Security news update (Feb 8)

While I try to send out timely notes via Twitter for security issues, I’m going to also try to periodically summarize recent news items with a blog post. This is the first such posting. Let’s get to it…

  1. If you haven’t updated your Adobe Flash player, you should do it right away. Adobe has patched 2-3 nasty bugs. Firefox has been blocking the older plugin (Chrome bakes Flash directly into the browser and updates it for you). To be absolutely sure, go to the Adobe Flash web site and download the latest Flash.
  2. Bowing to pressure from Congress and others, Verizon is supposedly going to allow people to opt out of their tracking “super cookie”. However, I think the only way to really put a stop to this is with regulation. This information is too valuable for companies to ignore.
  3. Apparently there has been a rash of IRS scams lately, including one where someone posing as an IRS agent calls you and threatens to sue you. Keep your guard up.
  4. Scammers are all over the Anthem data breach, as well. Have a look at this article and the FAQ from Anthem on how to protect yourself. When you get the opportunity to sign up for the free credit monitoring, be sure to do it.
  5. When the US government wants you to divulge information, it has been turning to National Security Letters. These secret demand notifications explicitly prohibit the companies from telling anyone that they have been served. It may be illegal for them to say when they’ve gotten an NSL, but (so far) it’s not illegal to say that they HAVE NOT. Enter CanaryWatch.org. Very clever. Let’s see how long it lasts.
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