October cyber security awareness month, ransomware statistics and lots of security updates to watch out for.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday October 2nd, I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for ITWorldCanada.com.

 

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October is cyber security awareness month. I assume listeners to this podcast worry about cyber security. Good. But here’s something to think about: The federal government’s Canadian Centre for Cyber Security notes you don’t have to be an expert to protect yourself from cyber threats. In some cases you might already be doing things to lower the risk, like using anti-malware software on your Internet-connected devices, having a different password for sensitive sites like home computers, email, banks and social media, using a password manager to manage them all, making sure all devices have the latest security patches. It’s doing other things that are harder, like being careful of clicking on links in email and text messages. So today’s message is keep up the good work, and read your email, text messages and social media messages slowly.

Cyber security awareness month is a time to review statistics on how bad a job companies are doing. Here’s one: According to a security vendor called Emsisoft, In the first nine months of this year in the United States at least 621 government entities, healthcare service providers, school districts, colleges and universities were affected by ransomware. Baltimore alone has to pay $18 million to clean up the mess. Remember, these are just publicly-reported cases in the public sector. There were probably many more that organizations are silent about. And of course, there were successful attacks in the private sector.

Last week I mentioned hackers were exploiting a new vulnerability in software called vBulletin, used to create user forums. Well, an antivirus company called Comodo has acknowledged that six days after news broke about that serious bug someone exploited it and may have accessed the database behind the forums. That means usernames, real names, e-mail addresses and more for about 245,000 people. As a precaution people who have registered an account on the Comodo user forums should change their passwords. They should also watch their email for suspicious messages.

Users of the Words with Friends and Draw Something smartphone apps should also change their passwords. The games’ developer, a company called Zynga, says login details of some players may have been copied by a hacker. One news report alleges a huge number of people had information stolen including names, email addresses, phone numbers and scrambled passwords.

Those of you who administer forums using vBulletin better get cracking and install the latest version.

And if you’re an administrator of a system that uses the Exim email server, make sure you install the latest urgent security update.

Finally, Apple has another security upadate for the iOS operating system. Make sure iPhone and iPad users get it.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at ITWorldCanada.com. That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening.



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