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Keep your data locked up.

Did you hear about it? I’m talking about the latest computer breach that made the nightly news on Monday. This time though, it also included names and data on children. I learned about it before the story broke in prime time. News of the data loss was published online in detail and with an analysis. The end result is the same. You put your data online when you register with a site and you think it is safe, or you don’t think anything about it at all. And then you find out "your business is in the street".

This is every online company’s nightmare. Correction. This is every company’s nightmare. Every company has data that is vital for its existence and that’s data that must be protected. My background is in software testing and quality assurance. From the beginning of Semafores, I knew that cybersecurity was going to be important, and that I would need to come up to speed in this field. I’m no expert but, I have been studying this for months. Our legal firm, Foley and Lardner, has kept us up to date with seminars and whitepapers on the latest changes to laws, regulations and requirements. I am also enrolled in a cybersecurity course offered by MIT. Whoever said, in a startup you wear many hats, you never come in with everything you need to know, and you never stop learning; was right. I could talk about SQL injection attacks or encryption, but I won’t. More important is, “What can you do to protect yourself?”

Semafores gets it. We are developing an app that will help you better care for your children, as well as seniors and yourself. You might wonder if any app will be safe enough with your kid’s information. We care about the privacy and security of your information, so we will support 2-factor authentication to protect access to your data. Also, all communication between your device and our system will use HTTPS to keep it secure. Sensitive information, like addresses and billing information, will be stored strongly encrypted. Curi™ is designed to handle passing of information from one family member to another. We will ensure that a check is made before each and every transfer so that only the members you select to see this information will ever see it. And of course we will guard against SQL injection attacks and other stuff script kiddies are likely to throw at us.

There are certain things that you can do to protect yourself in the digital world. Here are a few.

Don’t reuse passwords

This is probably the biggest single headache people make for themselves. They use the same username and password on multiple accounts. Then, when things go bad, they go very bad...fast.

Don’t use simple passwords

password, pa55w0rd, 1234... There are lists of a thousand simple common passwords that hackers user, in seconds, to break into accounts. They can do this in their sleep (because their programs do it for them!).

Don’t use complicated passwords! (WHAT?!)

12%#Al7 is bad because... 1. You won’t remember it. 2. You will be tempted to write it down.

Don’t use your birthday

Because that’s on your facebook page, right? Instead, put together words that make sense, for example 2Wineglasses!toonight. This is really hard to crack but easy to remember because it sounds like a date. It has digits, punctuation and upper and lower case letters.

Protect what is important

Everybody knows to protect their social security number. Protect your birthday, too, because it can be used to verify your identity when you call a bank or phone company. Besides, it won’t hurt to have your facebook friends congratulate you early or late. Protect your driver’s licence number, too.

See common passwords here: www.passwordrandom.com/most-popular-passwords. Whatever you find you should avoid like the plague!

For an easy way to test the strength of a password or see where it might be on the list of popular passwords go here: www.passwordrandom.com/password-strength-checker.

You may also want to try haveibeenpwned.com, a site where you can enter your email address to see if it has been compromised in a known data breach. You can also subscribe to the site to be notified if it is detected in the future.

We are doing our part to ensure Curi™ will meet each family’s needs and protect your information.