation in case records at your bank, brokerage house or any other place that holds your assets are hacked into and lost.  Copy them regularly to a thumb drive and keep the thumb drive in a secure place in your home.  You should also make paper copies on a regular basis of your bank accounts, brokerage accounts and all other financial accounts and keep them in a locked safe in your home.  Other personal documentation that you should copy and keep locked in a safe include birth certificates, Social Security cards, Deeds, Mortgages, credit card statements,insurance documents and evidence of all accounts that you may have.  This may seem a little over the top, but it really is necessary in case of a major cyberattack on this country.