Cybersecurity is an endless battle, with bad actors working to compromise unsuspecting people’s computers. Let James Feldkamp help educate you on how to defend yourself.
Keeping your computer, phone, and other devices secure from malicious actors and programs seems to be growing more difficult by the day as new methods are employed. The motives for this malice is not the same in every instance; for example, some may be done with the intention of stealing money from the victims, others seeking to steal data, and yet others simply exist to create chaos. James Feldkamp is here to help make these cybersecurity threats easier to understand and combat.
James Feldkamp: How to tighten your defenses
The main thing to do when defending against cybersecurity risks is to prepare for them in the first place. After all, a cybersecurity attack is not going to be as big a deal if you never even have to go up against it. Cybersecurity attacks can affect both big and small businesses, and small businesses are significantly more at risk due to how much more damaging being compromised can be. One thing that James Feldkamp recommends for business owners to do is simply to keep on the ball. Keeping your hardware up to date makes a big difference, as these updates often address vulnerabilities that older versions of the software may have had. Protection software is also important, according to James Feldkamp. Having a firewall blocks a lot of potentially malicious software and websites, while antivirus and antispyware software helps detect when things slip through the firewall. A combination of utilizing the available technology and having the smarts to stay away from potential risks helps cover a lot of holes.
James Feldkamp: What to do when an attack occurs?
For as much as you can do to avoid being the victim of a cybersecurity attack, nothing is entirely foolproof, James Feldkamp notes. So you also need to have a contingency plan for when the defenses fail. You should try to detect and locate the breach as soon as possible, and in turn, contain it before the damage gets any worse. Cutting off your tech from the Internet to stop the breach from getting more information or disabling remote access is a good step that James Feldkamp suggests. After that is finished, you should then assess where the breach came from. Is it a site-wide breach? A breach from only one or a few devices? Once you determine the source and severity of the problem, James Feldkamp suggests updating everything if necessary and change passwords, in case that one or more passwords were leaked. Make sure employees are not only kept abreast of the breaches, but also are educated on ways to avoid having this happen in the future.
James Feldkamp has long been a wine enthusiast sampling flavors from the vast array of international brands offering a taste of their unique vineyards. Noting the rise of “natural wine,” he helps readers understand below how it differs from other types of wine and what they can expect in terms of flavor and quality.
Natural wine has grown in popularity in recent years mainly because it strives to produce wine that is as untouched by man as possible. James Feldkamp mentions that natural wine (also known as “naked wine”) is like the organic version of the alcoholic beverage. The process relies on organic grapes and shies away from using the many additives that have become so common in winemaking today.
“In order to understand how natural wine is different from the rest, you have to first understand the mass-winemaking process,” says James Feldkamp. “Winemakers either run grape vineyards or purchase grapes from a vineyard that they cultivate into usable liquid through fermentation. It’s here that they may add in dozens of potential ingredients to bring out a particular taste or level of bitterness or sweetness. And throughout the process, many winemakers look to technical interventions to make the process easier or else bring about a specific result. Natural winemaking aims to bottle a product that has had as little technical intervention as possible.”
Often, creators of natural wine go the extra mile to ensure their process is as close as possible to the processes of wine makers from antiquity. This means they’ll likely look to vineyards that grow grapes without using any herbicide or pesticides. These producers will also likely use people instead of machines to hand-pick the grapes used in their wines. Instead of synthetic or enhanced yeast products, natural winemakers will only rely on native yeast.
The end result will be a product that isn’t altered by additives like sugar and acid, producing wine that is as natural as possible. Some natural wines have developed a highly-specific flavor as a result of their natural methods that may not be as appealing to the large international audience of wine enthusiasts. James Feldkamp, for instance, has come across natural wines that are decadent and sweet and others that are as bitter and pungent as pickle juice. It all depends on the process methods of the natural winemakers, the length of the fermenting process, and the grapes and other initial ingredients used.
“Another element of natural wines that I’ve learned people aren’t usually prepared for is its cloudy nature,” says James Feldkamp. “We tend to think of lightly-tinted white wines and bold but translucent red wines as the standard. However, because natural wines aren’t as strained or filtered, their liquid tends to be cloudy or opaque.”
Natural wine has a reputation for a distinctly funky taste, but the flavor varies greatly between producers. And today, wine enthusiasts have a number of natural wine producers to choose from, meaning there are plenty of options for them to potentially fall in love with.
A cybersecurity expert and specialist in international security, Jim Feldkamp holds an insightful perspective on efforts to safeguard information online. Below, he shares with readers a few key tips for protecting themselves against malicious online attacks and securing their private information when using the internet.
For years, Jim Feldkamp has worked on high-level security projects, which have helped him gain a critical understanding of topics like cybersecurity, vulnerabilities online, and common methods attackers use to exploit users. This insight allows him to strengthen security for both professional establishments and individuals, which is a growing concern around the world.
“Cyber warfare is a major issue for countless countries today with foreign powers relying on hackers and information thieves to gain an upper hand over their enemy,” says Jim Feldkamp. “This can mean a world of trouble for the average American unless they safeguard their actions and information online. And there are a few easy-to-remember ways to do that successfully.”
Use Only Strong Passwords
Jim Feldkamp tells us that strong passwords are those that are difficult to guess and which use a combination of letters, numbers, and other characters. Not every password has to be extremely complex or difficult to remember, he says, but shouldn’t be made up of simple word combinations. He suggests that all passwords be at least eight characters long and that passwords aren’t shared across different accounts. This way, they aren’t as easy to find or to manipulate.
Keep Software Updated
Another proactive and simple way of warding off online attacks is to keep your computer and all protective software updated. Viruses and ransomware attacks can have a detrimental effect on anyone’s life as these efforts can either destroy computers or else steal private information from them. The key is in patching outdated software or checking for updates on systems and applications, Jim Feldkamp says. These updates fortify online systems and helps seal off any entry points hackers or malware could use to confiscate private information.
Be Selective Where You Input Personal Information
There are countless places online that ask for personal information as simple as your first name or as in-depth as your credit card or social security number. It’s wise to input this information only where it’s absolutely necessary. Information shared online might fall into the hands of one or many hackers who regularly “phish” for things like phone numbers, emails, addresses, card numbers, personal identification numbers, and more. If you must share this information online, it’s also wise to only do so on verified secure web pages.
Avoid Public Wifi, or Use a VPN
Jim Feldkamp says public wifi is one of the most vulnerable means of accessing the internet. It’s possible for hackers to exploit unsecure networks and pull information from devices connected to it. If you must use public wifi, he suggests looking to Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) that allow users to log in anonymously online and protect their privately stored information.
“There are too many opportunities online for foreign agents to break into computers or smart devices and steal information for people not to take extreme measures to protect it,” says Jim Feldkamp. “While this isn’t a comprehensive list for protecting private information online, it is a great primer for navigating the internet without worry of being hacked or robbed.”
A proficient traveler, James Feldkamp has learned what elements can make or break a trip and where travelers should place their focus. Below, he shares a quick checklist with readers that will help eliminate major sources of stress while traveling overseas.
Having worked on international security projects for both the military and the Federal Government, James Feldkamp is a seasoned traveler by most standards. In his experiences traveling across the country and around the world, he’s amassed more than a few tips and tricks to minimize stress while on-the-go. Here, he shares a few of his traveling tips with readers to help their trips overseas go by more smoothly:
Get Your Passport Months in Advance
“The passport process doesn’t really require a lot of work from the applicant, but it does take a while to process and get sent back to you,” says James Feldkamp.
Nothing will put a damper on an international trip more than not being able to go because you waited too long to obtain a passport. Feldkamp advises getting all required documentation filled out and sent in at least six months before your departure date to avoid holdups in the process.
Traveling overseas can be an intimidating process that requires transfers and lugging around all your belongings on your back. Because of this, James Feldkamp always suggests packing as light as possible. Chances are, any extra clothes, replacement items, or necessities can be purchased overseas, and he advises packing only what you know you’ll absolutely need and try to get by with minimal luggage.
Study the Culture and Cities You’ll Visit Beforehand
“It’s easy to get turned around in a foreign city, especially in one where signs and names are all written in a different language than your own,” says James Feldkamp. “If you can, you should brush up on the local language and culture––just to learn the basics––and study the layout of the cities you’ll travel to, taking note of any major boroughs or districts that you can use as landmarks.”
He reminds readers that all this information can be accessed for free on the internet well before your trip.
Cover Your Home Basis
James Feldkamp says that worrying about something back at home that you have no control over will halt the fun on your entire trip. He suggests contacting the post office to have them hold your mail, finding a reliable emergency contact who can keep an eye on your home while away, and creating a quick means for friends or relatives to get ahold of you if they need to.
Know Where to Go for Help
“This information can be obtained when performing internet searches on cities and cultures where you’ll stay,” says James Feldkamp. “You should find out how far your lodging is away from hospitals, embassies, supermarkets, and transportation so that you’ll be prepared in case of an emergency. Sticking to these tips will shave off most of the worry and stress of traveling abroad, allowing you to take in new scenery, people, and culture with ease and comfort.”
One of the most trending topics in the American public school system today is the perceived unfairness of wages that teachers must face, often driving them to take on multiple jobs just to make ends meet. James Feldkamp, who has more than 15 years of experience teaching at the university level, discusses some recent highlights below.
James Feldkamp has noticed that teachers’ salaries have been in the media a lot recently with many expressing their concerns at rallies and demonstrations. Colorado teachers have earned top spots in the news by rallying in front of political offices demanding attention from representatives.
“More and more we’re hearing horror stories of teachers living out of their cars or working multiple jobs just to afford the bare basics,” says James Feldkamp. “Many teachers have been forced to opt-in for free or reduced lunch costs for their own children in the same school districts that they teach in.”
Doug Freeman is just such an educator. He’s a fourth grade teacher at Edith Teter Elementary School in Fairplay, Colorado who grew up in the state. Unfortunately, teacher wages have forced him––among many other educators in the state––to relocate to find more affordable housing beyond their own school districts.
Colorado has proven to have one of the strongest economies in the country, but frustration is building over the state’s lack of wage competitiveness for teachers. Most of the teachers in the state are highly educated and have earned Bachelors or Masters degrees to excel at their work. Unfortunately, many of these teachers are unable to afford minimum bills, even with their higher education.
Recently, many of Colorado’s teachers gathered together at the state’s Capitol to explain their financial hardships to local lawmakers. Only two years ago, educators swarmed around the Legislature and demanded answers from legislators over the same issue, making the demonstration a recurring event each year.
“The problem keeps getting tossed around between Democrats and Republicans who have very different, very strong opinions of how the problem should be handled,” says James Feldkamp. “And while they bicker over the best path to take, more and more teachers from Colorado––and elsewhere––go on strike to show their frustration over a lack of solution.”
The Democrats have introduced a measure, called Senate Bill 89, that would create a dedicated incentive fund for teacher pay raises, which would be a first for state funds. Alternatively, Republicans have proposed a separate legislation that would reward Colorado’s highly effective teachers with bonuses of about $2,000 each. This is part of a package of education bills put forth by Republicans which would also give income tax credit to teachers for any out of pocket classroom expenses.
“We’ve come to a point where our teachers are jumping ship to prove that they can’t live like this anymore, which is a shame coming from one of the most advanced and richest countries in the world,” says James Feldkamp. “Lawmakers need to rise up and develop a solution for our teachers or else generations of students will also suffer.”
During his career, James Feldkamp has specialized in international security, foreign policy initiatives, and cybersecurity, helping a variety of establishments safeguard themselves from online threats. To help citizens protect themselves against malicious agents seeking to use their private information for harm, he shares with readers below a few key tips for protecting online activity.
James Feldkamp has served as an instrumental component in many national campaigns to strengthen cybersecurity, both in professional and private civilian capacities. He’s worked on many high-level security projects across his career and has amassed a wealth of advice for people looking to protect themselves and their information online.
“Cyber warfare is a major issue for countless countries today with foreign powers relying on hackers and information thieves to gain an upper hand over their enemy,” says James Feldkamp. “This can mean a world of trouble for the average American unless they safeguard their actions and information online. And there are a few easy-to-remember ways to do that successfully.”
To begin with, James Feldkamp suggests keeping your computer and all protective software updated. Ransomware attacks can target major corporations just as easily as they do the everyday citizen, but patching outdated software or checking for updates on systems and applications can better protect their private information. The updates help fortify programs and systems to have less vulnerabilities and entry points for hackers to exploit. Most systems and applications have a “check for updates” option in the main menu.
“Another important aspect of cybersecurity is having strong passwords that are difficult to guess or manipulate,” says James Feldkamp. “This means avoiding common words and phrases as well as relying on numbers and punctuation marks.”
He says that you don’t have to have complex passwords to be efficient, and not every password will need to use a combination of symbols, numbers, and letters. As long as the password is at least eight characters long and uses one or two numbers or symbols, it should offer ample protection. While it may seem difficult to keep up with varying passwords, cybersecurity experts like James Feldkamp also advise against using the same passwords across multiple programs or accounts.
Additionally, Feldkamp asks all people to protect their information by only filling out and inputting it online where absolutely necessary. He warns against unnecessarily including things like names, addresses, location details, Social Security numbers, phone numbers, emails and the like on social media platforms, forums, and other public web domains. Everyone should be cautious about sharing any type of information online, and they should only ever input it if a site is a guaranteed secure page.
“The last bit of advice I have is to avoid public wifi if at all possible,” says James Feldkamp. “This is one of the easiest ways for hackers to tap into your system and steal information. If you must use public wifi, it’s always a safer bet to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to work anonymously online. By using a VPN and following these other tips, you built up a much stronger defense against online attackers and thieves.”
Having worked on international security projects for both the military and the Federal government for decades, James Feldkamp has developed a keen understanding of traveling safely to foreign countries. To help American tourists who may be traveling abroad, Feldkamp shares three critical tips for avoiding scams while overseas.
James Feldkamp has been an integral component of various high-level security projects during his 30 years of service split between the military and the Federal government. He’s specialized in international security and foreign policy initiatives, often curtailing attempts from foreign powers to breach cybersecurity efforts across the country.
He’s a seasoned travel, having spent the bulk of his professional career traveling to or studying foreign countries. This experience equips him to share a few insider pointers for Americans traveling abroad, such as avoiding common scams while overseas. His advice follows:
Use Only Well-Known Brands for Currency Exchange
“International travelers are drawn to signs declaring cheaper exchange rates like Florida vacationers are drawn to kiosks offering ‘discounted’ theme park tickets,” says James Feldkamp. “Both can seemingly save you money, but they come with a catch, and it usually means scamming unknowing visitors out of their money.”
Europe is full of places that seem like legitimate currency exchange storefronts, but the bulk are the work of crafty scam artists. Sometimes, these locations will boast an exchange rate that is lower than average, but on closer inspection only apply to vast sums of money. More common transaction totals are taxed even higher than they would normally be at an international bank. James Feldkamp suggest asking or researching exchange locations before traveling and only trusting big name brand providers when overseas.
Be Wary of Over-Enthusiastic Helpers
Traveling overseas can be scary, especially when going to countries with different languages and vastly different cultures or currency. You may often look for help in the local citizens, or they may try to help you, but James Feldkamp warns against overly-friendly locals. Many times, their help turns into an expectation to be tipped and, if not received, will cause many to turn to harassment for money. Overly-friendly people helping out needy tourists tend to either expect payment for their assistance or else are part of a pickpocketing crew and serve as a nice distraction while your belongings are stolen.
Watch for Rigged ATM Scams
Scammers stealing credit card information from ATMs or gas station pumps is as much a problem overseas as it is here in America, sometimes even more so. Scammers use devices that they attach onto ATMs that look like they belong on the machines, but actually capture card information during a normal transaction without the user knowing. While they might be difficult to spot (they wouldn’t be much use to scammers otherwise), you can look for signs like glue residue around the card reader before making a transaction. Additionally, it may be worth your time to fiddle with the card reader to see if any loose parts come off. However, you don’t want to handle it too roughly or else you may damage the machine.
“There are lists and lists of helpful bits of advice for those traveling abroad, and we’ve only scratched the surface with these three,” says James Feldkamp. “However, these scams are some of the most prevalent abroad and are entirely avoidable with the right knowledge.”
James Feldkamp has more than 30 years of Federal government and military experience, specializing in international security and foreign policy initiatives. Having worked on a number of high-level security projects across his career, he shares his insight to the recently proposed senate bill that will encourage stronger electric grid cybersecurity.
A bill was recently proposed by the Senate Energy Committee called The Protecting Resources On The Electric Grid with Cybersecurity Technology (a.k.a. the PROTECT Act). The purpose behind the bill is to direct the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to provide incentives to electric utility companies to improve their current cybersecurity technology. This was in direct response to growing concerns in cybersecurity across the nation.
“Our country’s electric grid has come under greater attack in recent years from foreign enemies looking to destabilize America,” says James Feldkamp. “Compromising our electricity would have a tremendous impact on affected areas, and cyberattacks against these facilities from foreign operatives is a growing concern throughout Congress.”
Siemens and the Ponemon Institute recently released a report that states the rate of cyberattacks on the utility industry is worsening with time. Fifty-six percent of the facilities surveyed recalled at least one shutdown or operational data loss per year, and 25% were impacted by what is termed a “mega attack.” FERC has already created stricter standards on electric grid cybersecurity across the country and increased the scope of attacks that should be reported by facilities to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
People like James Feldkamp who understand the threat better than most hope the new bill will dramatically increase electric utility companies’ investments in new technology that will address the growing threat. It encourages these companies to look to advanced cybersecurity technologies for protection and to improve partnerships between the government and private industries to prevent attacks.
“This is a much-needed step from the federal government to keep up with growing concerns over cyberattacks,” says James Feldkamp. “Combining the resources of electric companies and the government can help us create technically advanced defenses we need to protect our grids.”
Many people fear foreign enemies have or are building sophisticated cybersecurity weapons that can exploit vulnerabilities in the existing infrastructure of utilities around the country. If the new bill is passed in the Senate, the bipartisan effort will be a vital step to ensuring homes and businesses everywhere can live without the worry of threat on their electric grids.
Additionally, the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners has issued support for regulated utilities through informational sessions and its Critical Infrastructure Committee, allowing state regulators to analyze and collaborate in forums on solutions to utility infrastructure security concerns.
“We need this bill today more than ever, and we’ll likely need it in the near future more than we do today,” says James Feldkamp.