Tuesday, April 5, 2011
Do you have the tools to stop a Cyber Thief in his tracks? Play this game to find out.
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The Biggest Hack To Date
The biggest security hack to date was announced last week. It wasn't a financial services firm that was compromised, nor a provider of related products. Those charged with keeping your personal information safe have done so.
This was a marketing company that got hacked. And all they stole were email addresses of their clients. How much harm can that do?
Plenty. Particularly if your client list includes the likes of Citi, Chase, U.S. Bank, Capital One, Barclays Bank of Delaware, Verizon, Walgreens, Visa, TiVo, HSN and L.L. Bean to name just a few.
It's common practice to register on a company's web site or provide an email address to a retailer where you shop. They keep you updated on weekly specials, confirm orders, offer loyalty rewards or send you customized information based on your interests.
It's also common practice for those institutions and merchandisers to hire an outside marketing company to manage these email campaigns.
GCF Bank is small enough to handle this function in-house. For your peace of mind, know that we protect your email address as securely as we do the rest of your personal information.
However, larger firms are handling information on a much larger scale and often leave such functions in the hands of those who specialize in doing just that. And Epsilon is one of the largest in the field.
Epsilon detected the breach on March 30th. They immediately notified their customers that email addresses had been stolen, but no financial information had been compromised.
At least, not yet.
The thieves not only have email addresses, but they also know which business they're affiliated with. A savvy person will not provide personal information to an email they recognize as spam, but they may be duped if it comes from a trusted source.
They have information on each and every person reading this column. Epsilon's client list is so extensive that the likelihood of avoidance is very slim.
The phishing attacks won't begin immediately. But they will happen. Don't let your guard down in a month or two. Warn your friends and neighbors who may not have heard about this yet.
Have I frightened you yet? I haven't yet gotten to the worst scenario. Phishing attacks are only one possible ruse these criminals may unleash.
They could also send an attachment via email. An attachment that may contain a backdoor virus that steals your personal information without you even knowing.
And if you open that attachment while you're at work, you may find yourself the subject of the next biggest security breach.
Which is exactly the same position an RSA employee found himself in two weeks ago.
RSA is the premier company behind online security measures in the workplace today. When you login to online banking, manage your credit cards or view healthcare information, chances are you're using RSA technology to validate your credentials.
But not even the strictest security settings can prevent an employee from letting his curiosity get the best of him. And an email titled "2011 Recruitment Plan" proved too much to quell.
The employee opened the attached Excel spreadsheet, unleashing a zero-day exploit that installed a backdoor virus exploiting an Adobe Flash vulnerability.
The vulnerability has since been patched. Folks, this is why you should never dismiss update alerts. Holes are detected and patched on a regular basis. Miss an update and you may lose more than a few minutes of inconvenience.
This particular virus attacked RSA's information system.
The attacker sent two different malicious emails over a two-day period to a couple small groups of RSA employees. The employees targeted were not those who would have access to high value information. But once they were inside the system, it no longer mattered.
The invader tries to operate in stealth mode for a long while to extract whatever information they are seeking. Some companies that have been prior victims didn't notice the intrusion until months later.
RSA detected it in progress, limiting the amount of damage that occurred.
Limiting, but not able to retrieve what was already lost. If this can happen to RSA, it can happen to the best of us.
Meet the Staff
Updated August 21, 2012 for our 13th Anniversary Issue
GCFlash is now in its 12th year of production, and we thought it was time you met the folks behind its success.
The brain child behind this publication is GCF's current Acting President and CEO, Timothy Hand. Mr. Hand sought to enhance information found on the bank's newly launched web site through the equally new medium of electronic mail. He also recognized the tool as a good way to keep our customers informed of Y2K progress. Our first edition, on August 24, 1999, went to a handful of customers. Today, we have close to 6,000 weekly email subscribers with another 500 who read GCFlash on our web site.
Assistant Vice President, Brenda Maddock, is a frequent contributor to GCFlash as well as serving as GCF's Loan Operations Manager. Brenda came to GCF in April 2004 as Assistant Manager in the Auto Loan Department. She moved quickly up the ladder to assume her current position. Her hobbies include going down to the shore, skiing, bowling, reading, spending time with friends, Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Her favorite sports team? Who else but the Phillies!
Editor and head writer, Valeri Kolessar, is a former GCF employee turned freelance writer now living in the Florida Keys. She joined the MIS team in 1997 at a time when she was one of only two members, and eagerly embraced Mr. Hand's new venture in launching this newsletter. She couldn't refuse. Not only was he the other MIS team member but also her boss. Valeri and husband John celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary last year, and proudly boast of their three grandsons to anyone within listening range. Regular readers already know Valeri and John rescued their best friend, their golden Lab Dega. They know she's a huge NASCAR fan who rallies for the underdog, Robby Gordon. They know she remains a loyal Eagles and Phillies fan despite her move to South Florida. And she'll resist temptation to brag about her NBA favorite Miami Heat as they begin their reign as NBA Champs.
Varuni Singh has played an integral role in GCFlash since joining the bank in 2001. She is currently GCF's IT Manager/Senior Operations Specialist. I'll add Eagle Eye to that list, as without her, the newsletter may well read as gibberish. She finds my typos and corrects grammar. She proofreads everything to assure proper flow and cohesion. Varuni holds an MBA with specialization in Management from Rowan University (Glassboro, NJ) and a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Kanpur University (Uttar Pradesh, India). Varuni is also a certified Microsoft Office Specialist and been the recipient of several awards in recognition of her outstanding academic achievements. Most recently, she was invited to join Beta Gamma Sigma which you can read more about at http://www.gcfbank.com/outreach.aspx. In her spare time, Varuni enjoys reading, watching television, surfing the net, listening to music and spending time with her family.
Steve Dolinsky and Glen Guenther round out the production crew. They assemble the mailing list, take one last look at the finished product, and send it on its way to your inbox.
Steve is the most recent addition to our team. The Glassboro resident started working at GCF in June 2010. Steve provides tech support on our IT team. He's also a student at Rowan University with a major in Finance and minor in Management Information Systems.
Assistant IT Manager, Glen Guenther, has been with GCF since May 2006. He's happily married to the lovely Melissa and has three children. His hobbies include photography, kayaking and camping.
Economic recovery seems to be moving forward as the unemployment rate fell to a two-year low of 8.8 percent in March. This follows the strongest two months of hiring since before this recession began. The Labor Department said Friday that 216,000 jobs were added in March. Private employers were the driving force adding more than 200,000 jobs for a second straight month.
The growth was widespread as factories, retailers, education, health care, and professional and financial services all added jobs. Local governments offset these gains with layoffs.
Economists predict employers will add jobs at roughly the same pace for the rest of this year. That would generate about 2.5 million new positions. Still, that would make up for only a small portion of the 7.5 million jobs wiped out during the recession.
The decline in the unemployment rate is skewed by a large number of people who stopped looking for work during the downturn. They are not counted as unemployed. If those out-of-work people start looking for work again, they will be counted and the unemployment rate could go up. That could happen even if the economy is adding jobs.
Wages have changed little over the last 12 months, with inflation just ahead of those increases. Those that have a job are left with little leverage to big pay jumps with the slow growth economy.
As other economic factors flounder along, this area of growth is a welcome area of improvement!
GCFlash is a weekly e-mail sent only to its listed customers and associates free of charge. GCFlash informs customers of special product offerings which may be of interest, current interest rates on both deposit and loan products, selected financial news and other financial tidbits. GCFlash is intended to supplement the more comprehensive information listed on the GCF Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com.
For more comprehensive information, visit our Web site at http://www.gcfbank.com or call (856) 589-6600 Ext: 337 (Timothy P. Hand)GCFLASH PRIVACY STATEMENT
GCF maintains your e-mail address in a confidential and secure database along with much of your other account information, such as mailing address and telephone number, etc. Before aggregating our e-mailing list each week, we filter out any duplicates. In most cases, this inhibits the unintended e-mailing of multiple copies of GCFlash to a single e-mail address. However, because these account records are kept by both individual and account, there is a chance members of the same household could each receive a copy of GCFlash or any other transmission at the same e- mail address - resulting in multiple copies. For example, a husband and wife that both have accounts with GCF may both receive a copy because the names are different but listed at the same e-mail address. This is similar to the manner in which each individual may share a common telephone number. To handle this situation, GCF recommends you simply delete any extra copies of GCFlash as this will ensure that ALL individuals receive any future promotional mailings, which might only be targeted or offered to specific accountholders meeting certain criteria. GCF has the capability to suppress customer e-mail addresses so they are omitted from our transmission list. If you would rather have a specific household memberÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s e-mail address suppressed in our electronic database, simply send us a reply, as stated below, and indicate the accountholder for which you would like to have e-mail suppressed. Please keep in mind that this suppression will mean that NO future e-mails are sent, including special promotional offers. If you have any questions about this process or need additional information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to be removed from this electronic mailing list, please hit reply and place the word REMOVE in the subject line. Please note, removing your name from our electronic mailing list means GCF will send NO FUTURE NEWS or SPECIAL OFFERS.
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