Protecting Kids from Identity Theft

Editor's Notes: Over the past year, there has been a significant increase in identity thefts.  It's very frustrating and can happen to anyone. Our children are targets as well and we as parents need to help keep them safe.

Did you know that some of the information you proudly share about your kids on social media can be a helpful tool for identity theft? Every day, criminals scour social media platforms for personal information they can use to commit fraud. Kids can be victims of identity theft well before they reach adulthood as identity thieves are looking to assume the identity of your children.

It’s important to be informed as parents, and to be ready take action to protect your children with the most powerful identity theft protection available.


Protecting Seniors Online from Scams

Protecting Seniors Online from Scams, Hacks and Tax Fraud

Protecting Seniors Online from Scams, Hacks and Tax Fraud (377)

(NewsUSA) - The vast majority of seniors today are using the Internet at least once a week to check email, pay bills online and keep in touch via social media. But all that time online puts them at risk for scams and hacks, such as tax fraud.

In fact, a new survey by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care network, found that 67 percent of surveyed older adults have been the victim of an online scam or hack.

Encouraging seniors to practice cyber security can go a long way toward protecting their identity and sensitive financial information. Home Instead collaborated with the National Cyber Security Alliance to create Protect Seniors Online, available at, a free resource that educates older adults about cybersecurity. Here, seniors can test their cybersecurity skills with the "Can You Spot an Online Scam?" quiz.

Older adults can take the following steps now to protect themselves online:

*Password protect and secure devices, accounts. Lock all devices (including computers, tablets and smartphones) with secure passwords in case devices are lost or stolen.

*Think before clicking. When faced with an urgent request -- like emails asking for money -- think before clicking or get a second opinion. Clicking on links is often how scammers get personal information. When in doubt, trash an unusual message.

*Share with care. More than half (51 percent) of seniors surveyed by Home Instead use social media to stay connected. Use care when sharing personal information, adjust privacy settings to limit who can see your information, and turn off location sharing.

*Use security software. Install anti-virus and anti-spyware software and program it to run regularly. And be wary of pop-up ads or emails, many of which contain malware that can infect computers.

*Log out. Log out of apps and websites when you are finished. Leaving apps and websites open on computer screens could make you vulnerable to security and privacy risks.

*Recommend support. Older adults who live alone may need help from a trusted source -- such as a family member, tech-savvy friend or professional caregiver --to serve as a second set of eyes.

To explore additional Protect Seniors Online resources, including the interactive quiz, visit

A Home Instead office near you can be found by visiting

What to do after a data breach?

A data breach is just about the scariest thing that can happen to your business's or organization's technology.  It's an assault and it can feel very personal. Depending on what you do next can actually make the situation worse or quite a bit better. Here is an article from the Federal Trade Commission with general advice on how to proceed. It can be useful in developing an internal plan of protecting your information and how best to proceed in the event of a breach.

And please call The Computing Center immediately. We can be of help even if you know how to proceed. We can be the 2nd opinion and also can use our resources to confirm the plan. 

You just learned that your business experienced a data breach. Whether hackers took personal information 

from your corporate server, an insider stole customer information, or information was inadvertently exposed on your company’s website, you are probably wondering what to do next.

What steps should you take and whom should you contact if personal information may have been exposed? Although the answers vary from case to case, the following guidance from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) can help you make smart, sound decisions.


Blackbaud Security Incident

Many not for profit organizations in our community and elsewhere have used Blackbaud software and services for many years. In May of this year, Blackbaud suffered a cyberincidence where certain of the data on their hosted systems may have been compromised.  Here is Blackbaud's statement on the incident:

To be clear, this security incident apparently occurred only to those Blackbaud clients who use their hosted services.  On premise servers and systems - where the client owns and operates Blackbaud software on local servers, were not affected.


Backups are the Key to Cyber-defense

It has been common for most businesses, organizations, and individuals to invest in preventative cybersecurity defenses. Most organizations have technologies such as firewalls and anti-virus software that are designed to stop a cyber-attack. These controls certainly serve a purpose in fighting the war against cybercrime and should not be discounted.

But, cybersecurity professionals are recommending that we turn our attention to our ability to detect cybersecurity incidents and recover from them.

It makes perfect sense. The reality is that defending against all cyber-attacks is an incredibly hard task to do. Hackers are anonymous, perimeters are not physical, attacks are sophisticated, and the volume of cyber assaults launched every day is astounding. Defending against all cyber-attacks is a little like entering a cage fight blindfolded with one arm tied behind your back. Despite the best defensive efforts, you will get hit.

Hence the recommendation to invest the ability to recover from a cybersecurity incident. Of course we will continue to defend ourselves from cyber criminals, but we also recognize we are not fighting a fair fight, and that we may likely suffer a cyber incident at some point. The thought is simple: If or when we become a victim of cybercrime, we must be prepared to recover from the incident. We can then weather the storm.


If you do not regularly backup critical data and systems, then you must start doing so immediately. If you do not have a documented disaster recovery plan, then you must create one immediately. In the process of creating a data backup strategy and disaster recovery plan, please recognize the nine most common mistakes made and more importantly, how you can avoid making them in your quest for recovery preparation. 


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