Weekly winners june 26: real adventures in internet security

Announcing this week’s winners of the Real Adventures in Internet Security Bundle Giveaway Event. A big ‘Thank You’ to everyone who submitted an entry.


Read on to check out the stories from this week’s winners.

Submit your entry to [email protected] during June for your chance to receive one of 10 super security bundles that includes a VPN, anti-virus, online backup, anti-keylogger, parental control app, PC optimizer, encryption software and, of course, Sticky Password.

Get your story to us by midnight June 30 for your chance to win a bundle of software security titles!

Top learning moments of the week ending Friday, June 26

During the last few weeks, we’ve received all sorts of stories about online hacks, breaches and scams, as well as good advice and do’s and don’ts, but even we were a bit surprised with several entries concerning physical break-ins.

As phones, tablets and notebooks get smaller and even more ‘mobile’, the chances of losing them go up. The same goes for having a device stolen from us when we’re out and about and aren’t paying attention. Physical loss of a device (through theft or forgetfulness) is something that you might think about when you are buying a new mobile device because you’ve lost something in the past, or you know someone who has. In your mind, you’re thinking: “it’ll be OK, I’ll be extra careful and won’t let it out of my sight!

But what about the computers and devices that we have at home or at work?

Most people feel secure within the four walls of their homes or place of business, and so protecting devices from theft when they are in our homes or offices is usually not a primary concern. Because we feel safe, we tend to be ‘sloppy’ when it comes to security. This leads to bad habits like passwords written on paper next to computers, not using a screen lock on devices, and so on.

The problem is that not all attacks on our data come from faraway bad guys over the Internet, or when we are in pubic among strangers. Even among family and friends, there are many who should not have access to your personal information and stuff. (This can be curious kids, nosy family members or neighbors, friends who are angry with you, the wandering eyes of visitors to your home.)

YOU are the one who decides who gets to see what, and when – if at all!

Burglars are out there, and while their main objective may not be to exploit your online accounts, how easy would it be for them to access your email or bank once they get their hands on your device? Did you protect your data so that no one can get to it even if they have your smartphone, notebook or tablet?

How easy would it be for someone who was in your home to access private data on any of your devices?

Are your passwords on a spreadsheet on the computer desktop? Or, maybe on a slip of paper next to the computer that the burglar just slipped into his pocket?

Saundra and Larry experienced break-ins, and luckily, they had put themselves in a good position to recover following theft of their computers.

Here’s Saundra on her experience:

We had left the house, where we also have a home office, and went to a friend’s house to have dinner. Upon returning home, we discovered that someone had entered our home office and stolen our work computer.

My first thought was “well, there go all of my business records.”

My next thought was “there go my passwords.”

Then, I realized two things. The first thing was that the thief had not taken our backup drive! Since I had backup software, which perpetually backed up what I had selected and included our business info and records, I knew we could get that back up and running on a new PC.

The second good thing was that I had the Sticky Password program, which kept all of my passwords locked-away safe, and nobody could get into them without the master password. It also meant that I could go to my online accounts and retrieve everything.

So this story, albeit stressful, had a very happy ending. It went from, maybe we should close the business, to all is well, thanks to a good backup system and Sticky Password.

Larry tells us how he was able to get up-and-running following the theft of his computer:

As with most people who have used a computer for several years, I have about 100 usernames and password sets to accommodate my teaching profession, financial affairs, email and other accounts.

After a house break-in and theft of a laptop computer, I had the benefit of using a password manager, Sticky Password, to simplify entering information to access certain websites and other online resources.  Every month or two, I would use the export function to place all of this information onto a thumb drive.  The morning after the break-in I was able to reinstall Sticky Password and import my saved usernames and passwords.  Armed with this information I was able to quickly log into each resource/website requiring usernames and passwords and make appropriate changes and then save the new information onto my desktop computer.

With physical theft – your stuff is gone! Concerning your data, the main concerns are 1) that the thief doesn’t get access to your personal info, and 2) how to get up and running again! With a break-in you have the additional feeling of being violated that often clouds your ability to deal with a situation, so you need to prepare yourself BEFORE it happens!

Both Saundra and Larry were lucky in that their passwords were securely stored in Sticky Password’s encrypted password-protected database, so not only did the thieves not have access to their online accounts, but they were also able to retrieve their passwords and logins thanks to the secure online backup.

Even if you have all your passwords in your head it’s very likely that you rely on some crutch to help you remember and log you in to your favorite sites. Typically, this involves using the browser to remember your passwords and log you in. Image what it would have meant for Saundra and Larry if they had counted on their browsers to protect their passwords. The bad guys would have had a field day accessing all their online accounts, and Saundra and Larry wouldn’t have had a backup to get up and running again!

The takeaways:

  • In addition to protecting your devices from theft even at home or in your office, make sure that a thief would only get only your hardware – and would not be able to misuse your private data.
  • Password protect your device / lock your cell phone!
  • Backup your data, so even if your hardware does go missing, you will be able to get to your photos, passwords, documents, and all your private stuff. Secure online backup is a great option because it protects from theft of a device as well as property destruction (fire, tornado, flooding, etc.). If you choose to backup locally, then consider having the hard drive in another room or in a closet away from the devices you’re backing up. Saundra was lucky that the burglar didn’t think to look around for the hard drive that she was using for data backup.
  • Encrypt or secure your data so that anyone who does get your device won’t be able to access it.
  • Don’t store passwords in a notebook or on a piece of paper next to your device, because it may just walk out the door with the stolen device.
  • Don’t panic! (Panicking rarely helps.)

Thank you, Saundra and Larry. We hope you get the most out of your security bundles!

Send your security experience to [email protected] and help others by anonymously sharing your experiences and learning moments, and you may receive one of 10 super security bundles valued at over $330.

*All quotes and personal mentions made with the permission of each individual referenced herein.