Stories by Paul McNamara

Dear FCC: Please don't let me watch football

I can understand why millionaire NFL team owners would lobby the FCC in an effort to dissuade that regulatory body from ditching its so-called "TV blackout rule." After all, the rule requires that 85% of an NFL team's ridiculously priced "non-premium" seats be sold or a game cannot be shown on TV (free or otherwise).

Paul McNamara | 18 Jun | Read more

Florida's identity-theft rate dwarfs others

Sure, the headline gives away the answer, but if you had been asked to guess which state has the highest rate of reported identity theft you'd likely have chosen Florida: A large population of vulnerable retirees and a generally high crime rate all but guarantee the distinction.

Paul McNamara | 20 May | Read more

Some data-breach victims can't be helped

From the No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Department: Security experts trying to tell a Pennsylvania hospital that a pile of its sensitive data belonging to staff -- and possibly patients -- was sitting exposed on the Internet were stymied for five days recently by the fact that no one at the medical facility would respond to their repeated warnings.

Paul McNamara | 11 Mar | Read more

Phishing concerns cause double trouble

Episode 1: Last week the administrators of 7,000 university websites were being called upon to change their .edu domain account passwords after a server security breach. Trouble was that the breach had been reported to the admins by Educause -- the non-profit higher-education IT group that runs .edu -- via an email that some recipients complained bore the familiar markings of a phishing attempt.

Paul McNamara | 25 Feb | Read more

BlackBerry blacklists the 'Pooh' gang

A report surfaced recently contending that BlackBerry OS 10 will include a list of 106 prohibited passwords designed to prevent the clueless from choosing the likes of 123456, blackberry, or the ever-popular "password" as their password.

Paul McNamara | 17 Dec | Read more

Rogue game server admins tell all

Back in January, Scandinavian gamers hijacked a New Hampshire medical center's server to host "Call of Duty: Black Ops" sessions. When asked about that incident, Stephen Heaslip of the gamer site Blues News said hackers are not the most likely individuals to commandeer corporate servers for illicit gaming: Such appropriations are more often the work of IT administrators. When asked if he could put us in touch with some of these rogue game server admins, Heaslip posted a call to his readership - and four volunteers stepped forward.

Paul McNamara | 21 Mar | Read more

'I have a lost laptop horror story for you'

The devil of identity theft is in the details that follow: Russ Jones tells a tale of woe that isn't particularly dramatic -- or rare -- and yet it's exactly the kind of story that worries me enough to ignore my better judgment and buy identity-theft protection from my insurance provider.

Paul McNamara | 30 Jun | Read more

Do We Really Need a Security Industry?

Security expert/pundit/provocateur Bruce Schneier, always entertaining, had one of those "He's right but so what?" columns on The headline - "Do We Really Need a Security Industry?" - is the giveaway in that you'd expect Schneier's answer to the question to be no, just as you might expect the TV news tease "Big storm headed our way?" to mean that there's a big storm headed our way.

Paul McNamara | 07 May | Read more