Calling all Starbucks lovers, DO NOT auto-reload your app!!

Starbucks logo

A recent Starbucks app compromise will steal not only your balance on your Starbucks app, but if you use the auto-reload feature, will steal that money, too.  Within 7 minutes, one woman had $134 stolen from the app.  http://www.today.com/video/customers-claim-bank-accounts-hacked-via-starbucks-app-446556739714

With one in 6 Starbucks customers using the app to pay and with $2 billion in transactions done on the mobile app last year, this will likely become a bigger and bigger target.  Experts say that hackers are getting away from banks and going more to these third-party apps, since they are a much easier target.

Remember that convenience comes at a cost.  If you like the convenience of the app, DO NOT use your debit card to do this, or you risk money being stolen from your bank account.  USE YOUR CREDIT CARD INSTEAD.  Or, do it ‘old school’ and simply pull the card out of your wallet to pay for your coffee.

And don’t think that Starbucks will help you, either.  Numerous stories have surfaced that Starbucks has been fighting with customers who want their money refunded.

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Calling all Starbucks lovers, DO NOT auto-reload your app!!

Phishing study

What is phishing?  It is an attempt by someone to gain information from you to steal your identity and profit from that information.  Attached is a recent study released at the RSA Conference this year.  I found it interesting and wanted to pass it on.  The biggest thing to note is that the criminals are constantly changing how they phish.  Always validate that the emails you receive are authentic.

Update: I found this McAfee phishing quiz that you can take to see how well you can spot a fake email.  Let me know what you scored!

Phishing study

Scam Against the Grieving

SDM grievingFamily

There is a new scam I heard about that preys on the grieving family of a deceased family member.  Cybercriminals will review obituaries and contact the families either via email or social media.  They will tell the families that the deceased had left a confidential message that can only be accessed by that person they are contacting.  They will ask for $2,500 in exchange for 3 DVDs and ‘very important documents.’  Obviously, once the money is paid, the contact stops and you are out $2,500.

Another recent scam is where criminals will research both the recently deceased and county records to associate real estate that belongs to the departed.  They will post these properties on real estate and rental websites and attempt to gain funds through downpayments.

The only reason why criminals pursue these activities is because they are lucrative.  Please use good judgement and educate your friends and family about this horrible scam.  Never trust anyone’s identity until you verify it yourself.  If you are dealing with a family loss, unfortunately you’ll need to do your due diligence with a Google search to ensure that this scam is not happening to your loved ones.  If you are the executor selling a property, you should engage a real estate agent quickly to help thwart off these attacks from happening to you.

Scam Against the Grieving

Why Big Data is Important to You

Occasionally, I will depart from security to share information that I find interesting.  Today, I would like to ask…What does Big Data mean to you?  Big Data is clearly the latest IT buzzword, but it is used to describe a ginormous amount of data so huge that it is difficult to pull the relevant information out of it.  To me, it means the start of the next generation of technology that will use data to solve real-world issues.

Rick Smolan is an author, photographer, speaker and a general Renaissance man.  I attended a conference where he spoke about his book and documentary, The Human Face of Big Data.  I’ve included a short video of his explanation of big data.  He says that we are ‘in the caveman era of big data.”  In the video, he uses a few fascinating examples of how Big Data is being used to eradicate or cure diseases.

I was told that through our increased use of Big Data, medical personnel will be able to to customize our prescriptions to our own DNA.  They estimate that our children  are going to live to be 150.  It’s an exciting time to be in IT and feel very lucky to be a part of this journey.

Big data

Why Big Data is Important to You