Can changing your password change your life?

 

superman-password

Going through a tough situation? Trying to set goals? In this article, the author explains his (non-traditional) therapy by changing his passwords to relate to his personal goals. From wacky passwords such as “Forgive@her” and “Sleep@before12”, he was able to accomplish goals such as getting over depression and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Psychologist Ann Kearney-Cooke explains how we tend to choose emotional, anecdotal, and easy to choose passwords.

Hats off to all you goal setters! To better protect yourself, however, try adding complicated snippets to the end of your passwords. Check out CommonKey and its password generator feature.


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Hacking costs the economy between $375 and $575 billion per year

A new report by former US officials pegged the cost of hacking at up to $575 billion per year, writes the Wall Street Journal. It’s a huge number.

One of the biggest weaknesses, and a subject close to our heart, is insecure passwords, which are very often the entry point for hackers. So if you don’t yet have a team password management app, give CommonKey a try. And if you do have one, make sure to use long, randomized passwords and don’t recycle across different apps.

Be careful with your passwords, people.

Be careful with your passwords, people.

 


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Data Breaches Have Real Consequences as Target CEO Steps Down

35 years of hard work, true commitment, and company loyalty came to an abrupt end yesterday when Target’s CEO, Gregg Stinhafel, stepped down from his post. His downfall came out of the of cyber blue when last December a bunch of hackers snapped up 40 million customers’ credit-card numbers in one of the largest data breaches in internet history.

The incident has been followed by at least 90 lawsuits (and $61 million through Feb. 1 to settle them). The company’s announcement read: “…Most recently, Gregg led the response to Target’s 2013 data breach. He held himself personally accountable and pledged that Target would emerge a better company. We are grateful to him for his tireless leadership and will always consider him a member of the Target family. The board will continue to be actively engaged with the leadership team to drive Target’s future success and will manage the transition…[including]…a comprehensive CEO search”.

Stinhafel’s robust career ended with a pink slip because he did not take data security seriously enough. This episode should serve as a warning for managers everywhere that your job could be on the line if you fail to ensure that your company is using best security practices. Nobody ever got fired for going the extra mile to ensure that their company’s information is stored safe and secure.


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CommonKey Debuts at ERA Demo Day in NYC

DSC_0850 After 4 exciting months, the CommonKey team concluded NYC-based ERA‘s accelerator program, being one of ten startups in their sixth class. We had a chance to highlight all the progress the company has made in such a short amount of time. To learn more about the event, details can be found on one of the various media blogs covering the event. Links are below, along with a couple of additional photos. Here are the 10 startups graduating New York’s ER Accelerator today These 10 hot startups just rolled out of ER Accelerator Data, Dinner Parties, and … a Monkey Take Over ERA Demo Day

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The team setting up before the demo day presentations.

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Our CEO, Andrew Stroup, presenting CommonKey … and Miley Cyrus?

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Galina, the ERA program manager, hanging out with our mascot Coco.

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Our table contained an array of handout items such as: candy, stickers, post-it notes, pens, shirts, and bananas!


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CommonKey mascot Coco roams NY TechDay

ny-techday

The CommonKey team headed over to one of the largest tech events in NYC, NY Tech Day. Instead of setting up a booth, our mascot, Coco, decided to make the rounds at NY Tech Day to say hello to some of the awesome NY-based startups that are making a difference in the world. Coco was passing out bananas and taking lots of photos and selfies with the people who makeup the NYC startup community. Below are some photos of Coco and their teams.

admittedly

Admitted.ly is a college advisory tool that helps high school students identify suitable colleges and improve their chances of admission.

alumvest

AlumVest

bookalokal

Bookalokal, connecting people through food.

boxagon

Boxagon create and discover great set of things.

customizeio

Customize.io

dailysteals

DailySteals is a daily deals website that posts products and service deals daily.

gaggyl

Gaggyl, group experiences booking

insticator

Insticator is a platform enabling people to make predictions on their favorite TV programming and win rewards

ivyconnect

IvyConnect connects remarkable people who make a difference in the world.

jobsuitors

Jobsuitors

nycbigapps

NYC BigApps

twindollicious

Twindollicious

updater

Updater is an address-change system enabling people who relocate to get their mails forwarded and schedule utilities at their new homes.

weleetweet

 

Weleet is a social network for independent workers.


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Cyber insurance sales skyrocketing

percent-increase-in-2013-of-clients-purchase-cyber-liability-insurance2

Cyber insurance sales have skyrocketed in the past year as companies begin to realize how much damage data breaches can do to their businesses. While high profile hacks like the one that roiled Target last year have captured the vast majority of news headlines, increasing numbers of small and medium size businesses are finding themselves under attack.

A study by Hewlett Packard estimates that it costs businesses an average of $1 million to resolve a cyber attack. The insurance rate amongst businesses surged last year as they began to realize the intensity and severity of the threat that hackers pose to their bottom line. While the financial services industry has been quick to hedge against this risk, the health care industry has been slow to adopt. Is financial data worth more than health information? Let us know what you think!


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Online Security Front and Center as the Internet of Things Takes Off

Computers packed into boxes are transported on a conveyor belt at a Dell factoryBy now you’ve probably guessed that this blogger is somewhat passionate about information security. From poor password management to epic hacks, the range of security issues we face spans the gamut of incredulous to down right weird. These risks will in all probability increase we seek incorporate technology into our everyday devices and lives, dramatically raising the stakes for consumers and businesses alike. But the potential risks to businesses don’t stop at computers. Manufacturing has emerged another front for innovation as managers adapt their machines to communicate with each other wirelessly to produce efficiency gains. If a hacker were to gain access to my coffeemaker and made it spew grounds across the counter, it would be an annoying yet relatively simple cleanup process. if a hacker were to break into one of Maxwell House’s coffee grinders…the sky’s the limit.

CommonKey’s very own Andrew Stroup weighed in on this issue in a recent article published in Dell Tech Page One. When asked about wireless adoption in manufacturing, he said that businesses must first ask themselves “How does the new technology impact the current security practices of a company, and what modifications are required to ensure the same or higher security practices are integrated into the company to accommodate the integration of the new technology?” Employers must also recognize the importance of training their employees in best cybersecurity practices. All the technology in the world can’t make a network more secure if the people operating it don’t know the proper way to stay secure.


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Samsung Fingerprint Security Features Easily Cracked by Hackers

samsung-galaxy-s5-fingerprint_aioAs Ars Technica has reported, the security of Samsung’s heavily marketed fingerprint sensor in their new Galaxy S5 phone has been defeated by hackers, who were able to gain unfettered access to a PayPal account linked to the device.

The hack, which was initiated by researchers at Germany’s Security Research Labs, is the latest to show the drawbacks of using fingerprints, eye scans, and other physical features to authenticate a user’s identity. While some say that biometrics are a safer and easier alternative to passwords, the fact is that information is leaked every time a person shops, rides a train, or eats at a restaurant, which gives attackers plenty of opportunities to steal and reuse it. This new exploitation comes seven months after a separate team of hackers bypassed Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner less than 48 hours after it first became available.

“We expected we’d be able to spoof the S5′s Finger Scanner, but I hoped it would at least be a challenge,” Ben Schlabs, a researcher at SRLabs, said. “The S5 Finger Scanner feature offers nothing new except—because of the way it is implemented in this Android device—slightly higher risk than that already posed by previous devices.”

While we at CommonKey are excited to see new security features come to market, this latest story is yet another example of the need to ensure that new technical features are fully vetted and made secure before they get introduced to the market.

 


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Rough Going for Websites as Full Impact of Heartbleed Becomes Known

heartbleed

The impacts of the OpenSSL encryption flaw Heartbleed are becoming more widely understood in what has been called one of the largest security threats the internet has ever seen. The flaw, which has impacted companies such as Google, Facebook, and Yahoo, could let hackers gain access to users’ passwords and fool people into using bogus versions of web sites.

While the vast majority of these websites have patched this security flaws, it remains unknown how much, if any, user account data has been compromised. Because the glitch enables people with even moderate programming skills to engineer a way to passively monitor communications between users and website servers, the full implications of how this vulnerability was exploited may not be known for several weeks, if not months.

CNet has been keeping an updated list of major websites that have and have not been impacted by this flaw, and whether or not they have updated their security. If you have an online web service, you can go here to see if your website is vulnerable to the attack. Even if the flaw has been fixed, you should change your password if you have an account on any impacted website.


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Bug in OpenSSL puts secure online communications and passwords at risk

bleeding heartComputer security experts are advising website and network administrators to fix a major flaw in a type of software used by millions of websites to encrypt sensitive communications.

The flaw, nicknamed “Heartbleed,” is contained in several versions of OpenSSL, a cryptographic library that enables SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption. Most websites use SSL, which is indicated in browsers with a padlock symbol. CommonKey uses TSL, which is a more secure encryption that was not affected by this vulnerability.

This bug could let hackers gain access to users’ passwords and fool people into using bogus versions of web sites. Some already say they’ve found Yahoo passwords as a result. Exploiting this bug essentially enables hackers to monitor all information passed between a user and a web service, or even decrypt past traffic they’ve collected.

The bug was discovered by researchers from Codenomicon, a computer security company, and Neel Mehta, who works on security for Google. The scope of this problem could be vast, as many modern operating systems may contain an affected version of OpenSSL.

Cryptography consultant Filippo Valsorda published a tool that lets people check Web sites for Heartbleed vulnerability. That tool showed Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, Dropbox, and several other major Web sites to be unaffected — but not Yahoo.

Other Web sites shown as vulnerable by this tool include OKCupid, Imgur, and Eventbrite.

 


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