4 steps to manage your digital afterlife

For better or worse, most of us will have a digital afterlife that will survive our physical existence here on Earth. To make the experience better rather than worse for those you leave behind, you'll want to manage your digital accounts to make sure your assets don't get buried in an "iGrave." As with all your assets and possessions -- including your digital assets such as purchased music or books -- you should specify how your assets are to be distributed after you pass away. The best way to do this is with a written will to make sure the disposition of your assets meets your wishes. But the digital era throws in some new wrinkles when it comes to disbursing your assets after you die. Let's take a look at some of the more important steps you'll want to take. 1. Manage your online financial accounts Many of us access our banking, insurance, and investment accounts online; each of these comes with various passwords and security features. In order to make it easy for your executor to do their job after you die, you'll need to create a written list of all your usernames and passwords for your executor and then keep that list updated. You'll also need to take steps to prevent this information from falling in the wrong hands either now or after you pass away. (Further on, I'll talk about online services that are available to help you organize your passwords and other security information.) You'll also want to find out just what your financial institution's requirements are for processing your accounts after your death. Many just need a letter of testamentary from the appropriate court confirming the identity of the executor, as well as the original death certificate; providing that information gives the executor access to your accounts without having to know your password. Other institutions may freeze your account until all the necessary paperwork has been processed, and then require a new account to be established. Whichever the case, you'll want to provide your Continue Reading

CBS News Logo DARPA’s “Grand Challenge”: $2 million prize for making cyber security smarter

Imagine designing a computer smart enough to defend itself from even the most cunning cyber attacks. That is the goal of more than 35 teams from around the world competing in the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency's Cyber Grand Challenge, which officially kicks off today. The winning team walks away with $2 million in prize money. DARPA is a think tank within the Defense Department and has been credited with creating the precursor to the Internet and also fostering the development of futuristic technology like humanoid robots and the self-driving car. The competition lasts for two years and involves teams of academics, security experts and hackers crafting a specially designed open-source operating system that will be able to protect a computer from attacks while allowing it to carry out its basic functions such as email and web searches. One of the big aims of the challenge is to get cyber security to catch up with the unfolding technological revolution that is the so-called "Internet of things.' Simply put, it is the idea of devices being able to communicate with each other. It may sound like something out of "The Jetsons," but it's already going mainstream. On Monday, Apple announced at its Worldwide Developers Conference it was launching a system called HomeKit that could lock doors or dim lights from your iPhone or iPad. "The networked civilization we are building is going to need to be able to make strong promises about the safety of software, because it won't just be guarding our data security - it will be guarding our physical security," said Mike Walker, DARPA program manager, in a reddit discussion. Furthermore, being hacked can be very expensive. One high-profile corporate victim, Target, was hit by $17 million of expenses in a single financial quarter after a data breach compromised as many as 110 million of its customers' payment cards or personal information in November and December 2013. "We have gone from company to company and seen the Continue Reading

Commentary: Securing Sunshine: How to better protect online public records

If a person wanted to inspect a public record “in the good old days,” he or she would need to go through the hassle of visiting a physical location, trolling through microfiches and paying for copies — usually after checking in with a clerk and (maybe) filling out paperwork.Today, public records are accessible instantaneously and anonymously online.What are we doing to protect public records and other publicly accessible information from exploitation? Our Legislature must address the serious information privacy and information security concerns raised by online public records.For context, information security concerns protecting the confidentiality, integrity and availability of data, particularly by using encrypted web protocols like HTTPS. Information privacy means the process of sharing personal information with trusted others, and limiting the possibility of personal information being shared with untrusted sources, such as using redaction and user privileges.To enhance information security statewide, Florida should follow the federal government’s lead by requiring all publicly accessible state websites and web services to use only a secure connection – Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure (or HTTPS). Essentially all major technology companies use HTTPS. As opposed to unencrypted web protocols like HTTP, HTTPS protects data from being intercepted and altered in transit. HTTPS also lessens the risk that nefarious actors will direct users to websites pretending to be state websites.Additionally, the Legislature should consider solidifying information privacy practices by requiring users to create an account to access public records, or perhaps use CAPTCHA – a program that helps restrict the ability of computer programs to extract data from websites.Our government’s information security and information privacy practices are not uniform. Currently, corporate filings – including businesses’ Continue Reading

The dangers of cloud computing: Is your information safe?

The “Cloud”. You may have heard of it and no, I don’t mean those fluffy things in the sky. But what is it? How does it work? And what does it mean for you and your family? You may be surprised to realize that you and your family likely use the cloud almost every day. Have you uploaded a photo to Instagram? Well, it’s now in the cloud. How about backing up your iPhone to the iCloud? That’s a little obvious, but yes, you’ve backed up your photos, contacts, and notes to a cloud. The cloud is the latest way of storing information and using services on the internet, but its origins go back to the 1950’s. At that time computers were expensive, and users needed to find a way to share the limited and valuable processing time. This idea of sharing is the foundation of cloud computing. Rather than have each individual user have her own terminal with its own software, the software or information is centrally located. She logs into her account, accessing the information in the office, on the road, or at her local café. It’s important to realize the cloud is not a physical thing per se. You can’t wrap your arms around it. Come to think of it, you can’t do that to a real cloud either! MIKE ROGERS EXPLAINS THE CLOUD ON THE LATEST EPSIDODE OF OUR WEBSHOW WORLD WAR E.  WATCH ABOVE. The cloud exists in massive server farms. You probably have driven past them and not realized it. They are massive warehouses filled with networks of servers running software, applications, and storing information. They are pretty cool to look at, with miles and miles of bundled cables, flashing LED’s, and whirring fans to keep the temperature down. Amazon Web Services, or AWS, is one of the largest providers of cloud services. Social media sites like Pinterest and Instagram host their platforms on AWS servers. Even the CIA and NSA use AWS to host some of its I.T. Continue Reading

Border security agencies, companies exploring ways to shore up national boundaries — including age-old use of sniffer dogs

While President Donald Trump continues to push for a border wall at the United States’ southern border with Mexico, the border security business continues to flourish. Thomas Tass, the chairman of Borderpol, told NBC News that, “There were more borders and barriers built in the last 10 years than ever before.” To be precise, around the world, there are at least 65 barriers, according to research from the University of Quebec as obtained by NBC. One way to safeguard these borders, outside of expensive (and perhaps knee-jerk) barrier construction, could be sniffer dogs, maritime surveillance, drone technology and “smart” fences, NBC News reports. But the debate becomes: a nation’s outward appearance versus the policies it actually lays out and enforces. That is, nations want to keep terrorists out, but do not want to restrict the rights of travelers (and refugees). In many cases, to counter this dichotomous approach, agencies and security companies are employing some of the aforementioned technologies. The border technology firm MSA offers “intelligent fences,” ground sensors and high-tech security cameras to pick up any unwanted visitors, NBC writes. The company’s European Operations Director Frank Doherty told NBC that it’s a realistic possibility that these technologies get applied to European nations, not necessarily only Middle Eastern countries where the work predominates now. The operations director said, however, that Europeans don’t quite wish to see bulky fortifications along their borders. “In Europe they’re more covert,” Doherty told NBC News. “They want to know the intruder is there but they don’t necessarily want to show everybody that they’re stopping them (from) coming in.” A maritime approach to monitoring immigration could very well become Continue Reading

Survivors still feel physical, psychological effects 30 years after first ‘postal’ mass shooting

Tracy Sanchez could not bring herself to pull into the parking lot the morning of Aug. 21, 1986. She drove past multiple times in a daze before she forced herself to revisit the Edmond, Okla., post office, the place where her coworker Patrick Sherrill "went postal," killing 14 people and himself less than 24 hours earlier. Sanchez and other survivors of the Aug. 20 Edmond Post Office massacre, many of whom were thrust back into the tragedy and made to work the very next day, still feel the effects of the shooting on its 30th anniversary. The way that victims are treated in the aftermath of mass shootings has changed as repeated attacks have created a grim tradition in American life, with survivors given more time to grieve and recover. But those shaken by one of the first mass shootings to grip the country's attention have a unique perspective on what it means to live with memories of a massacre decades later. "It's always going to come back to you. It comes back to me all the time … I still have nightmares. And I guess I always will," said Gene Bray, an 84-year-old who was shot in the side shortly after Sherrill stormed into the office just after 7 a.m. Sherrill, a 44-year-old part-time letter carrier who children in his neighborhood knew as "Crazy Pat", went on his rampage the day after being reprimanded for allegedly poor work. The attack and shootings at post offices in the early 1990s would introduce the term "going postal" into America's lexicon. A member of the local National Guard marksmanship team, Sherrill brought two .45 caliber pistols with him and locked many of the doors at his workplace before killing his first victim on a hot Wednesday morning, a supervisor named Rick Esser. He would go on to kill 14 coworkers in a rampage before turning the gun on himself in what was at the time the third deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history. At the time the attack was Continue Reading

Sec. Clinton was a bad manager: Look at how the State Department’s Office of Inspector General criticized her tenure

It’s safe to say Hillary Clinton is not a big fan of the State Department’s Office of the Inspector General. Although recent attention has focused almost exclusively on her private email server saga, the OIG — the department’s independent watchdog — was consistently critical of Clinton’s basic management skills throughout her tenure as the nation’s chief diplomat. Yes, OIGs always have tough words to say for heads of the federal departments they police. But in this case, the inspectors’ reports documented especially serious, recurring deficiencies that went unnoticed or untouched. These speak to the management prowess (or lack thereof) of a woman who now aims to run the entire federal government. Clinton, who was sworn in as secretary of State in January 2009 and left office in February 2013, by no means caused all of the management problems that surfaced during her tenure. But the OIG inspections covering the period from 2009-13 show a persistent pattern of the secretary herself doing far too little to fix flaws that existed before she arrived — or to get her arms around ones that cropped up while she was there. This was true for hot-button issues like the physical security of overseas posts and the integrity of State’s information systems network, but it also applied to core management responsibilities, such as personnel and financial management. Example: In September 2013, a year after the death of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, inspectors discovered that there was “no one person or office specifically tasked to oversee the assessment of risks in critical, high-threat locales,” or even maintain a comprehensive list or deficiencies that had been reported by embassies overseas. The inspectors concluded: “the Department of State has neither a conceptual framework nor a process for risk management.” The situation regarding Continue Reading

PEER Committee: Personally identifiable data in state hands may not be secure

Your personal identifiable data in the hands of state agencies may not be secure, the state's watchdog agency says.Last year, records belonging to the Department of Human Services containing such items as official birth certificates, bank account statements and Social Security cards were found scattered along a roadway in Hancock County.It prompted the state legislative watchdog group, Performance Expenditure and Evaluation Committee, to investigate how safely the state handles data.The PEER Committee reviewed the effectiveness of current policies regarding the management of confidential data collected by state agencies and their affiliates to determine whether personally identifiable information is being handled in a manner that best protects state residents.PEER's review found rules and regulations for handling personally identifiable information not covered by federal law vary and often do not follow best practices. For example, PEER found that agencies, excluding those that handle federally protective data: Division of Medicaid and the Department of Health, and student records handled by the state College Board and state universities, do not have uniform contracts for the use of data by third parties. More: Mississippi AG joins multi-state investigation into Equifax data breach The current rules and regulations of several state agencies contain gaps in security procedures, increasing the probability of a breach of confidentiality of personal identifiable information, PEER found. The weaknesses regarding state agencies’ management of personally identifiable information also extend to the management of information technology security.The Department of Human Services identified a defunct community action agency, Gulf Coast Community Action Agency, as the responsible party for the personal data scattered along a roadway in Hancock County. The Continue Reading

Bankers frequent ‘Dungeons of Pain’ to manage stress, cope with job pressure

A black eye or row of stitches may grace John Cholish's face when he meets with wealth-management clients at Merrill Lynch & Co. Those injuries occur after Cholish, 26, leaves his midtown Manhattan office and heads for the gym. He spends a couple of hours most evenings at the Renzo Gracie Academy on West 30th Street, kicking, throwing punches and tackling opponents, as they train to compete in mixed martial arts. “We get a lot of finance guys,” said Max McGarr, the gym’s program director and a professional fighter. “It’s a good release from their job. If you lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s good to come here and get it out.” Mixed martial arts is a contact sport combining aspects of wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, grappling, ground fighting, muay thai and other techniques, Cholish said. “It’s a great stress reliever,” said Richard Byrne, chief executive officer of Deutsche Bank Securities, who practices jiu-jitsu and sparring at Renzo with Cholish and other professional fighters. “Talk about a great way to get aggression out, and it’s an unbelievable workout.” Ultimate Fighting Championship has been the primary driver of the sport’s popularity, promoting and staging fights around the world during the past eight years, said Marc Ganis, president of Sportscorp Ltd., a consulting firm in Chicago. Gate receipts at the UFC 100 in Las Vegas in July were $5.1 million, according to information handouts provided by the company. Tickets sold for $100 to $1,000, and competitors were paid $5,000 to $400,000. Bankers’ Loft Cholish and his roommate, Erik Owings, also a professional fighter, converted the top level of their duplex apartment on the Upper East Side into a gym, where Byrne sometimes brings Wall Street colleagues to work out. “It’s the dungeon of pain,” said Brian Peganoff, an assistant vice president in corporate cash management Continue Reading

Major American airports report 268 perimeter security breaches since 2004 – though NYC data withheld for ‘security concerns’

Several hundred times over the last decade, intruders have hopped fences, slipped past guardhouses, crashed their cars through gates or otherwise breached perimeter security at the nation's busiest airports - sometimes even managing to climb aboard jets. One man tossed his bike over a fence and pedaled across a runway at Chicago O'Hare, stopping to knock on a terminal door. Another rammed a sports-utility vehicle through a security gate at Philadelphia International and sped down a runway as a plane was about to touch down, forcing officials to hold takeoffs and landings. At Los Angeles International, a mentally ill man hopped the perimeter fence eight times in less than a year - twice reaching stairs that led to jets. In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, a man who was on the run after stabbing a plumber scrambled over a barbed-wire fence and dashed into an empty plane. In all, an Associated Press investigation found 268 perimeter security breaches since 2004 at airports that together handle three-quarters of U.S. commercial passenger traffic. And that's an undercount, because two airports among the 31 that AP surveyed didn't have data for all years, while four others - Boston's Logan and the New York City area's three main airports - refused to release any information, citing security concerns. Until now, few of these incidents have been publicly reported. Most involved intruders who wanted to take a shortcut, were lost, disoriented, drunk or mentally unstable but seemingly harmless. A few trespassers had knives, and one man who drove past a raised security gate at O'Hare in January had a loaded handgun on the vehicle console. He told police he was bypassing train tracks. None of the incidents involved a terrorist plot, according to airport officials. The lapses nevertheless highlight gaps in airport security in a post-9/11 world where passengers inside airports face rigorous screening to prevent attackers from slipping through, and even unsuccessful Continue Reading