5 Things - Week Ending 01/24/14

This is the 56th post in a series called 5 Things. Each week I will share a combination of technology articles and apps that I have discovered and liked in the past week. Anything highlighted in blue is a link to an article, an app, or another section of my website.

But Target’s latest misfortune should surprise to no one — least of all Target. The security measures that Target and other companies implement to protect consumer data have long been known to be inadequate. Instead of overhauling a poor system that never worked, however, the card industry and retailers have colluded in perpetuating a myth that they’re doing something to protect customer data — all to stave off regulation and expensive fixes.

The whole Target situation is a mess. It doesn't surprise me that this happened though. It is very lucrative for hackers to try and get credit card and debit card information and then either use it or sell it on the black market.

When I teach my community ed class titled "Staying Safe In A Digital World", I recommend that you never use your debit card online. I think I am going to add that you should never use your debit card in the real world. The fact that your debit card is linked directly to your checking accoutn where your money is sitting doesn't feel very safe with people hacking away at websites and physical retail stores.

I would just assume that American Express takes all the risk if my card number gets stolen.

After hack, Target offers year of free credit monitoring

Dara Kerr:

Tens of thousands of people likely received a conciliatory e-mail from Target on Wednesday (1/15/14). In an effort to temper the repercussions of its massive data breach, the big-box retailer offered to give affected customers one year of free credit monitoring from Experian — valued at $191.

To sign up for the free year of credit monitoring you will need to visit https://creditmonitoring.target.com and sign up before April 23rd.

When ATMs were introduced more than 40 years ago, they were considered advanced technology. Today, not so much. There are 420,000 ATMs in the U.S., and on April 8, a deadline looms for nearly all of them that underscores how sluggishly the nation’s cash delivery system moves forward. That’s the day Microsoft (MSFT) cuts off tech support for Windows XP, meaning that ATMs running the software will no longer receive regular security patches and won’t be in compliance with industry standards.

Sounds like the ATM industry better get to work or they may find themselves the next target of the hacker community...

T-Mobile wireless price war feared

Brad Reed:

Here’s how you know that T-Mobile is onto something: It’s making Wall Street very nervous for all the right reasons. Reuters recently talked with several financial analysts who all expressed fear that T-Mobile was sparking a pricing war in the wireless industry and that carriers were starting to actually compete with one another for our business.

I switched to T-Mobile this fall when I bought my iPhone 5S and I couldn't be happier with them. I had a good experience at the T-Mobile store in Apple Valley. I like the fact that they don't have two year contracts. They offer interest free financing if you don't want to shell out big bucks upfront for the iPhone or other smarthphones. Unlimited minutes, text, and data is also a big plus and the LTE network is extremely fast in the Twin Cities. I am also able to use my iPhone in over 100 countries without having to pay crazy international roaming fees!

I plan on sticking with T-Mobile for the forseeable future and would definitely recommend it to a friend!

How Phishing and Email Scams Work - and How You Can Avoid Them

Trent Hamm:

First of all, you should never fully trust that an email is actually from whoever it says in the From: field. It is rather easy to fake such information and it’s because of the implicit trust that people have of the email recipient that many scammers are able to get away with it.

Trent runs one of my favorite websites, The Simple Dollar. He mostly writes about personal finance but also answers questions that his readers send him. The question about how to avoid identity theft online was asked and his simple answer was to not click on links in emails. In this article he elaborates further since people had more questions. I would encourage everyone to click the link titled How Phishing and Email Scams Work - and How You Can Avoid Them because I want everyone to understand how these scams work and I don't want any of my clients or community ed students to call me because they got bamboozled.

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