Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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Does Your Small Business Need a Chief Information Security Officer?

Posted by on Jul 18, 2014

Running a small business is about balance, and about making sure that money is going to the right areas. You have to decide what expenditures make sense, and which ones are just throwing money out the window. A classic example of this is advertising: is spending the money for a TV ad going to bring in enough customers to justify the cost? Or is it just spending money on what is essentially an expensive vanity project?

Another example is disaster preparedness. You want your business to be insured for everything, and to have a fully-detailed plan for a return to operation following a disaster, but plans, backups, and insurance are expensive, and they are merely for potentialities, whereas you may absolutely need a new delivery truck right now. So sometimes things like security are put off to the side, and then when something happens, it is too late.

The thing is, disasters do strike. And while we when we hear the word “disaster” we usually think of a tornado or earthquake or flood, these days your business is far more likely to suffer a data or tech disaster of some sort, whether that is losing everything due to server malfunction, or being hacked into and bled dry or robbed of your secrets. Any of these scenarios can cripple or destroy a small business.

log showing attempted hacking

This is the last thing your small business needs to see. How can you prevent it without breaking the bank?
Image source: Flickr user Bert van der Lingen

 

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Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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Snowden Revisited: Where Does Our Privacy Stand Today?

Posted by on Jul 10, 2014

Edward Snowden

One year ago, Snowden’s information regarding the NSA was released and our concept of online privacy has not been the same since.
Image source: Flickr user AK Rockerfeller

This summer marks the one-year anniversary of the infamous Edward Snowden Leaks. On June 5th of last year, millions of Internet users around the world became aware that the National Security Agency (NSA) is monitoring their each and every move on the Internet, and collecting bulk user data for surveillance purposes. Since then, Snowden has been in Russia, with his exact location undisclosed. In a recent interview with NBC news, Edward Snowden was asked why is he seeking asylum in Russia. He replied, “The reality is, I never intended to end up in Russia. I had a flight booked to Cuba onwards to Latin America, and I was stopped because the United States government decided to revoke my passport and trap me in Moscow airport. So when people ask, ‘Why are you in Russia?’, I say, ‘Please ask the State Department.’”

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Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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Troubling Trends: Many Websites Still Not Patched for Heartbleed Security Bug

Posted by on Jul 3, 2014

Nearly 300,000 websites are not patched against HeartBleed. Image from blog.heightslibrary.org.

Over the last few months, there has been a lot of discussion regarding the infamous Heartbleed security bug. This bug has affected almost half of all well-known websites and millions of Internet users. Heartbleed could be considered one of the biggest security threats in Web security history, because it exposes the contents of a server’s memory, where most sensitive user data is stored. This vulnerability allows anyone on the Internet to read the memory of systems protected by vulnerable versions of OpenSSL. By exploiting this vulnerability, any attacker can read sensitive personal information such as usernames, passwords, credit card numbers, and financial data. Also, it can compromise the private keys used for encrypting communication and identifying trusted sources on the Internet.

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Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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Best Practices for Protecting Healthcare Records in the Cloud: Patient Data Remains a Target

Posted by on Jul 1, 2014

Implement security best practices for better protection of healthcare records in the cloud.

Protecting the confidentiality and integrity of patient records has always been the prime focus of healthcare industry. This is probably one of the reasons why industries took a long time to adopt cloud computing for healthcare records. As we know, security of data in the cloud environment has always remained under question. Healthcare industries store an awful lot of sensitive personal data, such as patient names, addresses, dates of birth, and personal medical records. Unauthorized access to sensitive medical records can have a significant negative impact on healthcare services. With healthcare data doubling every year, organizations need to invest in hardware equipment, and tweak databases and servers for storing large amount of data. Cloud computing is an effective and flexible alternative for healthcare companies to handle huge amounts of patient healthcare records.

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Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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Keeping an Accurate Data Trail: How Important is Log Management in Information Security?

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014

log management

Firewall logs should be monitored and managed effectively for better security.
Image source: Harald Mühlböck via Wikimedia Commons.

Security is a very important aspect of any business. Each day, organizations deal with huge amounts of sensitive and critical data. Loss of corporate data due to data breaches can have a significant negative impact on businesses. In order to protect their sensitive data, organizations invest in many security technologies like firewalls, intrusion detection and prevention systems, vulnerability scanners, anti-malware systems, and much more. These devices generate log files that help information security professionals to research and analyze security incidents. Thus, log management becomes a key component in the security process. Continue reading…

Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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Why Small Businesses Are Lucrative Targets for Cyber Criminals and How to Protect Yours

Posted by on Jun 24, 2014

burglar cracking into safe on computer screen

With the advent of new technologies, small businesses have become vulnerable to data breaches.
Image source: Flickr user elhombredenegro

A few years back, business owners were under the impression that only big and well-known companies were at risk of cyber attacks. As big organizations handle enormous amounts of data and are highly interconnected, a data breach could have a significant negative impact on the economy. However, with the advancement in technology and the advent of cloud computing, things have changed. Now, small businesses are equally at risk of cyber attacks. According to a 2013 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report, a study was conducted on 19 global companies to identify the occurrence of data breaches in the year 2012. The research indicated that 31% of breaches were from businesses with 100 or fewer employees, and another 9 percent were attributed to organizations with between 101 and 1,000 employees.

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Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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The Importance of Secure Data Backup: Protecting Your Small Business from Big Risks

Posted by on Jun 19, 2014

 

data servers

Secure online backups are extremely important in order to protect valuable customer and employee information.
Image source: Flickr user Beraldo Leal

It does not matter whether you are a small or large business- data is a vital part of any enterprise. Losing corporate data can cost businesses millions of dollars. Today, a large majority of companies are relying on online data backups to protect their valuable information from being damaged, stolen, or affected by natural disasters like fire or flood. Online backup services have proven to benefit for many enterprises, as they give businesses the flexibility to access data anytime from anywhere.

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Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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The Social Media Privacy Trap: Facebook to Collect More User Data for Advertising

Posted by on Jun 17, 2014

facebook login on mobile device

Facebook introduces opt-out feature to give users more control over ads, but in return expands its user data collection for targeted advertisements.
Image source: Flickr user Maria Elena

There is no escape from online advertising in today’s Internet age. Advertisers earn a lot of revenue by placing their ads on popular websites like Facebook and YouTube. These outlets provide a platform to showcase products and services to an extensive audience. Social networking websites have the ability to track your interests and likings based on your activities on their sites, and send you advertisements according to these interests. For example, Facebook’s ads are targeted to users based on profiles and their activities, such as liking or sharing a page or product. Facebook pairs up ads and friends, and shows you what your friends like or share. This way it can determine your interest in specific products or services, and send you customized ads. Facebook displays ads depending on your activities on other websites or apps, as well.

While some people might find this feature helpful, many find it as a serious intrusion of privacy. Most individuals do not want their data to be shared with third parties without knowledge. Facebook’s privacy policy has always been under scrutiny of privacy advocates, as it allows the company to collect more information about users than is necessary.  In the past, Facebook also had to deal with various legal issues regarding infringement of user privacy due to online advertisements. Recently Facebook has take users’ privacy into deep consideration, and is going to offer an opt-out tool to allow for more control over advertisements. However, in return Facebook will be gathering more user data for targeted advertisements. Facebook has already been utilizing tracking software to gather information regarding what websites and apps users frequent. Additionally, Facebook’s online ad exchange FBX will also sends users ads geared towards their interests.

With the information Facebook gathers, advertisers will be better able to understand the interests of users and send them more targeted ads addressing these interests. Previously, Facebook users were tracked based on the websites they liked or shared. Now they will be tracked on the websites that have a social network footprint embedded within them, usually apparent in the form of a “Like” button located somewhere within the website. It does not matter whether you like something on the page or not; your presence will be tracked regardless. Similarly, on smartphones any apps that use a Facebook log-in or Facebook “like” features will send your information back to Facebook for advertising purposes. “Conversation pixels”, which are few bits of codes that will be embedded in the websites of companies advertising on Facebook, will be used to track users. The moment you click on an ad or visit a website containing conversation pixels, your information will be tracked by Facebook. This will give advertisers an idea of how well their ad is doing on Facebook. For example, if you are in the market for a new TV, and you start researching on websites and mobile ads, then your Facebook page will begin displaying ads for deals on TVs and the best TV brands, along with any other products related to this interest

With their latest privacy update, Facebook has made some changes in the privacy settings that will provide users more control over the ads they want to see on their Facebook page. By viewing the drop-down menu under “Why am I seeing this ad?” they will be shown a brief description explaining its presence. Based on preferences, they can opt out of the ad or can notify Facebook that they do not want to see specific ads again. Similarly, smartphone users can opt out of the ads by following a few steps in their settings.

The opt-out feature definitely gives users more flexibility and control over targeted advertising on their Facebook page. By taking proper precautionary measures and using good judgment, we can avoid being bombarded by targeted advertising.

Protect your personal data from targeted advertisements: Targeted ads are difficult to avoid; however, by following proper security practices, we can protect our personal information from being shared with third-party vendors. As users, we have a complete right to know what and how much amount of our data is shared with advertisers for advertising purposes. SpiderOak is one of the few cloud storage companies that respects user privacy by following “zero knowledge” privacy practices. SpiderOak encrypts the files in your computer before uploading them to the server. As a result, only you have access to your unencrypted data. Even SpiderOak cannot read your data because the keys used for encryption only belong to you. Sign up for SpiderOak today

Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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Wearable Technologies: New Security Risks that Arise With Innovative Trends

Posted by on Jun 12, 2014

Google glass wearer

Wearable technologies come with a new set of privacy risks.
Image source: Antonio Zugaldia via wikimedia.org

Over the years, technology has evolved at an exponential rate, from desktops to laptops to tablets, and now wearable devices. Wearable technology is currently one of the fastest growing trends. With these devices, connection to the Internet is taken to an all new level. Companies are putting millions of dollars to build the next innovative and technically advanced product for their customers. According to research and market intelligence company, IDC, “the wearable devices market will reach a total of 19.2 million units in 2014, driven primarily by gadgets such as Fitbit devices or Jawbone’s UP bracelet.” Many big names in the tech industry, like Google, Apple, and Samsung, are gearing up towards this expected rise. Recently, Samsung released its smart watch, and Google Glass has been a popular item for several months. And if the media rumors are true, pretty soon Apple will also be entering the market of wearable technologies with its new product, iWatch.

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Kalyani M., Author at The Privacy Post

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Identify Critical Assets and Maintain Clear Communication to Reduce the Impact of Data Breaches

Posted by on Jun 10, 2014

halftone cloud image

Enterprises need to bolster security practices for better protection of data in the cloud.
Image source: Flickr user Nick Merritt

Cloud computing has become an integral part of today’s IT market; however, the security of data in the cloud has always remained in question. Organizations tend to outsource almost 50% of their resources to cloud-based services because of their flexibility and cost effectiveness. Since huge amounts of corporate data rest in the cloud, they have become an attractive target for cyber criminals. A data breach in the cloud can cost organizations millions of dollars. Now the question arises: is the impact of data breaches in the cloud more significant compared to traditional IT systems? A recent study conducted by Ponemon Institute and sponsored by cloud-app analytics predicts that data breaches can be three times more costly in the cloud due to improper handling of resources by some organizations.

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