Friday, December 6, 2013

Cybersecurity and Bitcoins for the holidays

I concluded KPBS and others on the ACA for the week of Thanksgivingwith "Speaking of technology and security, I have some items about both for holiday shopping.  Stay tuned."  It's time for this timely advice.

University of Georgia advises that Holiday shopping should include online security steps.
November 26, 2013
Athens, Ga. - Many holiday shopping lists include online purchases, but is that website safe for credit cards? A security proponent at the University of Georgia has some tips for secure online shopping for shoppers making their lists and checking them twice.

"Use your head when doing your online shopping this holiday season," said Laura Heilman, a security awareness and education manager in the university's Enterprise Information Technology Services office. "Do not shop on public Wi-Fi networks or on public computers. And, avoid making purchases directly through links in emails."

Heilman suggests shopping online with a credit card, instead of a debit card.
Next, KPBS takes a technological angle on shopping with Why Some Holiday Shoppers Are Spending Bitcoin This Black Friday By David Wagner.
Friday, November 29, 2013
Bitcoin—the currency of choice for buying illegal goods online—has cultivated quite the bad-boy image. But some entrepreneurs believe a wholesome makeover could take this unregulated digital currency mainstream, and what could be more wholesome than holiday shopping?

On Black Friday, Bitcoin boosters are urging shoppers to ditch their credit cards and open up their Bitcoin wallets. And shoppers like David Allison are doing just that. He's been giving a lot of thought to what he'll buy for his wife this Christmas.

"My wife and I are expecting a baby in March," he says. "And I know she loves the concept of nesting."
Follow over the jump for more about technology and security.

Iowa State University: Iowa State engineers use keyboard, mouse and mobile device ‘fingerprints’ to protect data
Posted Nov 18, 2013 4:30 pm
AMES, Iowa – We’ve all typed in a password to access a computer network. But how secure is that? Passwords can be hacked or hijacked to get at sensitive personal, corporate or even national security data.

That reality has Iowa State engineers looking for methods beyond passwords to verify computer users and protect data. They started by tracking individual typing patterns; now they’re working to identify and track individual patterns for using a mobile device or a computer mouse.

Morris Chang, an Iowa State University associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, says the patterns are unique to individuals.

“These pauses between words, searches for unusual characters and spellings of unfamiliar words, all have to do with our past experiences, our learning experiences,” he said. “And so we call them ‘cognitive fingerprints’ which manifest themselves in typing rhythms.”
University of Alabama, Birmingham: How a cybersecurity expert protects his smartphone
By Kelli Hewett Taylor
Friday, November 15, 2013
Smartphones are vulnerable, but a majority of people fail to protect their mobile devices.

Cybersecurity expert Ragib Hasan, Ph.D., director of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s SECuRE and Trustworthy computing Lab (SECRET Lab), follows several simple steps to protect himself.

An assistant professor of Computer and Information Sciences, he says most people ignore the single best way to protect personal smartphones.

“Your smartphone is more vulnerable than any other electronic device,” Hasan said. “The simplest, most effective thing you can do is to set up a passcode, but people don’t usually want to bother with it.”
Be safe and secure this holiday season!


  1. Bitcoins are the new dollar. I just love them and I would like to share with you how to spend them, where to spend them and the current exchange rate of bitcoin. Bitcoin does have a page where you can find all this information:

  2. Thanks for commenting on my entry. I returned the favor by leaving a comment on your G+ entry about Bitcoins.

  3. I should delete your unpaid ad, but as it's on topic, I'll let it stay. Besides, it serves you right to place your spam in a space that's critical of Bitcoins. May the context work against you.