Judy’s Tech News Digest

Debit and Credit Cards Hacked at Target

hackedUp to 40 million credit and debit cards may have been hacked at Target stores.  According to Target,  “unauthorized access may impact guests who made credit or debit card purchases in our U.S. stores from Nov. 27 to Dec. 15, 2013.”

Breached information includes customer name, debit or credit card number, the card’s expiration date and the card’s CVV, that 3- or 4-digit number on the back of the card.

You should also closely review your bank and credit card statements and report any fraudulent activity to the card’s issuing financial institution.  You may also report fraudulent activity to law enforcement and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Visit their website to find out more about what to do about identify theft.

Some scams related to this breach have been reported. Here are some things to remember to prevent yourself from being a victim to this or any other scam:

  • Your bank or credit card company will NEVER ask you for any personal information via email.  Never give out your Social Security Number, birth date, address, usernames, passwords or credit or debit card information if it has been requested in an email.
  • Never click on any link in an email purportedly from your financial institution.  Instead of taking you to the institution’s website, it may install some nefarious software such as a key logger.  If you feel you must go the website, open up a new instance of your browser and go the website directly without using the link in the email.
  • If someone from your financial institution calls you asking you to verify your identity, hang up and call the bank directly to find out if it is legitimate.  Years ago, I had someone call me supposedly from my bank.  He started asking me strange questions, such as what my favorite color is.  I got suspicious, hung up and called my bank.  It was definitely not them.  Sometimes, you may get strange questions such as this.  It is an effort on their part to find out what might be an answer to a security question.  Never tell anyone on the phone in an email the name of favorite pet, your first car, your mother’s maiden name, etc.

ISS Spacewalks to Repair Pump Module This Week

issA series of spacewalks are planned for the coming week to repair a faulty pump module on the International Space Station (ISS).

The first spacewalk is planned for Saturday, December 21st.  The goal of this spacewalk is to do the prep work for the actual repair.  The repair effort will occur on Tuesday, December 24th.   Both spacewalks will begin at 7:10 AM EST.  The spacewalks are expected to last about 6-1/2 hours.

NASA Television will begin its coverage of the spacewalks at 6:10 AM each day.  If need be, a third spacewalk will occur on Christmas day to complete the installation.

Verizon to Make Surveillance Request Volume Public

verizonVerizon Communications Inc. announced that it will publish information on the number of requests for customer records it received from law enforcement agencies this year.  The National Security Agency (NSA) has come under considerable scrutiny and criticism after it was revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden that millions of American’s phone records had been collected.  The first report will be available online early next year.  Updates will occur semiannually.


Review Board Recommends Big Changes to NSA Surveillance Practices

nsa_logo_smallThe “independent” Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies ordered by US president Barack Obama in August has finally delivered its long-awaited report on NSA intelligence gathering practices, and it has been released to the public.

The report includes 46 recommendations none of which have to necessarily be accepted or enforced by government.

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