Category Archives for "Technology"

More Signs of the Times – Microsoft Seeking Money from Laid Off Workers

This is classic! Microsoft apparently “gave too much” in severance to some (all?) of the employees it recently laid off. Of course, this was the first mass layoff MS ever did, so they didn’t have any practice!

Not sure how I feel about this from the employees’ perspective…it would seem the ethical thing to do to give it back. But sheesh, MS, can’t you make your internal software work right?

Microsoft seeks money from laid-off workers – U.S. business-

Your Chance to Win an Epson Workforce 600 All-In-One Printer

I just bought an Epson Artisan 800 All-In-One printer. This thing is totally cool. Wireless. Networked Ethernet. OR USB. High quality photo-realistic printing as well as an ADF tray. Scans, faxes, copies, prints. Brushes your teeth. If you’re really nice.

Now, I see that the Silicon Valley Blogger, over at The Digerati Life, is giving away an Epson Workforce 600!

Sheesh. Guess if I win I can auction one off on eBay…

Anyhow, go check out how you can enter the contest.

Money isn’t everything. It’s the only thing. Wait. That’s only for football.
Enjoy life. Spend time with your family.

Biggest ID Theft Bust

Department of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff announced the biggest ID-theft bust in history last Tuesday.

Federal indictments unsealed Tuesday in Boston and San Diego against 11 individuals outlined an extraordinary global scheme that siphoned 40 million customer credit and debit card numbers out of the networks of nine major U.S. retailers and placed them – for a price – in the hands of individuals around the world, who in turn used them to make purchases or withdraw cash from ATMs.

Sounds pretty serious.

Chertoff called the indictment a “milestone” in the evolving history of cybersecurity.

“It’s an opportunity, in fact an obligation at this point, for everybody involved in this scenario to take a careful look at the security systems in place,” Chertoff said in the San Jose offices of the U.S. Secret Service, which investigated the case.

 I’d have to agree with this. The crime ring incorporated “wardriving” (finding open networks to exploit) and then created an online database to buy and sell credit card numbers, among other things. This cooperative effort was lucrative, too:

At least one of Gonzalez’s co-conspirators enriched himself to the tune of $11 million, according to the indictment. Gonzalez himself allegedly profited by at least $1.7 million and purchased a 2006 BMW, computers, a Glock handgun and a condominium in Florida where he let a co-conspirator stay for free in exchange for help in the scheme, the indictment alleges.

 It’s the same old story: Find the weakest link and break it:

The fact that the alleged hacking took place at retail outlets – and not banks, for example – suggested that the suspects were targeting weaker links in the network, Dunkelberger said. In some cases, the indictment said, the network and credit card data were unsecured; in others the suspects were able to crack the encryption. 

 I’m truly glad that DHS caught the thieves. But here’s the punchline: The ring, and its concomittant crimes, occurred beginning in 2004! Four year later, we find this out?

Schneier on Security: LifeLock and Identity Theft

Noted security guru Bruce Schneier wrote a piece that somewhat dispels the notion that LifeLock’s product is lacking in the security department. In case you don’t remember, LifeLock’s CEO drives around with a big van, where his social security number is boldly displayed on the sides of the vehicle. LifeLock has been sued; various claims that the company doesn’t do what it promises, that the CEO’s own identity has been stolen, among other things, have come to light.

Up until a few months ago, I was running ads for LifeLock; when the lawsuits were filed, I pulled them. Once the dust settles, I may reinstate them (as if they need my approval!).

Schneier pretty much discredits all the claims in this article: Schneier on Security: LifeLock and Identity Theft

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How to Back-up Your Life – Stepcase Lifehack

Contingency plans are always wise, and having backups available is part of that. Here’s an article, How to Back-up Your Life from Stepcase Lifehack, that points out the critical parts of your life that you need to back up. I’ve written about this before in various forms, but the link below will take you to an easy-to-use backup script for backing up computer files.

Back Up Data from the Computer Monkeys

Of course, there’s more to the article than backing up computer files. You also have to plan for contingencies in your personal life (plan on divorce, losing a spouse), money (of course! Wills, trusts, and insurance), and personal documents (like tax returns, birth certificates, and the like).

A home inventory is a good idea too.