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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
November 5th, 2010

master lockOne of the most important factors in keeping your online presence safe is the strength and security of your passwords. And with all sorts of phishing and password stealing scams out there, it’s essential to have multiple alphanumeric passwords, so that they’re harder to crack.

In the same way that keys are used to open different doors, passwords are used to access many areas of cyberspace. However, those passwords are vulnerable to hacking, stealing, or random guessing – which makes password integrity and security a main concern.

However, for many people, this essential fact is overlooked. Many tend to use either easy-to-guess passwords, or use the same password for all their online accounts - from their online banking to their email – which is a hacker’s dream come true. Because when they steal a password, it’s standard operating procedure for them to test it against popular websites to see if it works there as well.

The most basic security measure you can use to guard against this is to have multiple passwords for your different online accounts – whether they are for personal or business use. And don’t just think of easy passwords, like your birthday or wedding anniversary – these are usually the first thing hackers try. The best passwords are alphanumeric – composed of both letters and numbers so that it’s harder to crack.

This might be a bit tedious, but it’s better than running the risk of compromising your security online. There are also several programs and applications you can use to help store your passwords, so you only need to remember a few of your most-used ones, and refer to your database for the others.

Remember, your passwords hold the keys to most, if not all, of your online presence, so keeping them secure is extremely important. If you’re looking for a security solution for your passwords, please give us a call so we can help you implement a password security system that works for you.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.
Topic Articles
October 28th, 2010

light shining through cloudsWant to know if a website is safe to visit? Clear Cloud offers a fast, efficient, effective, and simple way to check the veracity of each and every website you visit.

It’s a simple, straightforward approach to getting better security for your computer:  download software, install it, and have it check whether every single website you go to is safe or not.

That, in a nutshell, is what Clear Cloud does. This nifty little program is designed to help you filter out and block potentially harmful websites that many people unwittingly stumble into time and again. It’s the perfect solution for anti-phishing and helping keep your system free of malware at least from stray clicking. While not a replacement for up-to-date anti-virus and other security software, it is an additional tool at your disposal.

And yes, Clear Cloud checks every single website you visit. How? Since Clear Cloud belongs to the DNS network, it has access to every website in the world. This enables Clear Cloud to check every website you access or try to access. If the website is clean, Clear Cloud allows you to access the website. On the other hand, if the website proves to be suspicious, then Clear Cloud blocks the website. And if you’re concerned that this may take a toll on your bandwidth, think again – Clear Cloud operates and finishes each task in literally the blink of an eye.

If you want to know how you can use Clear Cloud or other tools to keep your systems safe, please don’t hesitate to give us a call and we’ll be more than happy to discuss a custom security policy with you.

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