Technology Tips: July 2019 Edition

Jul 12, 19

Tech Tips - A Tech Series designed to improve your cyber security presence

Smart speaker privacy

You may have signed up for a small dose of surveillance when you set up your smart speaker, but that doesn’t mean you have to consent to sending your conversations to Google or Amazon. Here’s how to tighten privacy settings when it comes to your speaker recording your conversations to help refine speech recognition.

Security for high-tech collaboration

Do you have team members working remotely, accessing data on mobile devices, or otherwise sharing information outside your network? If so, this collaboration needs to be monitored for potential security loopholes.

Add a disclaimer, warning, or label when collaborators are outside the designated network. Only invite those who truly need to join via a video conferencing option. It’s hard to tell whose system could be infected with malware which can in turn access your team’s devices via networking connections, including file sharing during meetings.

Before any long-distance collaboration happens, tune up the network connection and ensure proper bandwidth is achieved. This not only enables your team to enjoy a smooth video conference, but also ensures security measures like malware scanners can work quickly against attacks.

Legally mandated action following data breach

In all 50 states, notifying users of a known data breach isn’t just good practice—it’s the law. Each state handles the topic a little differently, but most have incorporated some form of the following cybersecurity guidelines:
  • A deadline for notifying users of the breach
  • A deadline for notifying the state Attorney General of the breach (depending on how many users are notified)
  • Specific definitions of personal identifiable information (PII)
  • Requirements to offer credit monitoring in certain cases
  • Special requirements for different sectors (including finance and insurance)
  • Safe harbor laws protecting organizations from liability

It’s always a good idea to check into your state’s specific laws around cybersecurity, data privacy, and other attacks, including whether civil suits may be brought following a data breach.

Malware of the month: Social media malware

July’s malware of the month comes from our old pal, Facebook, but no social media site is immune from this malware strategy. 

This particular instance occurred in Libya and came in the form of news stories which appeared to originate from the commander of the Libyan National Army. The links claimed to be for documents showing proof of conspiracy against the country, but they turned out to actually just be malware. Users affected came from Libya, Canada, the United States, and more.

Social media users are particularly vulnerable since links seem trustworthy because a friend, family member, or page they follow is sharing it. However, these people could be sharing malware without even knowing it. Don’t assume a link is safe just because Facebook said it is—one alternative would be running a quick Google search on the topic instead of clicking from the original post. And with the population of users over 55 surging, it might also be a good idea to share this warning and strategy with parents and grandparents.

Originally posted in Skyward’s Educator Newsletter

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