As we mentioned in our first article, low password strength and password re-use are serious problems. Even if you use a very strong password, if you use that same username and password combination everywhere, you are putting yourself at risk. Every time you fill out a registration form for another account at another web site, you are giving your username and password information to the operators of that site– and, while most web site administrators responsibly store web site passwords in a strongly encrypted format, there are still some who don’t. It only takes a data breach at one website to compromise your information. So, even if you have the strongest password in the world, it can be compromised if you use the same password on every site.
On March 12th 2013 James Clapper, the director of national intelligence for the United States, told the Senate Intelligence Committee that cyberattacks are now the top security threat facing our country, and that it would be “hard to overestimate [their] significance”. This is but one of many reasons why it’s time to talk about your computer’s security again, and this month that means talking about a few popular web plug-ins with big security issues: Java and Adobe Reader. These programs are installed on a huge percentage of personal and business computers, as they’re used for various types of web content: Java for applets and Adobe Reader for PDF files. They’re free, widely-promoted, and commonly installed along with other well-meaning web-centric programs. They’re also cross-platform, meaning you’ll find them on Windows, Mac and Linux computers.
If you’re a business owner today, you almost certainly rely on computers to organize your business’ information. And, if you’re a computer owner, you have most likely heard that there are security concerns about using a computer: viruses, spyware, bad guys trying to steal your data, etc. The bad news is that, yes, there are attackers out there trying to compromise your computers.