Month: February 2014

Protect yourself from Keylogger Programs!

What are Keyloggers? We hear so much about the bad things which can happen to your computer when you get attacked, and your machine becomes compromised by hackers. Yet what are these mysterious little programs?the finger

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Keyloggers programs are software programs or hardware devices which record (log) user input on keyboard devices, and in most cases this will occur without the user’s knowledge or their consent. This is a popular way that Black-hat crackers steel user information from Bank accounts. Sometimes organizations will legally use key-logging programs and devices to monitor their employees.

Popular hacking tools such as Metasploit include keylogger and screenshot tools which allow the hacker or penetration tester to capture keyboard input once the victim computer is compromised. In fact many organizations perform what are called penetration tests which seek to test how susceptible their computer systems are to these kinds of attacks.

What are some ways to prevent your system from becoming infected, compromised and having key-loggers installed on your computers?

1. Use safe browsing programs like noscript for Firefox. Here’s a link to a video I created on how to use it: How Install and use NoScript for Firefox

2. Read Brian Krebs excellent blog on security issues, just keeping up with with his columns can help you become safer. If you own a linksys router you should read this article immediately:

3. Use different passwords for different web-sites which have combinations of complex characters, numbers and special characters. Here’s a video I created on that (Complex Passwords).

In a future article I will discuss using the lastpass program to create, and save complex passwords.

Finally below is some further recommended reading on keylogger programs. Don’t be a victim, some business have literally been put-out-of-business by keylogger programs.

Here is a Symantec “Introduction to Keyloggers”:

Here is a Kaspersky article on “What is a Keylogger?”

As always I’m happy to answer questions you may have.



Get Back into Sync (Centering Yourself)

The Middle WayGet Back into Sync (Centering Yourself)

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If we all get out of sync sometimes, then how do we get back in sync? That’s a question I been asking myself for some time, and I believe there is no perfect answer, only tools we can use when stress and the feeling we are falling off the beam occur. One of the most important things in my personal experience has been first acknowledging that I am out of sync. I realize this may sound overly simplistic, but so many times as I am falling further and further out-of-sync I find myself struggling harder against the tide. So the first thing which I try to do is, release, acknowledge something isn’t working and allow this to be OK. From here I can release some tension, and many times I will feel it leave my body. This leads next to giving myself a “moment of personal peace,” and this to me simply means just raising the time-out flag where ever you are and even giving yourself 30 seconds of peace (off-line). Next I will use one of my tools: deep breathing, chanting a Mantra (everyone knows OM,) and then one of the most important things I have found is allowing myself to be humble, admit I may be looking at things in a closed minded way, thinking about if there was a different way to handle the situation, how would I do it.

The Intention behind the Moment Creates Value (or destroys it)

The intention of my mind and heart, is where everything bad or good starts. The mental energy is like a beam of radar which reaches out, and touches other people. When I give first emotionally, I always receive. It’s sort of like the energy between two people functions on a micro-level, the same way giving first and then receiving seems to work well always everywhere in the universe.

I have worked in the technology field for almost 30 years, and I can say that having good intention and giving value upfront to people (clients), before asking some something in return is a great tool. In all the Cybersecurity breaches we are seeing occur these days, a major factor in the fall-out, and public relations damage done is in the way the company handles the unfortunate incident. These days it’s not if, but when and how often you will be attacked successfully. Incident response becomes critical, and being honest, humble and truthful. I bring this up because this is a direct example of how applying these principles can have a positive impact, even in difficult scenarios.

Simplicity, Humbleness, Honesty, Value Creation, and Being Continuously Aware are very powerful.


Most Businesses Protect Their Customer List, But Not Their Customer Data

Most Businesses Protect Their Customer List, But Not Their Customer Data

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I recently attended an Internet start-up event which featured various internet start-ups pitching to an investor panel; and a live audience to listen and ultimately vote for their favorite start-up. I also had the opportunity to personally speak with several start-up founders. I asked the folks I was able to speak with what they did regarding Cybersecurity and protecting themselves from hacker attacks. I was stunned to receive answers such as: “my security guy just opens the ports we need,” or “Google will handle it.” Even more shocking I observed that as the Investors gave the start-up founders feedback in the audience none of them mentioned information security concerns once. I certainly understand that Cybersecurity and protection from hackers is not a budding start-ups main concern, but in my opinion it needs to at least be on the radar.

There are several well documented examples of brick and mortar, as well as Internet only organizations being put out of business completely by miscreant hackers and in short order too. Recently a 1.5 million dollar California organization was put out of business after hackers stole a majority of the funds in their bank account. Sadly most operations don’t realize they’re in trouble until they experience a major loss; these losses can be financial, customer data or in many cases both. What’s the point of building a great new brand only to have it pillaged and destroyed by the bad guys?

As the evening wore on and I listened to some of the presenters in many cases I noted they were handling highly sensitive customer data and would essentially be a black-hat hacker’s dream come true. I don’t think many of the people at this wonderful event realized how much liability they had which was not being adequately addressed.

So where can you start in your efforts to build a fortress around your business that keeps the bad elements out, yet does not interfere with encouraging healthy flows of commerce on your site?

One answer is to understand where your customer data resides and protect it. The data which you need to protect can be on your servers, on hard drives, traveling across the internet, and even in the minds of your staff and vendors who service your organizations. The first step is to assess how safe all this highly sensitive stored data really is. One way to start is by performing what is called in the security industry a vulnerability test. Simply put, this means a security professional will spend some time with you and your organization using special tools which are able to determine how secure your computers and data really are.

The most important point I would like to get across is simply to start. Cybersecurity is a journey not a destination, and it all starts with the first step.

Best of luck to you in protecting your customer data – Inbound and Out

As always I am happy to answer any questions you may have!

Three Books I Love

Here are three books which I really enjoyed reading and love. One common thread that all three books share is they are about building a quality inner life.

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Book #1 “Writing from the Inside Out: The Practice of Free Form Writing”

Last year I took a course in poetry from the Southern New Hampshire University which was run by Professor Stephen Lloyd Webber who I highly recommend. I discovered his book “Writing from the Inside Out: The Practice of Free Form Writing” which is not only a wonderful book for creative people to help them in connecting their creative processes with their spiritual existence, but really had some great tips like “The Writing Marathon.” I tried a writing marathon which was four hours long, and it resulted in the production of a 14 page screenplay. I highly recommend this book not just for writers, but anyone looking to get more in touch with their creative side.

book #1

Book #2 The Tao Of Health, Sex and Longevity

This is a great introduction to the Tao, and how to integrate it into our daily lives. I have used the exercises, practices, and dietary recommendations over the last 14 years to be happier, lose 40lbs, keep it off, and get more in touch with my inner life and dialog.

book #2

and finally book #3: Life Story of Milarepa
This book is about the story of Milarepa who lived in Tibet a long time ago, but is considered a saint in Tibetan Buddhism. While this book is mainly aimed at Buddhists, it’s also an amazing story of perseverance, courage and great spirit. It’s a short great read and highly recommended.

book #3

I’m always happy to share a dialog on any of these books, so feel free to leave a comment or contact me.