Agent X: Security Bits & Bytes

Well it has been a long time since the elusive Agent X came in out of the cold, but we finally have some new tech protection intel to pass on:

Skimmers and On Line Applications

Recently NIST and the Payment Card Industry (PCI) Data Security Standards (DSS) issued an alert describing how hackers have been putting skimmers on web based applications used to purchase items and services. In other words, paying online with a credit card is now risky. The best defense for these types of attacks is the use of online payments systems like but not limited to Apple Pay or PayPal as these do not have a direct connection back to your credit card.

USB Public Chargers for your phones and other devices

Over the past two weeks Defcon and Black Hat have been taking place in Las Vegas.  This is a gathering of some of the best white hat and black hat hackers in the world.  A big item that came out of this is how hackers are replacing the cables or stations for public charging.  The fact is the cable has the ability to

gather all of the data on your devices.  In other words, public charge stations are able to steal data off  your phone or computer while you charge.

A solution for this is to use what is known as a “USB Condom”.  These sell online for about eleven dollars on Amazon.  This device blocks all of the connection to the device other than the charging connection. And yes, pay Amazon with an online payment system like Apple Pay or PayPal!

Crooks Christmas Season is Starting

From now until the end of the Holiday shopping season the criminal element is on overtime working to steal your data and money.  Phishing, Spear Phishing, threat letters and messages, phone calls from scammers, and other techniques are in full motion.  Remember the crooks also have to buy holiday gifts and then need the money in advance to do this so they start early and run late. Be vigilant!

Good luck to all readers! Agent X hopes these tips help.  Have a safe and happy end of summer and start to the Fall weather.

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