Getting Your Data Safely Across the Border

Since the terrorist attack on the 9/11, the United States has sacrificed some freedoms and liberties in exchange for tighter security in an attempt to prevent future attacks. The ACLU has joined with other groups in filing a legal challenge to one such security measure that infringes on personal liberty--the practice of searching laptops without cause at border crossings. However, there are also other ways you can get your data across the border without having it accessed by the prying eyes of Big Brother.

Benjamin Franklin is given credit for saying "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety," and many of the security measures that have been implemented in the wake of 9/11 violate this basic tenet. But, for some organizations that fall under HIPAA, SOX, GLBA, or other regulations, safeguarding data is not just a principle of personal freedom, but also a compliance mandate.

Check It: If you are traveling by air, you can get your laptop past the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) checkpoint and possibly CBP (Customs and Border Protection) agents by checking it with your luggage. Odds are fair that you wouldn't really use it on the flight anyway. Unless you're flying first class (and how many businesses still allow for expensing first class travel?), there is simply no room to work with a laptop. Whatever minor productivity might result is most likely not worth the effort and frustration.

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The Most Dangerous Jobs in Technology

In the world of information technology, some professions are particularly perilous. Whether you’re risking psychological stress or your very life, these fields aren’t for the faint of heart. Some people in these roles thrive on adrenaline, climbing thousands of feet to fix communications towers. Others risk only emotional damage, getting paid to consume disturbing Internet content.

Workplace deaths in the United States have dropped in recent years, along with the employment rate. In the developing world, though, certain countries have a long way to go before some technology-related working conditions can be called humane.

1. Internet Content Moderation

5. Unregulated E-Waste Recycling

When you send an old computer or CRT monitor off for recycling, chances are it will wind up in a junkyard halfway around the world rather than being dismantled safely nearby. Used hardware from the industrialized world often travels thousands of miles to developing parts of Asia and Africa.

Workers at this e-waste processing center in Bangalore, India, have more protection than others.
Workers at this e-waste processing center in Bangalore, India, have more protection than others. Credit: Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition
People hoping to earn a dollar a day collect machines and smash them with crude tools to strip gold, silver, and other precious metals out of circuit boards. They may come into dangerous contact with lead, cadmium, beryllium, mercury, and brominated flame retardants. Some are exposed to more chemical harm by soaking circuit boards in acid, or burning PVC cabling to retrieve copper.

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Microsoft Binary Planting Bug: What You Need to Know

Microsoft released a security advisory in response to a potential exploit, known as DLL preloading or binary planting, which has been found to impact hundreds of third-party Windows applications--possibly including software developed by Microsoft itself. Unfortunately, this isn't a simple Windows vulnerability that Microsoft can fix with its next patch release, so it's important that you understand the flaw and what is at risk, as well as what you can do to protect your systems.

Microsoft is plagued by a binary planting "zero-day" flaw that is beyond its control to patch.
Microsoft senior security response communications manager Christopher Budd explained in a Microsoft Security Response Center blog post "This is different from other Microsoft Security Advisories because it's not talking about specific vulnerabilities in Microsoft products. Rather, this is our official guidance in response to security research that has outlined a new, remote vector for a well-known class of vulnerabilities, known as DLL preloading or "binary planting" attacks."

What is Binary Planting?

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Double Your Netbook Power with New Dual-Core Atoms

Intel has launched the Atom N550 today--its first dual-core Atom processor. The next-generation Atom processor boosts the power and capabilities of smaller mobile computers--providing businesses with even more cost effective options for portable computing.

New dual-core Atoms can change the face of mobile computing just as the original Atom processors did.
The Atom N550 processors is available on the shelf as of today in a dozen or so different netbook models. The manufacturers that are already on the dual-core Atom bandwagon include Acer, ASUS, Fujitsu, Lenovo, LG, Samsung, MSI, and Toshiba.

The Atom was designed by Intel to provide a more energy-efficient alternative to the Celeron-M processors that were being used in netbooks at the time. The launch of the Atom made the netbook a more powerful mobile computing platform and basically ignited the explosion of the netbook market.

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Five Ways the Apple Patent Will Improve iPhone and iPad Security

A recently unveiled Apple patent application has raised concerns that Apple intends to remotely detect and disable jailbroken iPhones and iPads. The patent application does contain the word jailbroken, but the description of the patent reveals powerful new remote security features and doesn't really support the conspiracy theory.

The Apple patent doesn't mean Apple is going after jailbroken devices, but it could allow IT admins to ensure iPhones and iPads are not jailbroken.
A blog post from provides an overview of the Apple patent application. According to the post, the patent technology would enable a variety of security features including "the device taking a photo of the thief (smile now) or recording the thief's voice," adding, "Apple's iOS security is getting so smart, that it'll even know what kind of vehicle that the thief is using your device in - be it a plane, train or automobile and notify the proper authorities."

The patent summary explains, "Systems and methods for identifying unauthorized users of an electronic device are provided in today's patent. In particular, systems and methods for detecting an unauthorized user, gathering information related to the electronic device, the unauthorized user, or both, and transmitting an alert notification to a responsible party for the electronic device are provided."

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How to Claim Your Facebook Places

If your business is a brick and mortar location that customers visit in person, odds are good that it will end up in Facebook Places whether you put it there or not. Even if you don't choose to take advantage of Facebook Places to promote business, you should still claim ownership of your place to ensure the information is accurate.

Even if you don't create a Facebook Place for your business, your customers will when they "check-in".
With half a billion Facebook members, odds are good that at least a few of them are your customers. That means there is a likelihood that someone will "check-in" to Facebook Places at your place of business and your establishment will have a Facebook Places page whether you intend to use it or not.

You don't have to bother claiming your Place. But, if it's going to be there anyway, you may as well at least manage and maintain the basic details. By claiming the Facebook Place you are able to edit the address, business hours, profile picture, contact information, and other settings such as designating admins authorized to alter the Places page.

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Avoid Cameron Diaz, Breaking News, and Facebook

The fourth annual McAfee Most Dangerous Celebrities report declares Cameron Diaz to be the biggest risk of all celebrity athletes, musicians, politicians, comedians and Hollywood stars on the Web when it comes to your computer security. Taking the pop culture appeal out of the popular hit list, though, the McAfee report illustrates the broader issue of just how effectively malicious attacks prey on hot topics and social trends to exploit gullible users.

Online searches for Cameron Diaz have a one in ten chance of resulting in a malware attack.
According to the McAfee report, Cameron Diaz bumped former "most dangerous celebrity" Jessica Biel off the top of the list, and beat out Julia Roberts to claim the crown. An online search for the star of Shrek Forever After and Knight and Day has a 10 percent chance of infecting your system in some insidious way.

As McAfee cautions in the press release for the Most Dangerous Celebrities report, "Cybercriminals often use the names of popular celebrities to lure people to sites that are actually laden with malicious software. Anyone looking for the latest videos or pictures could end up with a malware-ridden computer instead of just trendy content."

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