Please Explain: Cybersecurity and Cybercrime

Friday, January 17, 2014

Peter W. Singer, director of the Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence and a senior fellow in the Foreign Policy program at the Brookings Institution, explains how security breaches like the recent ones at Target and Neiman Marcus, happen, who is behind them, and how cybersecurity works and why it matters. He’s co-author of Cybersecurity and Cyberwar: What Everyone Needs to Know, written with Allan Friedman.

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Peter Singer shared some tips for protecting ourselves—and everyone else we're connected to—online.

Strong passwords: Don't use same passwords on all your accounts. Passwords are being sold on the black market. Make your passwords hard to guess (don't use PASSWORD or 12345, which are the most common passwords). Singer also mentioned that security questions like "what is your mother's maiden name?" are easy to look up, so answer that question with the name of your favorite food or your first pet's name.

Don't take hardware from strangers, don't click on links from strangers, and don't open attachments from strangers. Don't click on anything that looks suspicious. And definitely don't click on links offering nude photos of the French First Lady or anyone else.




Peter W. Singer

Comments [7]

tom LI

Re; mothers maiden name, etc - you do know there is no law that demands you answer it correctly? Use Rumpelstiltskin if you wish! make up a name...same with the other sensitive answers...make it up!

Jan. 17 2014 02:00 PM
Dan from Brooklyn

Important point about mothers maiden name. When will companies stop asking for this information that is so easy to find?

Jan. 17 2014 01:54 PM
JDR from CT

Don't most of the major cyber break-ins involve people on the inside, just like many conventional robberies? Why don't we hear about these disgruntled or ex-employees being prosecuted. Why is there no penalty to the companies who fail to protect confidential information?

Jan. 17 2014 01:44 PM

Keep your work and play separate; Best: Keep a separate, discrete computer for sensitive data/transactions, such as banking. Harden the OS and browser as much as possible; no plugins, esp. the infamous Flash.

Next-best: Bank, etc. from a (GNU/)"Linux Live CD", as recommended by Brian Krebs and others.

"The only truly secure system is one that is powered off, cast in a block of concrete and sealed in a lead-lined room with armed guards - and even then I have my doubts. "
- Gene Spafford

Jan. 17 2014 01:43 PM
Jm from NYC

Please ask about Identity Theft - how to protect oneself.

Credit card companies protect against fraudulent purchases. Do they also protect personal information, like date of birth, addresses, etc.

Jan. 17 2014 01:30 PM
Priscilla from Harlem

Just this morning, I got an email from Target (or was it phishing?!?) from Target related to the security breach, offering a free year of credit monitoring from Experian. Should I trust this email? Would a credit monitoring service really protect me from this kind of breach happening again?


Jan. 17 2014 01:27 PM
John A

Why does my computer need so many open ports at all? Can I just shut off all my open ports except for a very small handful?

Jan. 17 2014 01:18 PM

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