September 17, 2015 by The GLS Team
Your mobile phones are the targeted devices of hackers in 2015. We’re several weeks from the holiday season, and they aren’t slowing down. This issue got worse earlier this year when Apple announced ApplePay, and I’ll tell you why here in a minute.
Not more than five years, ago, laptops were considered an extension of ourselves. That’s not so true anymore. In today’s world, that extension has turned into our mobile phones. So much of what we do, we do on our phones. Gone are the days when smartphones were a luxury item. Now they are a necessity. Just about everything we did on our laptops five years ago, we have figured out a way to make things even more mobile.
There are several activities we participate in daily that make phones a primary target. Identity theft is still in full swing and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Our phones connect to every Wi-Fi network imaginable to save money on our mobile data use. If you look at the “remembered” networks on your phone, you might easily see 30-50 networks ranging from the grocery store to the corner store where you pump gasoline. Sure, wireless security might have taken strides in the last ten years, but remember this: every key has a lock. There is a public mentality that says, “It can’t happen to me.”
Security is like windshield wipers. If you need new ones, you don’t think about it until it’s raining. When it’s dry outside, the state of your wipers are the furthest thing from your mind. You have better things to worry about. You have a job to get to every day or kids to cart around. It’s not affecting you at the moment, so why worry, right?
It’s high time you thought about the security of your phone. If you’re like the majority of phone users, you use it for social networking, so your name and online identity is out there for the world to see. I’m not just talking about Facebook, either. Twitter, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, and others have your information, much of it public. Search engines like EmailHunter will pull up your email address. Did you tweet where you ate last night for dinner? All your followers know where you were. Did you tag anyone in your Facebook update about a get-together last week? Everyone on your friends list and everyone on their friends list now knows where you were.
Just for a second, let’s think about how much money you spent online. If you’re like me, you might have an Amazon Prime membership. When was the last time you used purchased something through your phone’s interface? Both Samsung and Apple may have new pay interfaces to go with their phones, and they have done everything within their power to protect you, but you need to meet them halfway. They have opened the way for you to make online mobile payments the primary way to pay for anything…literally. People are quickly catching up with the times and are accepting rent payments, bill payments, credit card payments, and every online purchase right there through your phone. According to Juniper Research
, $2.5 trillion dollars are spent moving money around. That’s online, mobile, and contactless payments altogether. They estimate it will rise to $4.7 trillion by 2019, which is just around the corner.
If you follow the financial breadcrumbs, contactless payments mean people are storing financial information in their phones. People suppose this is safer than giving this information to a retailer. It makes sense—if retailers didn’t keep a database of your credit card information, they wouldn’t be a target of unethical hackers to begin with. They would be the equivalent of breaking into an empty house.
It’s a dangerous world out there. Phone manufacturers can only take so many steps to protect you without stepping on your toes. You need to meet them halfway and get into the habit of safe practices to keep private information private. Your phone is a tool of convenience. Protecting your information is inconvenient. You decide where you draw the line.
To learn more about mobile security, consider taking an online class or delivering an eLearning program to your organization from us at Global Learning Systems. A great place to start is with our Security Awareness training, but we also have a best practice module focused on mobile security. We take security seriously. We suggest you do the same.
September 02, 2015 by The GLS Team
In today’s Internet-dependent world, parents need to be vigilant about the security of their child’s Internet usage. We are nowback to school, and with the excitement of a new school year, comes the challenge of teaching your child to be careful on the internet while he or she is out of your supervision. The following are some simple guidelines you may want to share with your children to give you a peace of mind, knowing your kids are safe when they are perusing the Internet away from home.
1. Communicating with kids about Internet security
Children need guidance when it comes to Internet security and the potential threats. Both young children and teenagers can be subject to nefarious cyber issues such as drive-by downloads, links to harmful sites, viruses, and malware. They are also vulnerable to issues such as tempting downloads, offers for free giveaways or anything else that might lead them to harmful sites. Parents need to make sure their kids know the dangers that the Internet can hold. Let your kids know that there are potential dangers and bad people who have hurtful intentions lurking around cyberspace. Impress upon them that some people will intentionally try to misrepresent themselves for the sole purpose of hurting others. Remind them that they always need to think carefully before they make any connections with someone else through the Internet. Most importantly, make sure this conversation happens more than once. Remind them repeatedly about the dangers that can exist on the Internet if they are not careful.
2. Mobile device security
Kids seem to be permanently connected to their smartphones these days. It is more important than ever for parents to warn their kids about the security issues that surround the use of mobile devices. There are apps for mobile devices that are specifically designed to make mobile devices more secure. These apps might not be enough on their own; connectsafely.org suggests that the best way to protect a mobile device is to create a personal identification number (PIN) for the device. Furthermore, make sure your children know the dangers of sharing pictures and information over mobile devices as the potential for further sharing is there, and the recipient could take screenshots and forward messages beyond the intended audience.
3. Sharing personal information
It is no secret that no one should ever share passwords with anyone. Back to school time presents a great opportunity to remind kids of this important rule. Kids and teenagers can be tempted to share this information with their friends, but the temptation needs to be resisted. Friendships can turn sour quickly at this age, and your kids need to protect themselves from friends who turn into enemies with intent to cause harm. They should also avoid writing their passwords in their assignment notebooks or anyplace where it can be easily found and accessed. Be sure to be present and active when your kids are checking their accounts, so you are aware of what they are doing on the computer. Beyond passwords, make sure your kids know not to provide any other personal information such as their address or that they are home alone when they are online.
4. Catfish scams
Preteens, teenagers and young adults are particularly vulnerable to catfish scams. This type of scam occurs when someone pretends to be someone else on the Internet by providing false information. The best way to help keep kids safe from catfishers is to be honest and upfront with them. Although kids might think that parents are being over-protective and worrisome. It is important to be diligent in reminding kids to be cautious on the Internet. Parents need to be active participants in their kids’ Internet activity and know who their friends on social media sites are. Socialcatfish.com suggests these 13 ways to avoid being catfished.
5. Social media safety
Social media continues to be one of the most common ways today’s youth communicates with each other. Social media sites have many benefits for kids; however it is not without its liabilities as well. It is important for kids to proceed with caution when they are using social media. Parents should remind their kids about the following guidelines from Safe Search Kids to assure they remain safe while using social media:
Check privacy settings to make sure only people your kids know can see their posts
Be cautious of friend requests and never accept a friend request from someone you do not know
Limit personal information in social media posts. Nothing can ever be permanently erased from the Internet, so it is important to think and rethink before anything personal is posted.
Disable location services on Facebook.
Avoid posting vacation plans or pictures.
Never agree to meet a new contact offline.
6. Be aware of identity theft
Adults are not the only ones who are vulnerable to identity theft; kids can easily be victims, too. Parents need to take decisive action to help protect their kids from the dangers of identity theft. PBS.org suggests these four guidelines to help prevent youth identity theft:
Do not share what you do not have to. Only give out your kids’ Social Security number when it is absolutely necessary (always ask at medical facilities before providing it to be sure it is required).
Be aware of and understand common phishing techniques. Knowing what these techniques are and how they work is a great way to avoid falling for them.
Manage your kids’ social media privacy settings.
Teach your kids how to make and use secure passwords and two-factor authentication.
Teaching your children Internet security practices will not only give you a peace of mind knowing your child is protected but also ensure your children are aware of security best practices for years to come as they continue to interact online.
For information on security awareness training solutions contact us at Global Learning Systems. We have many options that can help you educate your staff, students, children or others, on security best practices.