Tag Archives: hacker

Voter Database Security Is A Myth

In this post, guest author David Maman, CTO and founder of GreenSQL – the database security company – questions the security reliability of voter databases.

imageSome of us spend days and months of indecision, hours in front of the TV watching campaign commercials and presidential debates, researching on the Net, mulling the options with family and friends, all ultimately to go to the polls to exercise our constitutional right to vote. For millions among us, this is a final decision and a terminal point.

Not for me.

As an information security specialist and database security researcher, I wonder where my vote goes, in what database it’s maintained, and, of course, how secure it is.

Hard experience has taught me that right now, somewhere, a hacker is trying to penetrate the voter databases “just for fun,” “to prove something,” or if I really want to be paranoid, “because he’s part of a powerful, international organization that seeks to dictate our political process by determining elections.”

Paranoia? I wish. One only has to read the news… last year, the databases of major companies were hacked: LinkedIn, Visa, KT Mobile, Sony, Zappos, etc. Of course, that tally doesn’t include the organizations who don’t know they were hacked.

Want news on voter databases being hacked in the last few years? Take a look at the list below, the result of a two-minute Google search:

July 15, 2012: Florida Allowed to Access Citizen Database for Voter Purge

July 27, 2012: Obama Administration to Open Voter Database

March 26, 2012: GOP’s Voter Vault Database Hacked, Candidates’ Identity Altered

August 2011: No Personal Information Compromised After Voter Database Hacked

At a time when databases are being constantly penetrated by unauthorized users and personal information is being stolen, misused or just maliciously exposed, the question remains: How secure are voter databases?

As if selecting a candidate isn’t vexing enough, now, I have a bigger concern: “How can I be sure my vote ultimately goes to the candidate of my choice?” “Will my vote be manipulated in any way, whether by foreign or domestic entities?” “Will my voter information be used to make it easier to have my identity stolen? (Even the FBI says identity theft represents a more serious threat than drugs.)”

About GreenSQL:

GreenSQL, the Database Security Company, delivers out-of-the-box database security solutions for small and mid-sized organizations. Started as an open source project back in 2006, GreenSQL became the no. 1 database security solution for MySQL with 100,000 users worldwide. In 2009, in response to market needs, GreenSQL LTD developed a commercial version, bringing a fresh approach to protecting databases of small- and medium-sized businesses.

GreenSQL provides database security solutions that are affordable and easy to install and maintain. GreenSQL supports Microsoft Azure, SQL Server (all versions including SQL Server 2012), MySQL and PostgreSQL.

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Filed under Cyber Crime, Guest Writers, Point of View

Need Free Security Programs? – 10 Of The Best!

Since I first wrote an article on the ten best free security applications, a number of new programs have been released that I have had the opportunity to test. Some applications such as Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic, Spyware Terminator, and several others have replaced previous recommendations; so this updated list.

avast! 4 Home Edition

www.avast.com

This anti-virus application is a winner, scanning files on demand and on access, including email attachments. It alerts you when it detects mal-ware through its real-time shield function. An important feature is a boot-time scan option which removes mal-ware that can’t be removed any other way.

Avira AntiVir PersonalEdition Classic

www.avira.com

This anti-virus program offers comprehensive protection with an easy to use interface. In the three months I have been testing Avira I have been impressed with its performance, and I have come to rely on it as my primary anti-virus program. I highly recommend this one.

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition

www.Download.com

Spyware Doctor Starter Edition from PC Tools is an excellent choice, as a secondary line of defense. This free version of the award winning program, with its easy to use interface, is used by millions of people worldwide to protect their computers; it’s reported there are a million+ additional downloads every week. Be aware however, there is no real-time protection offered with this version and this is the reason I recommend this application as a secondary scanner only.

Spyware Terminator

www.spywareterminator.com

Having tested virtually all of the major anti-spyware applications over the last year or more, I’ve settled, for now, on Spyware Terminator primarily due to its strong real-time protection against spyware, adware, Trojans, key-loggers, home page hijackers and other malware threats. In my view this is the definitive free anti-spyware application.

Ad-Aware 2007

www.lavasoftusa.com

Having used this application for years the latest release does not disappoint. Ad-Aware 2007 Free remains the best free spyware and adware remover available. It does a relatively good job of protecting against known Trojans, dialers, malware, browser hijackers and tracking components. The only downside with the free version is real-time protection is not included.

ThreatFire 3

www.threatfire.com

ThreatFire 3 excels at blocking mal-ware including zero-day threats, by analyzing program behavior. Again, this is one of the security applications that forms part of my front line defenses. I have found it to have high success rate at blocking mal-ware based on analysis of behavior. In fact, since I installed this application 6 months ago I have not had to deal with any security breaches.

Comodo Firewall

www.comodogroup.com

The definitive free firewall, Comodo Firewall protects your system by defeating hackers and restricting unauthorized programs from accessing the Internet. I have been using this application for 6 months and I continue to feel very secure. It resists being forcibly terminated and it works as well, or better, than any firewall I’ve paid for. This is one I highly recommend. Amazing that it’s free!

ZoneAlarm

www.zonelabs.com

The free version of ZoneAlarm lacks the features of ZoneAlarm Pro’s firewall. Its program control asks you regularly whether to allow programs; for some this can get to be intrusive and annoying. But it’s been around forever it seems, and it can’t be shut down, or out, by mal-ware.

WinPatrol

www.winpatrol.com

Do you want to get a better understanding of what programs are being added to your computer? Then WinPatrol is the program for you. With WinPatrol, in your system tray, you can monitor system areas that are often changed by malicious programs. You can monitor your startup programs and services, cookies and current tasks. Should you need to, WinPatrol allows you to terminate processes and enable, or disable, startup programs. There are additional features that make WinPatrol a very powerful addition to your security applications.

SnoopFree Privacy Shield

www.snoopfree.com

SnoopFree Privacy Shield is a powerful application that guards your keyboard, screen and open windows from all spy software. I have been using this application for quite some time, and I have been amazed at the number of programs that have requested access to my keyboard and screen. In particular, programs that I am in the process of installing. If you’re serious about privacy, this is a must have addition to your security toolbox.

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Filed under Anti-Malware Tools, Free Security Programs, Freeware, Internet Safety Tools, Software, System Security, Windows Tips and Tools