For those of us who think we are pretty good at keeping our information safe, I would highly suggest you think again. Most leading government organizations have issues on keeping their data secure. Take for instance NASA. According to a recent article in Popular Science, NASA was targeted some 47 times last year by cyber criminals and they were successful 13 times giving hackers full control of critical NASA networks. They even lost the codes to control the International Space Station at one point.
NASA is often a target for cybercriminals and often NASA hardware is stolen. Between 2009 and 2011, 48 mobile computing devices were lifted from NASA or NASA employees. One of which containted those control codes for the ISS. Believe it or not, the device in question was not encrypted, and it appears that a lot of NASA devices are like this.
One would think that NASA, a pioneering government organization would have this type of stuff under wraps considering they have a 1.5 billion dollar a year IT security budget. It gives you the sense that if somebody really wanted to, they could easily get into your computer and get your personal information.
Furthermore, think of all of the companies and business that are not NASA, with much smaller IT budgets, that are targets all the time. Hackers could easily can access to these networks without anyone even knowing it and that often happens. A good recommendation is that you be very cautious with your personal information and where you put it. Doing research into security standards and checking to see if companies have had previous IT breaches.
You can also encrypt your hard drive with Windows BIT Locker or 3rd party software if you would like. You can use software such as Pretty Good Privacy (PGP), TrueCrypt, or CyberAngel.
You can never be too safe with your personal information!
As many of you have probably heard, there are forces of power collaborating over two pieces of legislation, that if passed, could threaten the Internet and all of the vast freedoms we take advantage of. As we all know, the Internet is a world where people from all over collaborate to share information, build friendships, and openly express themselves, but what happens if it’s all taken away?
A little background information on the two laws currently under open debate in congress are SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act). These bills, opposed by a force of businesses titled The Net Coalition, essentially empower the government to put an end to piracy and copyright infringements, using any means necessary up to shutting off a persons or companies access to the web. The bills, designed to help enforce copyright holders in the United States, allow corporations to seek court orders forcing payment providers, search engines, and advertisers to stop doing business with these infringing sites. It doesn’t stop there, provisions of SOPA also permit the government to issue court orders to Internet Service Providers to enforce a DNS block on infringing sites (even though the IP’s would still make the website reachable). To take it one step further, these laws even empower copyright holders to require entities such as YouTube to take down videos of people singing other’s songs, which again if passed, can claim infringe the copyrights held by music companies
Today, January 18th, marks the official first blackout day for the major companies on the internet that oppose these bills. Corporations such as google, wikipedia, and craigslist have all blacked out their websites in protest, requiring users to view a little statement of their feelings regarding these bills before being able to continue browsing through their site, all of which also have a form that can be signed to enlist yourself in their protest on these laws.
It’s quite simple, these law’s threaten the freedom’s that many of us truly cherish, and unless we all band together to vocalize our opinions, we risk losing our right to express ourselves and speak freely.