Cyber Security Newsletters

Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving) and online shopping throughout the entire holiday season have become increasingly popular in recent years, and the trend is expected to continue this season. According to MarketLive, an e-commerce software and solutions provider, online shoppers in the U.S. are projected to spend more than $54 billion this holiday season, nearly a 17 percent increase over the $47 billion spent last year. The increase in online shopping coincides with an increase in mobile device use, and more shoppers will be using special holiday smartphone apps to find the best deals.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This is an effort coordinated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Multi-State ISAC, and the National Cyber Security Alliance along with many governments, businesses, schools, and other groups to help improve cyber security preparedness. It’s a great time to evaluate your online activities and take some basic steps to protect yourself.

According to the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, more than 19 million records have been involved in a data breach so far this year. Protection of data requires multiple layers of defense, and the use of encryption to secure sensitive data is a critical tool in this multi-layered approach. Encryption scrambles a message or file so only the sender and the authorized individual with the decryption key can decode it.

Wireless networks are not as secure as the traditional “wired” networks, but you can minimize the risk on your wireless network (at home or at work) by following the tips below.

If you’re not familiar with the phrase “digital footprint”, it’s important that you become aware of what it is and how it impacts you. Digital footprint refers to the compilation of content on the Internet that can be associated with you and, thus, potentially available by anyone performing a search on you. The list of possible content visible online is endless: your family videos on YouTube, your comments on a news article or blog, vacation photos on Flickr, your posts on Facebook and Twitter.

The term “social engineering” refers to an attempt to gain access to information, primarily through misrepresentation, and often relies on the trusting nature of most individuals. Most users should be familiar with email phishing scams (a form of social engineering) and have been taught not to open attachments from unknown or untrusted sources or to visit untrusted web sites.

Most workplaces have cyber security policies, processes, and technologies. You can create a more cyber-secure environment at home by implementing similar strategies.

Your password is more than just a key to your computer or online account. It is a gateway to all of your important information. If your password falls into the wrong hands, a cyber criminal can impersonate you online, access your bank or credit card accounts, sign your name to online service agreements or contracts, engage in financial transactions, or change your account information.

The use of mobile applications (apps) is increasing in parallel with the increased use in mobile devices. According to Gartner, “Worldwide mobile application store revenue is projected to surpass $15.1 billion in 2011… and by 2014 over 185 billion applications will have been downloaded from mobile app stores.” The continued growth of mobile apps requires a spotlight on security. The risks include access to information such as physical location or contacts lists, as well as the ability for the apps to download malware, such as keyloggers or programs that eavesdrop on phone calls and text messages. Hackers are quickly learning how to harvest legitimate applications and repackage them with malicious code before selling/offering them on various channels. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a global technical professional association, predicts that 2012 will see an upsurge in cell phone hacking through the use of mobile applications on smartphones.

The web browser is a software application that allows you to view and interact with content on a webpage, such as text, graphics or other material. Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari are some of the most commonly used browsers. Plug-ins, also known as add-ons, are applications that extend the functionality of browsers. Some of the plug-ins you may be familiar with include Flash Player, Java, Media Player, QuickTime Player, Shockwave Player, RealOne Player and Acrobat Reader. Certain plug-ins may be required to view content depending on how a web page is designed.