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May 30th, 2015

164_C_iPhoneIn today’s interconnected culture where everyone is armed with an internet-enabled mobile device, it can sometimes feel like privacy is becoming extinct quicker than the iPhone 5. And speaking of the iPhone - if you’re a business owner constantly on the go, you may have fallen into the habit of texting confidential information on your beloved Apple device more often than you should. Not to fear, we’ve got your back. Here are three iPhone privacy adjustments that will give you an added layer of comfort and security.

Turn off message previews

Have you ever accidentally left your iPhone on your desk while taking a bathroom break? When your phone is left unguarded in a public place, this is a golden opportunity for a passerby to glimpse a confidential message on your phone’s display. Here are the steps to take to prevent this from happening. Click on the following:
  1. Settings
  2. Notifications
  3. Messages
  4. Show Previews (turning it off)
With the preview setting off, you’ll still be alerted to a new text message. The only difference is that not a single line of said message will be viewable if someone sneaks a peek at your display.

Automatically delete texts

If you lose your phone or it gets stolen, there’s always the chance of it falling into the wrong hands. When that happens, you don’t want your sensitive or valuable information exposed to a stranger.

To avoid this nightmare scenario, there’s an easy solution to ensure your messages are deleted automatically after a designated time period of your choosing. Follow these steps for this additional security. Click on:

  1. Settings
  2. Messages
  3. Keep Messages
From here you now have the option to keep your messages for 30 days, a year or forever.

Turn off read receipts

When the word “Read” appears under a text message you’ve sent, this is a read receipt. It informs you that the the receiver of the text has seen your message. This works both ways, and also alerts the person you’re messaging with that you’ve read their text as well. So, why would you want to turn this off?

Maybe you don’t want to respond immediately to a client or colleague who is corresponding with you via text. If that’s the case, you may not want him or her to know that you’ve seen their message and are waiting to respond. In this scenario, turn off your read receipts and whoever it is you’re texting with will never know you saw their message.

To turn off read receipts, click on:

  1. Settings
  2. Messages
  3. Send Read Receipts (turning it off)
With these additional privacy measures in place, you can rest assured that a confidential text message will never be seen by the wrong person.

Want more iPhone tips or need a technology question answered? Don’t hesitate to give us a call.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic iPhone
February 13th, 2015

SocialMedia_Feb12_CLong gone are the days when the only photos you would see on your Facebook page were snaps of weddings, holidays and the like. Now, alongside countless selfies in unremarkable situations and obligatory dish-pics of restaurant foods, we are blessed with the meme. Among the most popular memes are photos of cats in odd positions with humorous captions - well, one new entrant to the social media marketplace wants to take that a bit further. It could be about to flood Facebook with lots more cat photos in a bid to protect your online privacy.

But there is more to it than that: the team behind social messaging app Wickr aren’t looking to post images of our furry friends just for the fun of it. In fact, the feline factor is just one feature of the app, known as the Wickr Timed Feed. Wickr actually promises to offer greater security and privacy controls than similar apps like Snapchat - but whereas Snapchat simply lets you set your images to self-destruct once they have been seen by the recipient, Wickr takes an alternative approach.

As well as allowing only pre-approved friends to see your photos within your Wickr feed, the app lets you share each photo through Facebook and control which of your friends can see it. So where do the cats come in? Well, when you first share to Facebook, no-one will see your photo - instead, they’ll see a decoy image of a funky-looking cat. However, Facebook users then have the option to click through to Wickr and, if they are one of up to 151 people you have pre-approved to have access to your real photo, it will be unlocked and the cat will disappear - at least, until the photo automatically self-destructs 24 hours later, as do images on your feed in the Wickr app itself.

If it all sounds a bit like security overkill, then that’s probably because it is. Sharing Wickr photos to Facebook also sounds a little cumbersome, and even more so the process for unlocking a cat-guarded photo, and this could have an adverse effect on widespread take-up of the feature. But it does address genuine concerns surrounding the far and often uncontrollable reach of images and information we post online. What’s more, it appears to be a way to prevent Facebook from claiming ownership of the photos we upload - as much a concern for professional photographers and companies using Facebook for marketing purposes, as for individuals using the platform to keep in touch with friends. Wickr claims that, because the cat photo is all that will be publicly visible unless the bona fide picture is unlocked, that will be the only thing to which the social network could claim to have ownership or reproduction rights.

Whether it catches on or not, the emergence of apps like Wickr is telling of the growing pressure for the usability of social media networks to be balanced with protection for their users’ privacy. It acts as a reminder to businesses to be aware both of potential issues with usage rights for corporate images shared online, and of the need to keep consumer concerns about data misuse in mind when designing social media marketing strategies.

To learn more about how to effectively put social media to work for your business, get in touch with us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Social Media
November 14th, 2013

2013Nov13_Facebook_CSecurity, both offline and online, should be something that is top of mind for business owners and managers, especially when it comes to interactive platforms like Facebook. While social media sites do generally have the user's best interest in mind, the developers of these systems do introduce changes from time-to-time. Recently, Facebook announced that they will be eliminating a security feature and this could cause some confusion.

If you have logged into Facebook recently, you may have seen a notice at the top of the News Feed page informing you that, "In a few days we'll [Facebook] be removing an old Facebook setting called "Who can look up your Timeline by name." Seeing this message could create a bit of confusion as to whether it is a big deal to take real notice of or not.

What did this setting do?

In previous versions of Facebook, starting from when Timeline was introduced, you could type in individual or company names to bring up their Facebook Timeline. This security setting allowed you to set who could find your Timeline if they entered your name.

Why is Facebook removing it?

Before the more recent changes to Facebook, such as the introduction of the new search feature, the only way to find Facebook users was to search for them. Now, users can be found in numerous ways and the most obvious is by using the new Graph Search (Facebook's new Search Bar).

Because of the numerous ways to find profiles, and the related security settings, Facebook has announced that they will remove this security setting largely because it is redundant. It should be noted that Facebook isn't removing the ability to search for users by name, just the setting that controlled who could see your Timeline.

What will happen now?

The biggest change is that now anyone will be able to look up your name and find and view your Timeline on Facebook.

Should I be worried about the removal of this privacy setting?

For businesses, this change is actually a positive one. All users will be able to find your Facebook Page, which is something you want. You are still in control as to who can see individual posts and updates. In general, your Page will continue to be visible, but the chances of seeing increased visits solely due to this development are pretty slim.

That being said, any change to the security settings on Facebook mark a good time to conduct an audit of your Page and Timeline. Log into your Page and press the Lock icon in the top-right. Take a look at security settings, including who can see what content. For many businesses, this should be public - as long as the content posted on the Page is aimed at being openly viewed.

If you are posting pictures or updates that you only want a select group to see, be sure to set the security settings when you create posts. This can be done by pressing the arrow beside Post. It is a good idea to look through your Timeline and ensure posts, updates, Likes, shares, etc. are shared with the appropriate people. You can do this by pressing on the cog in the top left and selecting Account Settings followed by Privacy and Activity Log beside Review all your posts and things you're tagged in.

Looking to learn more about the role of Facebook in your business? Contact us today to see how we can help.


Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Facebook
March 10th, 2012

Google and Apple, two of the biggest — if not the biggest — technological companies in the world have products used by millions of people on a daily basis. But what happens when one of them is caught bypassing the security of the other? This happened recently, when Google was caught circumventing the security settings of Safari, the main browser used by Apple’s products.

As many news sources are reporting, Google was discovered to have bypassed the security settings of Apple’s default browser, Safari. If you are to believe the many news articles, what Google has done is a big issue. But what did Google actually do, and how does this affect your business?

What Did Google Do? Google was caught using software to trick Safari’s security settings into allowing third-party cookies. The cookies placed by Google were used to track users’ internet behavior with the idea of providing personalized ads targeted to the users. Google stressed that no personal data was recorded.

Why would Google do this? Safari is set up to block all third-party cookies — cookies usually used by advertisers placed on a user’s hard drive that don’t have the same URL the user is looking at. Since the majority of Google’s ad services don’t operate under the Google URL, Google needs to use third-party cookies to track users. In other browsers, when a user signs into a Google Account, third-party cookies used by Google’s ad services are automatically placed. With Safari, the cookies are automatically blocked.

To get around the established security, Google took advantage of a known loophole found in 2010 by putting a form in some pages that tricked Safari into thinking the user had agreed to let Google’s Ad services track them.

What Does this Mean to Us? In all honesty, not very much. Google has said that they are removing the forms from the websites and cookies from the browsers. Apple has said they are working to stop all third party cookies, but no updates have been released as of March 1.

What Can We Do? To ensure that third party cookies are blocked in Safari, go to:

  1. Safari - Preferences, or hit “Command” + “,”
  2. Select Privacy
  3. Select which level of cookies you would like to block
You can also set your browser to never allow cookies. The downside to this is you will find yourself having to log into a site each time you go to it in a new window. Another strategy is to clear your cookies regularly. In the same tab you set your cookie preferences, select: Remove All Website Data

If you would like to learn more about protecting your organization, or if you have questions, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic Browsers
December 19th, 2011

Employees using their own mobile devices for work may seem like a good idea at first it's less expense for you, the employer, and they can also make employees more productive. However, it also means that you are allowing potentially unsecure devices to access your company's data. The solution? An effective IT security policy that balances personal freedom to use these devices and your need to secure important business information.

As technology continues to become more affordable and accessible to consumers, it's an inevitable fact that employers will see more and more of their employees using their own personal devices such as laptops and mobile phones to access the company's IT system.

This can be a dangerous thing. Since these devices aren't company owned and regulated, you have limited access and control over how they are used. Employees could download all sorts of malware and viruses on their devices and pass the infection along to your IT system when they access it.

The solution: a comprehensive IT security policy. It's important that you find a compromise between the freedom of the employee to use the device as desired and your need to keep your IT system safe from viruses and other threats to your data's security. Steps such as having employees run mobile device management (MDM) software on their devices is one of many actions you can take to lessen the risk of security breaches. You may also want to implement applications and software that check and screen for malware, both for laptops and mobile devices. And don't forget that while Android seems to have a bigger problem with malicious software, Apple isn't exactly virus-free, either.

Employees have a right to use their personal devices as they see fit, but not at the expense of important company information stored in your IT system. Running a tight ship in terms of security is an effective way to protect your business interests and your sensitive company data. If you are interested in knowing more about developing a concrete and effective IT security policy for personal device use as well as general system access, please don't hesitate to give us a call so we can sit down with you and discuss a custom security blueprint that's just right for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

December 12th, 2011

Fact: all it takes is one security breach to destroy a company. But few - especially small businesses - seem to realize it, according to a recent survey released by StaySafeOnline.org. Results show that few small businesses see themselves as a target of online thieves or hackers, resulting in many having only token security policies in place.

StaySafeOnline.org, a website of the National Cyber Security Alliance, has recently released a study that chronicles the cyber security practices and attitudes of small businesses. Conducted in partnership with Visa, the study shows some interesting, if not disturbing, results.

It turns out that many small businesses (about 65% of the respondents) are highly dependent on their computer / IT / data systems, where they store important information, from sensitive company financial records to personal client information such as credit card info, addresses and phone numbers, and more. However, as many as 85% believe that they will not be targeted by hackers and online thieves, and less than half have data security systems in which they are confident. In general, small businesses have, at best, a mediocre security system.

Few realize, though, that it only takes one breach to compromise a company's finances and relationships with clients. And if you have less than stellar security, stealing from you is easier. You might not have as many online assets as big businesses, but hackers can make a hefty profit by victimizing several easy marks as opposed to bigger and riskier efforts with more secure systems of larger firms.

Don't take a risk with important data, and don't compromise the relationships and reputation you've built with your clients over the years. Good security is always worth it. If you're interested in knowing more about beefing up your security through company policies, software, and user education, please don't hesitate to contact us. We'd be happy to sit down with you and discuss a security blueprint that's cost effective and custom built to meet your specific needs.

Reference: National Small Business Study

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Topic General Tech
June 1st, 2011

Cafe WiFiThese days, be it for personal or business reasons, people must be online as much as possible. Unfortunately, hackers also realize this, and an emerging trend is to exploit public networks to gain access to the personal and sensitive information of the people connected to it. But as long as you have the proper protocols in place, you can connect without fear of hacking or intrusion into your system.

These days, Wi-Fi is everywhere. Airports, coffee shops, train and bus stations, malls almost every public place you can think offers Wi-Fi connectivity. Being connected to the internet has evolved from luxury to necessity, and whether it’s for personal or business reasons people are online as much as possible.

This is all well and good, except when you consider that hackers have started to extend their playing field to public Wi-Fi networks. With the volume of sensitive information such as passwords and financial transactions, it’s inevitable that crooks and fraudsters move to public networks where there is more potential to illegally farm large chunks of information.

Two things are important about this emerging trend. First, it’s the very nature of public networks that makes them vulnerable to attack. Second, hacking has become much easier these days, with very simple hacking programs such as Firesheep easily downloadable from the web.

However, the solution is simple as well: have the proper security protocols on your smartphone or laptop. It’s unfortunate that many people neglect to recognize the importance of such policies, and only have minimal security (if any at all) to guard against attacks. But as long as you have the proper protocols in place, you can stay connected even through public Wi-Fi without fear of hacking or any sort of intrusion into your system.

If you want to know more about keeping your portable devices safe from attacks, please feel free to contact us. We’ll be glad to explain the issue in more detail and draw up a solution customized to fit your needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
May 16th, 2011

A recent incident in which Epsilon one of the largest email service providers in the world fell victim to phishing has highlighted the need for companies, big and small, to pay more attention to their security protocols lest not only their business data be compromised, but also that of their clients.

There’s been a lot of buzz recently about Epsilon, one of the biggest email service providers in the world, as it suffers from the backlash of allowing itself to be a victim of phishing efforts which has affected the business data of as many as 50 major companies who are clients of theirs.

Reports are also citing Epsilon’s failure to heed an alert from a business partner which advised the provider to be on its toes against potential attacks from cyber-criminals targeted towards email service providers. The damage estimates vary, with Epsilon citing only about 2% of their data being stolen, but the impact is undeniable. Cyber-criminals now have access to a sizable number of personal data stored through Epsilon passwords, account numbers, and even the purchasing / buying habits of the customers of Epsilonงs clients. Many of Epsilon’s clients are now sending out messages to their own customers, warning them that their email addresses may have been compromised.

It’s a lesson to companies, big and small, to pay more attention to beefing up their security protocols, since all it takes is one breach to endanger all of your data. In addition to having the right security software, it also helps if you require your employees undergo proper user training to make sure that they won’t be easily baited by scams like phishing, and will be more aware of how to contribute to the safety of your business data. Failing to do so puts not only your company, but also your clients, at risk.

If you’d like to make sure your systems are safe, call us and we’ll evaluate your current security measures and suggest ways to make critical improvements.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
May 3rd, 2011

It’s a fact: Most departing employees take confidential business information with themand today, most of the information is electronic. Because electronic information can be easily transferred and saved in multiple locations without your control, it’s important to protect your data when an employee leaves.

Remember the days when employees kept important information in paper files? They are long gone. According to a study conducted by the University of California at Berkeley, almost all of today’s new information is stored electronically. And that could mean trouble for your company when an employee resignsbecause electronic documents are both easy to copy, and portable. That makes them more prone to theft than paper documents.

Case in point: In August 2009, DuPont filed a lawsuit against a research scientist who allegedly stole more than 600 files by copying them to a portable hard drive. And that wasn’t an isolated incident; another DuPont research scientist was sentenced to an 18 month prison term for stealing proprietary information worth $400 million.

Think employee data theft doesn’t apply to your type of business? Think again. A 2009 study conducted by the Ponemon Institute found that data theft is rampant in the business world. According to the study, 59 percent of employees who quit or are fired take confidential business information with them. And when the employee works in IT, the access to confidential data is even greater. A 2008 study by Cyber-Ark Software found that almost 90 percent of IT employees would take sensitive company data with them if they were laid off.

The lesson: When employees leave, you must take steps to protect the electronic information they have access to. This may include customer information, financial records, trade secrets, intellectual property, and email lists, to name just a few items.

We recommend that when an employee leaves, you prevent his or her account access, set the account for immediate review, save any necessary files (which may involve consulting with other departments for verification of documents), then delete the account. In addition to protecting data, this will also optimize server space and open up more storage space for the company.

While some employees might argue that they need access to their personal files before departing, and you may grant such access (supervised, on a case-by-case basis), it is not required; any of the information that is located on a company computer is company property.

In a sensitive situation it’s always good to let us know ahead of time so we can help you prepare for a well-managed and secure transition.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
April 29th, 2011

In the digital world, the same ideas apply to email. To keep your email safe and secure, there is a device called encryption which helps to obfuscate each email’s content to everyone except its recipients, and makes sure it is delivered safely and intact.

Encrypting email is relatively easy with today’s software. Usually it involves the use of a public key and a private key. The public key is available to everyone, and if you want to send someone an email message you would use that person’s public key to encrypt that message. That person in turn would use his private key, to which only he has access, to decode that message.

Software such as the latest versions of Microsoft Outlook supports this feature, and even flags you if the recipient’s email software does not support encryption. Some systems take it a step further by allowing you to digitally sign your emails, so that other people can verify that it is you who actually sent the email and not someone else. This is especially important since hackers sometimes spoof or impersonate the identities of others to fool unsuspecting users.

If you are interested in finding out more about email encryption and security, contact us today to find out how we can help make sure your messages are safe and secure.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles