February Letter

Hi there,

Do you ever think about what is going to happen over the next five or ten years as a couple of generations find their lives are like the proverbial fly in the amber - recorded and preserved for all history to see?

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It's easy to understand how bad a permanent running digital record can go for anyone, but really hard to reason with and influence someone that doesn't understand or care. We see plenty of that at TDS and think this article from the MIT Technology Review is spot on when they say:

"it’s not just individuals who might suffer. Something much larger—the potential for social change and transformation—may also be at risk." 

The fly in the amber images are a visual expression of what our kids need to know and understand. New, digital age life-skills are needed for survival and success in the future, and in the U.S., we aren't being led to change.

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The information-industrial complex assures we remain apathetic about privacy and personal information, and it's only us as parents and grandparents that can preemptively drive those we love to adapt before it's too late. 

Every day we help families adapt and impress upon their kids the value of privacy, personal information, and digital autonomy. We've learned a few tricks along the way, so contact us if we can help you and yours.  Click for the MIT Technology Review article, here.  

Damage Tolls

The FBI just released its annual record on cybercrime for 2019. The New York Times reports on the facts:  

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Here are some of the report's key points:

  • $3.5 billion in total damages, up 350% since 2015.
  • The FBI's run-rate for new reports is 1,200 per day.
  • Victims aged 60+ represented almost $1 billion of the damages.

Most astounding is the average ransom cost, up almost 1,000 percent in a little over a year. 

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In 2015 I wrote about ransomware,  the evolution of extortion, and that cybercrime was going mainstream. When you couple cyber with any crime, it makes the act far easier and safer to perpetrate than its traditional form.

The loot is digital currency, which for bad guys means anonymity, portability, and liquidity - the perfect treasure chest. The pool of potential victims is limitless and for the most part, oblivious, unarmed, and faceless. 

It's not surprising we are seeing cybercrime grow at rates dwarfing anything humanity has seen like it before.

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The full report by the FBI is here, and the NY Times article here.

By the way, cryptocurrency scams took in more than $4b in 2019. Read more from the Wall St. Journal, here.

Macs Now More Vulnerable Than PCs

Did you know, for the first time Macs are now more vulnerable to malware than PCs?

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See the top news tile below for more about Mac malware, understanding adware, and the trends at hand. 

Wi-Fi Hacking

New variants of ransomware now target networks and potential victims from the area around them. It's like getting a disease from someone across the street, without ever having encountered them or the infection before.

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"Emotet, the notorious trojan behind a number of botnet-driven spam campaigns and ransomware attacks, has found a new attack vector: using already infected devices to identify new victims that are connected to nearby Wi-Fi networks."  The Hacker News, Feb.12 2020

Adding insult to injury for Wi-Fi, this from Phillips on February 5th:

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*** Ransomware attacks on home and office Wi-Fi's will soar over the next several years. Good passwords are essential and Managed Network Security provides comprehensive and autonomous security 24/7. More, here.

How Private is Your Email?

From a cyber risk standpoint, bad things typically start with an email. Easily, it's nine times out of ten where the victim's email account is the "vector" for an attack's successful penetration. 

Like Auckland, NZ's mayor, Phill Goff, many do not understand the vulnerability and risks they take when using common email services.

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One of the smartest things one can do for survival and success in the digital age is to privatize their personal email accounts. And in our experience, nothing works better than a family email domain to get family members onboard.

To see an example of email gone bad in a really big way, check out the victims fund where every Yahoo Mail account at the time of the breach was hacked. 

We're Growing!

TDS is growing and in 2020 we added two important partnerships to our business.

  • Private Clients - A nationally recognized wealth management company added TDS as a preferred provider. The firm serves wealthy individuals, entrepreneurs, professionals, athletes, and family offices with financial planning and investment management services. We're excited to be able to work with their trusted advisors to provide our privacy and digital security solutions to their clients and their families.
  • Executive Services - The CEO of a large NYSE company became a customer in January after an extensive period of due diligence by his firm in 2019. Now, we're working with the company to add senior executives and corporate board members to protect their homes and personal computers with the same enterprise cybersecurity solutions we provide to all our clients.

While this new business is "institutional," I assure you, our delivery is still very much "personal." The most effective approach to cybersecurity combines enterprise-grade protection with an individual that is aware, informed, and can think critically when confronted with things not seen before. 

Buying a New Computer?

Over the past couple of years, we've had clients ask us for help buying their next computer. We help them determine which brand and model is the most suitable and represents the best value for their needs.

We assist in the order process, take delivery on their behalf, and outfit it with Computer Protection, Private Email, and a VPN. Then we ship it, and the client receives their new computer locked down with all security functions installed and ready to go.

We aren't charging clients for the service during February and March, so contact Diane if you're thinking about a new computer.

Thanks for reading,

Brad Deflin

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Click for print version

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Macs Outpace Windows for Malware 

Macs are more vulnerable to malware than PCs for the first time. IT Pro Portal, Feb.12, 2020.

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Phone Hacks Can Happen to Anyone. Here’s How to Protect Yourself.

Start by knowing what could expose you to an attack, like vacation clues, hotel Wi-Fi and inadequate verification procedures. NY Times, Jan. 31, 2020.

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How to Take Control of Your Notifications

Apps and websites regularly push alerts to your devices, but there are ways to minimize disruption and still stay in the loop. NY Times, Feb 5, 2020.

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11 Simple Tips to Effective Email Management

At the end of the day, email is just a tool for you to get your tasks done. Here  are 11 tips to improve your email management. LifeHack, Feb. 2020.

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99 Updates for Windows in February

And Adobe issues dozens more. Software updates are critical for privacy and security. The Hacker News, Feb. 11, 2020.

Computer Protection from TDS does the updating for you, quickly and automatically as soon as updates are released.  

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The Best Way to Start Protecting Today? Privatize Your Personal Email

Go private! Well over 80% of cybercrime originates with an email. 

  • Own your email - not Big Tech.
  • Individuals, professionals, families - for privacy, security, and physical safety.
  • Your digital safe-zone for life.

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