Oct 09 2014

Welcome to Alameda Tech

Published by under Editorial

Hello everyone!

Welcome to Alameda Tech, where I (Michael Hatamoto / tech journalist, blogger) will publish my personal thoughts.  I write some great stories with hopefully pithy and knowledgeable insight, but enjoy keeping it light hearted and fun.  I will link to outside resources and might have a few guest bloggers drop by and provide additional insight in the future.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment – or email me: michael.hatamoto (at) gmail.com

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Oct 14 2014

7 Basic Tips to Help Prevent Identity Theft

Published by under Articles

Identity theft is a major threat that is receiving more media attention due to the large number of data breaches suffered by retailers. Target and Home Depot suffered data breaches that left millions of their customers at risk – but it’s not just those companies, as JPMorgan Chase also was targeted.

Identity theft affected more than 13 million U.S. residents in 2013 alone, and that number is only expected to grow in the future, according to security experts.

Unfortunately, it seems many consumers are blissfully unaware of the risk, even as banks continue to warn customers.

Want to keep your identity safer online? Here are seven basic tips to start with.

1. Don’t share your Social Security number or any personal information with unknown sources, including on the Internet

2. Look out for shoulder surfers when entering your PIN number at an ATM or at the checkout of a store. It sounds juvenile, but it’s a simple technique used by criminals to compromise victims.

3. Do not carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse

4. Shred all physical mail relating to banks or that contain your personal information, including bank statements, credit card offers, returned checks, etc.

5. Always protect your PIN number, and don’t write it down and keep it in a wallet or purse

6. Be proactive by monitoring your checking and credit card accounts – this can be done online and on your smartphone or tablet

7. Careful clicking links in emails! If in doubt, go directly to your bank’s website, rather than clicking potential phishing links

The tips provided are only seven techniques to help change your thought process, so you’re more aware of protecting your identity. Here is some additional reading material:

Federal Trade Commission Identity Theft information – LINK HERE
Equifax – LINK HERE

(Image courtesy of Salem News)

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Sep 27 2014

Jimmy John’s Sandwich Shop Hit By Data Breach

Published by under Articles,News

Gourmet sandwich shop Jimmy John’s has been hit by a data breach and 216 stores were reportedly affected by the breach.

It seems a third-party point-of-sale (POS) vendor was compromised, opening the door for cybercriminals to steal customer information. Debit and credit card information of affected stores is at risk, including card numbers, cardholder names, card verification codes and expiration dates.

Here is what the company said in a press statement:

We apologize for any inconvenience this incident may have on our customers. Jimmy John’s values the privacy and security of its customers’ information, and is offering identity protection services to impacted customers, although Jimmy John’s does not collect its customers’ Social Security numbers. For more information, call (855) 398-6442. In addition, customers are encouraged to monitor their credit and debit card accounts, and notify their bank if they notice any suspicious activity.

These types of data breaches are becoming even more common place, and a growing number of companies have been caught up in the cybercriminal chaos.

Image courtesy of Jimmy John’s

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Jun 30 2014

Quick Tips For Those of You Publishing Content Online

Published by under Editorial

A few of you recently asked me some writing-related questions, and I wanted to answer them in a brief blog post.  I plan to write additional blog posts that dig into writing topics in-depth, but this should suffice for now.

Read some quick tips after the jump:  Continue Reading »

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Jun 28 2014

Frightening State of Organized Snooping Facing Users

Published by under Editorial

Internet users are under attack and we can’t expect privacy online. Very few of us have true privacy when accessing the Web, and we sometimes take extreme methods to get it.

In reality, we face threats not only from rogue hackers and organized hacker groups, but there is an ever present threat that is often overlooked: federal governments. Following mass surveillance programs unveiled by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, we have been provided a rare glimpse of a rather complicated, and unnerving problem.

Security firm Kaspersky Lab recently unveiled some more frightening news about sanctioned hacking operations. A recent story I wrote for eTeknix highlights security risks Google Android and Apple iOS users face, courtesy of HackingTeam – a company with clients such as governments and law enforcement.

In the ongoing evolution of the hacker community over the past 10 years, the addition of state-sponsored threat actors has accelerated. Governments often rely on cybercriminals to either launch attacks to disrupt behaviors of political rivals, or to conduct cyberespionage.

When we think of state-sponsored hacking activity, most of the attention goes straight towards China and Russia, but let’s not forget Iran and the United States also take part.

Image courtesy of 

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Jun 05 2014

Suffer a Data Breach and Lose Customer Trust

Published by under Editorial

Trying to keep networks and infrastructure safe from cyberattack – with a specific focus of clamping down on foreign-based threats – is a constant struggle for security professionals.  The number of cyber intrusions has greatly increased over the past few years, with sensitive employee and customer data stolen and offered for sale by criminals.

As users struggle to keep their own personal data secure, companies likewise are unable to keep their infrastructure secure from attack.  In addition to the cost of data breaches, lost man hours to repair problems, and potential fines, the biggest issue following a data breach: customer trust.  However, companies might dodge a bullet until stolen data is being used for identity theft, fraud, and other illegal practices.

Additional thoughts and expert input available after the jump:  Continue Reading »

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Jun 04 2014

Microsoft Promises 45 New Apps for Xbox Console Platform

Published by under News

Microsoft has announced 45 new entertainment apps that will be available for Xbox 360 and Xbox One gamers, with support for Twitter, Showtime, and HBO all in the mix.  This is a whopping news announcement from Microsoft, as the industry is just five days away from the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles.

Here is what Microsoft said in a press release:

”Xbox fans are spending more time than ever on the console, spending more than five hours a day on Xbox One.  Today as we announce new commitments from dozens of our partners, including deep integration with experiences like Twitter and Vine, we hit an important milestone in our journey to deliver unique experiences on Xbox. We’re thrilled to break new ground in social TV experiences like we’re doing with Twitter on Xbox One.”

A full list of apps and services is available on the Microsoft website.  This is a solid move by Microsoft – with the Xbox One struggling in global sales when compared to the Sony PlayStation 4 – it’s important for the company to try to keep gamers engaged.

Sorry, Microsoft – but I am a PC gamer, and that won’t change anytime soon.  After weathering the storm “PC gaming is dying” storm a few years ago, the Xbox One and PS4 just aren’t appealing enough for me to want to own.  However, both consoles are very respectable and I wish both companies the best as the fight rages on.

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Jun 03 2014

McAfee Report Says Cyberbullying Has Tripled Compared to Last Year

Published by under Articles

The Internet is a wonderful place, but adolescents in teenagers reveal somewhat staggering cyberbullying statistics.  I wrote this story at TweakTown, but wanted to make sure everyone saw the full release.  Here it is:

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–McAfee, part of Intel Security, today released findings from the company’s 2014 Teens and the Screen study: Exploring Online Privacy, Social Networking and Cyberbullying. The annual study examines the online behavior and social networking habits of U.S. preteens and teens. The most significant finding from this year’s study reveals that 87% of youth have witnessed cyberbullying versus last year when 27% of youth witnessed cruel behavior online. This behavior was perceived to result in anger and embarrassment, leading to a broader theme about how online behavior is impacting their offline lives. The study highlights how risky online activity can follow them offline and possibly make them even more susceptible to cyberbullying.

“By uncovering our youth’s online behavior activities, parents, guardians, teachers and coaches can be more aware of cruel behavior that can potentially take place offline”

“Parents must discuss online activity with their children to better ensure their safety and security offline,” said Michelle Dennedy, chief privacy officer at McAfee. “Whether a child is a victim or an instigator of cruel behavior such as cyberbullying, the negative behavior can deeply affect their identity and their reputation.”

Full release and additional thoughts available after the jump: Continue Reading »

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Jun 02 2014

Press Release: Patriot Reinvents Wireless Charging with the Release of FUEL iON

Published by under Press Release

FREMONT, CALIF., USA – June 2nd, 2014 – Patriot, a manufacturer of computer memory, USB drives, flash cards and mobile accessories, introduces a reinvention of mobile wireless charging with its FUEL iON family. FUEL iON offers unrivaled wireless charging speeds as well as protection for smartphones.

Wireless charging took a large step forward eliminating the need for cords and making charging as easy as setting your phone down. The down side was the lack of charging speed. FUEL iON tackles that problem and more by delivering speeds as fast as corded charging, surpassing the speeds for induction charging. FUEL iON offers multiple charging bases, phone cases, and car chargers to suit every user’s lifestyle.

Full press release and additional thoughts available after the jump:  Continue Reading »

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May 28 2014

Alameda Police Department to Use License-Plate Readers

Published by under Articles

The Alameda City Council has approved $80,000 in funding to equip four Alameda Police Department squad cars with license-plate readers.

The thought of license-plate readers immediately stirred privacy concerns, and the type of collected information probably won’t ease those concerns.  The scanners will take photos of license plates, date and time of the image, and GPS coordinates to the vehicles.  All store information will be deleted after six months, assuming a police investigation isn’t underway, according to city officials.

Here is what Alameda Vice Mayor Marilyn Izzy Ashcraft said:  “We drive down public streets, road and highways all the time, and our license-plate numbers are not protected information.  There is no expectation of privacy, I would argue.”

This is a slippery slope that will raise privacy and snooping concerns – but with many cars stolen from Alameda, and stolen vehicles being abandoned on the island, could be an effective tool for the police.

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