LastWatchdog moves to


(Editor’s note: Last Watchdog is on the move. On this site you may continue to access my body of work on security and privacy topics since 2008. I’m not done yet. Going forward, I will continue delivering smart content as Editor-In-Chief for ThirdCertainty, a  new cybersecurity and privacy online publication sponsored by  IDT911. Full disclosure: ThirdCertainty’s parent company, IDT911,  is an identity theft and data loss assistance firm owned by consumer advocate Adam K. Levin,  who also owns ThirdCertainy will  feature journalistic news and analysis crafted to foster understanding about evolving exposures and share knowledge about successful security and privacy strategies. As always, I welcome story ideas, hot tips, pretty much any and all feedback. My primary business email address is now  bacohidoATthirdcertaintyDOTCOM. My business phone line remains 360 297-5566. I look forward to hearing from you. Below is ThirdCertainty’s initial post, originally published  Aug. 6, 2014 at –Byron Acohido)

LAS VEGAS — This week the best and brightest security researchers have convened here in the smothering desert heat to remind us how the commercialization of the Internet continues to be a two-edged sword, empowering good, but also multiplying opportunities for malicious and exploitive pursuits.

It’s the perfect opportunity to introduce you to a new project: I’m Byron Acohido, Editor-In-Chief, and this is where I’ve landed to continue practicing journalism.

In years past at Black Hat Vegas I’ve observed good guy hackers trigger an ATM to spew cash, remotely shut down a pacemaker and even use an RFID-enabled passport to detonate a package of explosives.

Troubling new exposures just keep on coming. Presenters here this week will demonstrate exploitable security flaws in Internet-connected vehicles, luxury hotel rooms, Amazon-powered websites, the camera technology used in Google Glass and even in earth-orbiting satellites.

And while most of the intelligence here at Black Hat point out fresh flaws ripe for exploitation, news stories continue to break highlighting how relentless cyber criminals have become at taking advantage of old, well-known vulnerabilities.

The New York Times scoop on a Russian gang that has amassed over a billion stolen passwords is the latest example.

The universal lesson, which continues to escape far too many of us, is this: it has become incumbent upon each individual and each company to assess risks and practice safe behaviors. This requires making the effort to understand a complex problem.

And that’s where ThirdCertainty intends to help. I’ve embarked on the exciting challenge of launching a new online publication crafted to deliver authoritative, helpful content to any one concerned with security and privacy, which ought to be all of us.

This is a sneak preview. We’re working hard on a formal launch which should happen a bit later this year. ThirdCertainty will feature news posting, videos, analysis pieces and Q&A columns to start. Our intent is to enlighten businesses and individuals about the breadth of emerging privacy and security risks. And we will seek out and highlight best practices and new technologies that can help mitigate those risks.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to expand upon the work I did the past 13 years as a tech reporter and web producer at USA TODAY, where I chronicled the evolution of cybercrime in its formative stages, including producing hundreds of print stories and blog posts, scores of videos and an award-winning book Zero Day Threat: The Shocking Truth of How Banks and Credit Bureaus Help Cyber Crooks Steal Your Money and Identity

And I’m thrilled to have a blank canvas and clear mandate to serve a global audience in dire need of useful intelligence on these topics. As always, I welcome and appreciate your feedback. What’s more, I invite you to share your expertise and experiences for the greater good. Let’s go do it!

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