How to Protect Yourself from Getting Hacked

How to Protect Yourself from Getting Hacked

Every six seconds, a personal computer is hacked. Often, African Americans do not think about computer security in the same manner they think about personal protection, including buying Mace, a gun or a burglar alarm. In fact, 80% of computer hacking boil […]

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Columbus Day true legacy: cruelty and slavery


Photo: Associated Press

Once again, it’s time to celebrate Columbus Day. Yet, the stunning truth is: If Christopher Columbus were alive today, he would be put on trial for crimes against humanity. Columbus’ reign of terror, as documented by noted historians, was so bloody, his legacy so unspeakably cruel, that Columbus makes a modern villain like Saddam Hussein look like a pale codfish.

Question: Why do we honor a man who, if he were alive today, would almost certainly be sitting on Death Row awaiting execution?

If you’d like to know the true story about Christopher Columbus, please read on. But I warn you, it’s not for the faint of heart.

Here’s the basics. On the second Monday in October each year, we celebrate Columbus Day (this year, it’s on October 11th). We teach our school kids a cute little song that goes: “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” It’s an American tradition, as American as pizza pie. Or is it? Surprisingly, the true story of Christopher Columbus has very little in common with the myth we all learned in school.

Columbus Day, as we know it in the United States, was invented by the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic fraternal service organization. Back in the 1930s, they were looking for a Catholic hero as a role-model their kids could look up to. In 1934, as a result of lobbying by the Knights of Columbus, Congress and President Franklin Roosevelt signed Columbus Day into law as a federal holiday to honor this courageous explorer. Or so we thought.

There are several problems with this. First of all, Columbus wasn’t the first European to discover America. As we all know, the Viking, Leif Ericson probably founded a Norse village on Newfoundland some 500 years earlier. So, hat’s off to Leif. But if you think about it, the whole concept of discovering America is, well, arrogant. After all, the Native Americans discovered North America about 14,000 years before Columbus was even born! Surprisingly, DNA evidence now suggests that courageous Polynesian adventurers sailed dugout canoes across the Pacific and settled in South America long before the Vikings.

Second, Columbus wasn’t a hero. When he set foot on that sandy beach in the Bahamas on October 12, 1492, Columbus discovered that the islands were inhabited by friendly, peaceful people called the Lucayans, Taínos and Arawaks. Writing in his diary, Columbus said they were a handsome, smart and kind people. He noted that the gentle Arawaks were remarkable for their hospitality. “They offered to share with anyone and when you ask for something, they never say no,” he said. The Arawaks had no weapons; their society had neither criminals, prisons nor prisoners. They were so kind-hearted that Columbus noted in his diary that on the day the Santa Maria was shipwrecked, the Arawaks labored for hours to save his crew and cargo. The native people were so honest that not one thing was missing.

Columbus was so impressed with the hard work of these gentle islanders, that he immediately seized their land for Spain and enslaved them to work in his brutal gold mines. Within only two years, 125,000 (half of the population) of the original natives on the island were dead.

If I were a Native American, I would mark October 12, 1492, as a black day on my calendar.

Shockingly, Columbus supervised the selling of native girls into sexual slavery. Young girls of the ages 9 to 10 were the most desired by his men. In 1500, Columbus casually wrote about it in his log. He said: “A hundred castellanoes are as easily obtained for a woman as for a farm, and it is very general and there are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from nine to ten are now in demand.”

He forced these peaceful natives work in his gold mines until they died of exhaustion. If an “Indian” worker did not deliver his full quota of gold dust by Columbus’ deadline, soldiers would cut off the man’s hands and tie them around his neck to send a message. Slavery was so intolerable for these sweet, gentle island people that at one point, 100 of them committed mass suicide. Catholic law forbade the enslavement of Christians, but Columbus solved this problem. He simply refused to baptize the native people of Hispaniola.

To continue reading, visit the Huffington Post.

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Chattanooga looks at ‘Shot Spotter’ technology for crime prevention

Chattanooga looks at ‘Shot Spotter’ technology for crime prevention

CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) – Several major cities across the country rely upon crime prevention technology called Shot Spotter. It’s radar detection that automatically detects gunfire and reports it to local police, and the city of Chattanooga is interested. “We would […]

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Alleged Russian Hacker Faces 40 Charges

Alleged Russian Hacker Faces 40 Charges

Alleged Russian hacker Roman Valerevich Seleznev, arrested earlier this year, is facing 11 additional charges tied to the theft of credit card information for later sale on “carding” websites. 2014 Fraud Summit Agenda Released – View Session Details > “As […]

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FBI task force deputy director to join panel on identity theft

FBI task force deputy director to join panel on identity theft

CARLISLE — Adam Karcher, deputy director for the FBI’s National Cyber Investigative Joint Task Force in the Office of Data Exploitation, will take part in a panel discussion on fraud and identity theft at 6 p.m. Thursday at YWCA Carlisle, […]

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Anonymous Hackers Threaten Chinese Government with Website Blackouts and Data Leaks

Anonymous Hackers Threaten Chinese Government with Website Blackouts and Data Leaks

Online activist group anonymous has warned authorities in Hong Kong and China that it will launch a massive attack on websites and leak tens of thousands of government email address details. The group said on Friday that it will carry […]

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Cyberattacks trigger talk of ‘hacking back’

Cyberattacks trigger talk of ‘hacking back’

The recent rash of cyberattacks on major U.S. companies has highlighted the scant options available to the victims, who often can do little more than hunker down, endure the bad publicity and harden their defenses in hopes of thwarting the […]

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Hacking attacks pose danger of big financial losses for small businesses

Hacking attacks pose danger of big financial losses for small businesses

It’s not just big businesses like JPMorgan Chase, Target and Home Depot that get hacked. Small companies suffer from intrusions into their computer systems, too. The costs associated with computer and website attacks can run well into the thousands and […]

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(ISC)2 Foundation and University of Phoenix Research identify gaps hindering efforts to fill cybersecurity jobs


Cybersecurity breaches affect businesses large and small, and the annual cost of computer- and network-based crimes worldwide is estimated to be more than $400 billion, according to a report from McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies. As organizations increasingly use data networks for business, commerce and the transfer of sensitive information, the risks multiply, as do the needs for qualified cybersecurity professionals.

(ISC)2 Foundation and University of Phoenix recently conducted a national roundtable with cybersecurity leaders from industry and higher education to develop actionable recommendations to prepare students for cybersecurity careers.

The (ISC)2 Foundation and University of Phoenix report, Cybersecurity Workforce Competencies: Preparing Tomorrow’s Risk-Ready Professionals, identifies three education-to-workforce gaps that leave employers and organizations particularly vulnerable. These gaps are competency, professional experience, and education speed-to-market.

The report is based on a year of research, including analysis of industry competency models and labor statistics, which led to a national focus group, followed by the roundtable with industry leaders.

“The growing frequency, sophistication, and costs of cyberattacks threaten business continuity for organizations of all sizes,” said Julie Peeler, director, (ISC)2 Foundation. “Preparing and attracting the next generation of cybersecurity professionals is critical to the health of the economy and businesses globally.”

Roundtable participants say the following actions by industry and education leaders can have the most immediate impact on closing the gaps:

1.       Encouraging problem-based learning via case studies and labs;

2.       Offering meaningful internships for cybersecurity degree completion; and

3.       Developing curriculum and career resources that are informed by cybersecurity employers.

“The multi-faceted cybersecurity field demands a strong workforce comprised of individuals who can adapt to constant shifts in the sector,” said Dennis Bonilla, executive dean of University of Phoenix College of Information Systems and Technology. “The industry increasingly needs professionals who possess both technical skills and strong business acumen, and curriculum is shifting to reflect these dynamics. Relevant education and training aligned to industry requirements are crucial to protecting and growing business infrastructure in the U.S. and globally.”

“Having qualified cybersecurity professionals is critical in all industries,” said Peeler. “Employers must act quickly to close workforce gaps and mitigate the risks that threaten enterprises. The roundtable report by the (ISC)2 Foundation and University of Phoenix provides practical recommendations to key stakeholder groups that must work together to build the cybersecurity talent pipeline.”

Closing the education-to-workforce gaps: Recommendations for students and employers

The report offers the following tips for students interested in cybersecurity careers, and for employers struggling to fill job openings:

Recommendations for students:

1.       Get certified. Obtain the relevant certifications that can help enhance employability.

2.       Understand clearance requirements. Many jobs in this field may require a security clearance. Be mindful that past actions could affect your eligibility.

3.       Get involved. Demonstrate interest in the field by developing professional relationships. Stay abreast of industry trends by joining an association.

4.       Build a portfolio. Seek opportunities to demonstrate your expertise by co-presenting at industry conferences and completing relevant projects.

5.       Seek opportunities. Look for ways to obtain professional experience through internships, job shadowing or work-study jobs.

Recommendations for employers:

1.      Engage with educators. Offer internships and participate in higher education curriculum advisory boards.

2.      Champion cybersecurity careers. Partner with middle schools and high schools to increase awareness of cybersecurity career opportunities.

3.      Steer clear of clearances. Remove barriers to entry-level jobs by decoupling tasks that require a security clearance. Many applicants, such as non-U.S. citizens, may be unable to obtain a security clearance readily.

4.      Promote partnerships. Develop partnerships with higher education institutions to support curriculum development, career networking, and internships.

5.       Encourage professional experience. Develop and fund programs that provide industry experience to students. Ensure programs meet the National Security Agency’s Centers of Academic Excellence accreditation requirements, and seek accreditation approval for such programs.

6.      Hire interns. Internships are a viable step to employment and demonstrate the value of entry-level experience as a pathway to a career.

Enhanced Ebola screening to start at five U.S. airports for all people entering U.S. from Ebola-affected countries


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs & Border Protection (CBP) this week will begin new layers of entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

New York’s JFK International Airport will begin the new screening on Saturday. In the 12 months ending July 2014, JFK received nearly half of travelers from the three West African nations. The enhanced entry screening at Washington-Dulles, Newark, Chicago-O’Hare, and Atlanta international airports will be implemented next week.

“We work to continuously increase the safety of Americans,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., in a statement. “We believe these new measures will further protect the health of Americans, understanding that nothing we can do will get us to absolute zero risk until we end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”

“CBP personnel will continue to observe all travelers entering the United States for general overt signs of illnesses at all U.S. ports of entry and these expanded screening measures will provide an additional layer of protection to help ensure the risk of Ebola in the United States is minimized,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson. “CBP, working closely with CDC, will continue to assess the risk of the spread of Ebola into the United States, and take additional measures, as necessary, to protect the American people.”

CDC is sending additional staff to each of the five airports. After passport review:

  •  Travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone will be escorted by CBP to an area of the airport set aside for screening.
  • Trained CBP staff will observe them for signs of illness, ask them a series of health and exposure questions and provide health information for Ebola and reminders to monitor themselves for symptoms. Trained medical staff will take their temperature with a non-contact thermometer.
  • If the travelers have fever, symptoms or the health questionnaire reveals possible Ebola exposure, they will be evaluated by a CDC quarantine station public health officer. The public health officer will again take a temperature reading and make a public health assessment. Travelers, who after this assessment, are determined to require further evaluation or monitoring will be referred to the appropriate public health authority.
  • Travelers from these countries who have neither symptoms/fever nor a known history of exposure will receive health information for self-monitoring.

Entry screening is part of a layered process that includes exit screening and standard public health practices such as patient isolation and contact tracing in countries with Ebola outbreaks, DHS says. Successful containment of the recent Ebola outbreak in Nigeria demonstrates the effectiveness of this approach.

These measures complement the exit screening protocols that have already been implemented in the affected West African countries, and CDC experts have worked closely with local authorities to implement these measures. Since the beginning of August, CDC has been working with airlines, airports, ministries of health, and other partners to provide technical assistance for the development of exit screening and travel restrictions in countries affected by Ebola. This includes:

  •  Assessing the capacity to conduct exit screening at international airports;
  • Assisting countries with procuring supplies needed to conduct exit screening;
  • Supporting with development of exit screening protocols;
  • Developing tools such as posters, screening forms, and job-aids; and
  • Training staff on exit screening protocols and appropriate personal protective equipment.

Today, all outbound passengers are screened for Ebola symptoms in the affected countries. Such primary exit screening involves travelers responding to a travel health questionnaire, being visually assessed for potential illness, and having their body temperature measured. In the last two months since exit screening began in the three countries, of 36,000 people screened, 77 people were denied boarding a flight because of the health screening process. None of the 77 passengers were diagnosed with Ebola and many were diagnosed as ill with malaria, a disease common in West Africa, transmitted by mosquitoes and not contagious from one person to another.

Exit screening at airports in countries affected by Ebola remains the principal means of keeping travelers from spreading Ebola to other nations, DHS says. All three of these nations have asked for, and continue to receive, CDC assistance in strengthening exit screening.

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