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  1. Very wealthy people are often targets for criminal hackers, tabloids and rivals, but there are steps anyone can take to avoid exposing sensitive personal and business communications. Watch your passwords, download a secure messaging app and make sure the other party you're texting with is on board. Secure texting shouldn't be viewed as something "shady" -- it's needed for everything from sharing confidential business plans to responding to breaches. High-profile executives, billionaires and media tycoons often employ the best technology, services and consultants to keep their private conversations private. Jeff Bezos is all three of these, and even he apparently fell victim to stolen private text messages. Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced on Wednesday that they are divorcing after 25 years of marriage. A bit later, the National Enquirer published private text messages it claims Bezos sent to Lauren Sanchez, whom he's reportedly been in a relationship with. Amazon has not commented on the story except to tell CNBC, "Jeff remains focused on and engaged in all aspects of Amazon." Bezos didn't need to have his private messages exposed. For too long, secure texting has been regarded as something "shady" that should invite suspicion. But it's got plenty of uses: Sharing confidential business plans, responding to breaches and — indeed — expressing private affection for your loved ones. With this in mind, I've compiled a list of suggestions so that you can keep private messages more secure. Use encrypted messaging applications Modern secure messaging applications offer many features that can prevent the leak of private data into malicious hands, from multiple angles. Signal and Wickr are two of my favorites. I also have occasionally used WhatsApp for contacts who only have this option, but with an asterisk because it's owned by Facebook, and I don't like the fact that the application shares even a little bit of information with the social media giant. Even WhatsApp's co-founder has questioned this practice. All three of these use end-to-end encryption, which means the messages are encrypted even when sent over open channels like public WiFi. They are only readable between the two parties sending them. Signal and Wickr provide particularly good options for controlling when your messages "disappear" and are discarded. I've been particularly impressed with Wickr's "secure shredder" function that constantly works to overwrite even remnants of deleted data. Having a cloud backup service can also mess with the effectiveness of these apps' abilities to truly delete your messages permanently, so you may need to tweak your cloud settings. Always have a password ... just not that one These applications are only as good as the password on your device. First, make sure you have one, otherwise anyone who gets your phone can easily see any remaining messages in your messaging applications easily. Second, avoid using the security login function that requires you to draw a familiar shape. Because while you might not realize it, constantly swiping in a triangle formation has probably left a faint, triangle-shaped smudge on your phone that anyone can easily use to open it. Watch those numbers-based passwords, too -- don't pull a Kanye and make your password "000000." Third, even though it's kind of a hassle, it's a good idea to enable a password on your secure messaging app in addition to your phone's main login password. That way, in case someone is able to break into your phone, they still won't be able to access your messaging application or any saved messages. (All the secure apps mentioned here let you set a password.) The other person matters The security of your messages is only as good as the security of the person you're texting with. Having a secure messaging application helps because it forces the other person to download the secure app. It also gives you the control of setting a deletion period, which effectively deletes the message permanently from both of your devices, so you don't have to worry about someone else carrying around your sensitive conversations. Another strategy — don't laugh — is using code words. It might sound like a silly endeavor, but it's actually a low-tech and practical solution that's often used by cybersecurity professionals themselves. Cyber pros do this when they're exchanging sensitive information in the early days of a data breach, so they can avoid tipping off any criminals who may be active on their networks while they are investigating. In fact, the practice is actually codified in the National Institute of Standards in Technology's guide for computer incident response. This is why you won't see them throwing around terms like "breach," "data loss," and "hackers" during a breach — instead they'll give these terms distinct names so they can easily text about it without raising too many red flags. Having a few choice code words can cut down on everyone's anxiety, and they can be applied to any sensitive personal or business interaction. Try Donald Trump's method: courier Back in 2016, some observers ridiculed Donald Trump's suggestion that a cure for cyberattacks may be sending sensitive information by courier. But he was right. Writing down your message and delivering it to someone else can still expose sensitive information, but it cuts down the data points and transit methods to only one. Data loss can only occur via a stiff breeze or errant bike messenger. You also don't even have to sign your name. Face-to-face conversations work well, too. Source
  2. The Amazon CEO already invests $1 billion a year in the space company. Jeff Bezos believes in Blue Origin so much, he's investing even more money in the space company next year. On Monday, the Amazon CEO said he plans to invest "a little more" than a billion dollars in the company next year, up from his previous investment of $1 billion annually. "I just got the news from the team," he said during the Wired25 conference at the SFJazz Center in San Francisco. Bezos added that he never says no when Blue Origin asks for money. "We are starting to bump up against the absolute true fact that Earth is finite," he said said. "Blue Origin, what we need to do is lower the cost of access to space." Bezos became the world's richest person last October, thanks to the surging value of Amazon, which he founded in 1994 in his garage and stewarded into the world's biggest e-commerce site. He still owns 16 percent of the company. Amazon has upended the way we all shop for goods, and it's now aiming to change how we interact with our devices. The company's Alexa digital voice assistant works with more than 20,000 devices, including the new Echo smart speakers and Amazon's new voice-activated microwave. It's often considered by experts to be one of the smartest smart assistants available. Bezos' ambitions extend beyond Amazon. In addition to Blue Origin, he has moved into media with his purchase of The Washington Post. Last month, Bezos made good on a promise to start giving back more of his enormous wealth, announcing the Day One charitable fund and a $2 billion donation to help with education and fight homelessness. Blue Origin competes with Elon Musk's SpaceX when it comes to space exploration. SpaceX has received more attention, both for its successes and its failures, over the past few years and is further along in developing its business. But Blue Origin technically beat Musk to the punch with the first successful rocket launch and recovery -- on land at its west Texas facility in 2015. At Wired25, Bezos said Blue Origin "is the most important thing I'm working on, but I won't live to see it all rolled out." He added that it's important to take risks and work on things that are different from what everyone else is doing. "You want risk taking, and you want people to have vision that most people don't agree with," he said. "We have never needed to think long term as a species. And we finally do." Bezos also said that he will support the US Defense Department. Earlier this month, cloud computing rival Google pulled out of the bidding for a $10 billion Pentagon contract after employee protests. Google said the project may conflict with its principles for ethical use of AI. "If big tech companies are going to turn their backs on the Department of Defense, we are in big trouble," Bezos said. "This is a great country, and it does need to be defended." He added that despite its problems, the US is "still the best country in the world," and if it were up to him, he'd let anyone come to the country who wants. Source
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