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BEST PRACTICES – 9 must-do security protocols companies must embrace to stem remote work risks

By Daniel J. Nemeth

Technology advancements have made it relatively easy for many employees to carry out their regular job duties from the comfort of their home.

Related: Poll confirms rise of Covid 19-related hacks

This is something companies are under pressure to allow to help minimize the spread of Covid 19. The main problem for remote workers is the threat to online security. Remote workers face having both their personal and work-related information compromised.

As a remote worker, it is imperative to take measures to protect yourself and your employer online. Start by checking to see what security protocols your company has in place. Your employers might be able to provide you with specific directions on how to handle certain aspects of your cybersecurity.

Here are some cybersecurity best practices tips that apply more than ever when it comes to remote workers carrying out their duties securely.

•Use strong passwords. It is essential to ensure that all accounts are protected with strong passwords. To this day, a significant amount of people still use the password across multiple accounts, which makes it much simpler for a cybercriminal to compromise a password and take over accounts.

GUEST ESSAY: Everyone should grasp these facts about cyber threats that plague digital commerce

By Ashley Lukehart

Regardless of how familiar you are with Information Security, you’ve probably come across the term ‘malware’ countless times. From accessing your business-critical resources and sensitive information to halting business operations and services, a malware infection can quickly become an organization’s worst nightmare come true.

Related: Companies must bear a broad security burden.

As a business owner, you must be aware of the implications of different types of malware on your company’s bottom line, and what steps you can take to protect your company from future attacks.

This article will walk you through the various types of malware, how to identify and prevent a malware attack, and how to mitigate the risks.

What is Malware  

Malware, a combination of the terms ‘malicious’ and ‘software,’ includes all malicious programs that intend to exploit computer devices or entire network infrastructures to extract victim’s data, disrupt business operations, or simply, cause chaos.

There’s no definitive method or technique that defines malware; any program that harms the computer or system owners and benefits the perpetrators is malware.

GUEST ESSAY: Now more than ever, companies need to proactively promote family Online Safety

By Ellen Sabin

Cybersecurity training has steadily gained traction in corporate settings over the past decade, and rightfully so.

In response to continuing waves of data breaches and network disruptions, companies have made a concerted effort and poured substantial resources into promoting data security awareness among employees, suppliers and clients. Safeguarding data in workplace settings gets plenty of attention.

Related: Mock attack help schools prepare for hackers

However, the sudden and drastic shift to work-from-home and schooling-from-home settings has changed the ball game. The line between personal and professional use of digital tools and services, which was blurry even before the global pandemic, has now been obliterated by Covid-19.

Moving forward, companies can no longer afford to focus awareness training on just employees, partners and clients. It has become strategically important for them to promote best security practices in home settings, including the training of children.

Bringing smart habits into homes and minds is good for kids, good for parents, and, it turns out, good for businesses, too.

We’re all connected

Consider that kids are constantly connected on the internet with online games, streaming devices, virtual schooling, and zoom play dates. Adults increasingly are working from home, and usually on networks they share with their children. Mistakes online by one family member can lead to compromises in a household’s network, placing computers, personal data, and perhaps even work-related content at risk.

Cyber criminals have increased attacks as they see these opportunities. Companies must take this into account and consider extending employee training to also promote security and privacy habits among all family

GUEST ESSAY: HIPAA’s new ‘Safe Harbor’ rules promote security at healthcare firms under seige

By Riyan N. Alam

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act — HIPAA — has undergone some massive changes in the past few years to minimize the burden of healthcare entities.

Related: Hackers relentless target healthcare providers

Despite these efforts, covered-entities and business associates continue to find HIPAA to be overwhelming and extensive, to say the least.

Cyberattacks against healthcare entities rose 45 percent between November 2020 and January 2021, according to Check Point . Meanwhile, the healthcare sector accounted for 79 percent of all reported data breaches during the first 10 months of 2020, a study by Fortified Health Security tells us.

At last, some good news has surfaced that encourages healthcare providers to implement the best security practices and meet HIPAA requirements. Amidst all of the turmoil, President Donald Trump officially signed H.R. 7898, known as the HIPAA Safe Harbor Bill, into law on January 5, 2021.

It is a new sign of relief for entities that could do very little against unavoidable and highly sophisticated cyberattacks. This bill is one of many recent industry efforts aimed at improving cybersecurity. The legislation amends the HITECH Act to require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reward organizations that follow the best cybersecurity practices for meeting HIPAA requirements.

AUTHOR Q&A: New book, ‘Hackable,’ suggests app security is the key to securing business networks

By Byron V. Acohido

The cybersecurity operational risks businesses face today are daunting, to say the least.

Related: Embedding security into DevOps.

Edge-less networks and cloud-supplied infrastructure bring many benefits, to be sure. But they also introduce unprecedented exposures – fresh attack vectors that skilled and motivated threat actors are taking full advantage of.

Adopting and nurturing a security culture is vital for all businesses. But where to start? Ted Harrington’s new book Hackable: How To Do Application Security Right argues for making application security a focal point, while laying out a practical framework that covers many of the fundamental bases.

Harrington is an executive partner at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE), a company of ethical hackers known for hacking cars, medical devices and password managers. He told me he wrote Hackable to inform folks oblivious to the importance of securing apps, even as corporate and consumer reliance on apps deepens.

Here are excerpts of an exchange Last Watchdog had with Harrington about his new book, edited for clarity and length:

LW: Why is it smart for companies to make addressing app security a focal point?

Harrington: Software runs the world. Application security is the soft underbelly to almost all security domains, from network security to social engineering and everything in between.

MY TAKE: With disinformation running rampant, embedding ethics into AI has become vital

By Byron V. Acohido

Plato once sagely observed, “A good decision is based on knowledge and not on numbers.” 

Related: How a Russian social media site radicalized U.S. youth

That advice resonates today, even as we deepen our reliance on number crunching — in the form of the unceasing machine learning algorithms whirring away in the background of our lives, setting in motion many of the routine decisions each of us make daily.

However, as Plato seemingly foresaw, the underlying algorithms we’ve come to rely on are only as good as the human knowledge they spring from. And sometimes the knowledge transfer from humans to math formulas falls well short.

Last  August, an attempt by the UK government to use machine learning to conjure and dispense final exam grades to quarantined high-schoolers proved to be a disastrous failure. Instead of keeping things operable in the midst of a global pandemic, the UK officials ended up exposing the deep systemic bias of the UK’s education systems, in a glaring way. 

Then, in November, the algorithms pollsters invoked to predict the outcome of the 2020 U.S. presidential election proved drastically wrong — again, even after the pollsters had poured their knowledge into improving their predictive algorithms after the 2016 elections.  

GUEST ESSAY: 5 steps for raising cyber smart children — who know how to guard their privacy

By Ellen Sabin

Today’s children are online at a young age, for many hours, and in more ways than ever before. As adults, we know that bad online decisions can have negative or dangerous effects for years to come.

Related: Web apps are being used to radicalize youth

The question isn’t whether we should educate children about online safety, but how we can best inspire them to learn to be thoughtful, careful, and safe in the cyber world for their lifetime. For adults doing the teaching, it’s no easy task.

Teaching children about good cyber security habits starts with helping them realize their power to learn to make smart choices. Often, messages about online security are presented as ‘to-do’ lists that can make even the most pliant of us feel like we are being preached to. Instead, let children think about why they want to become smart about online decisions and how they can make good choices.

Here are some tips to excite kids about cybersecurity.