Public Relations Tactics

Top-of-Mind Tech Trends: Cybersecurity, Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence

July 5, 2016

[courtesy of wix]
[courtesy of wix]

Connected, but Not Protected: Talking Cybersecurity at Internet Week

“You need to have the mindset of a hacker,” said Jeffrey Lancaster, head of product, USA, Decoded, during a May 17 Internet Week New York session. “It’s no longer just IT’s job to protect everyone. Anyone can be a target and we all need to protect ourselves.”

With growing connectivity options and the increasing number of mobile devices, there are also more ways for hackers to access our data. We’ve all heard of ransomware, which prevents users from accessing their systems, and data breaches like the recent one at Target.

In order to get ahead of cybersecurity threats like these, we need to first learn what they are and then how to protect ourselves against them. Lancaster outlined four common types of hacks:

  1. The Internet of Things (using a search engine for Internet-connected devices, like Shodan.io)
  2. Man in the Middle (using known Wi-Fi networks to steal information)
  3. Data Breach (exploiting a database and controlling someone else’s machine)
  4. Google “Dorking” (finding a file name within a website’s index via Google search)

What can you do to combat hacking? Always remember the three Cs: code, comms and culture.

  • Code: Always perform updates right away when your computer prompts you to do so. The software updates included current lists of vulnerabilities, which will keep growing. The first thing you should do to protect yourself from bugs and hacks is keep your devices, programs and apps up-to-date.
  • Comms: Use a virtual private network (VPN) when outside of the office. This can encrypt all of your data during travel and deliver it to you in remote locations, enabling you to send and receive messages as if you were in a secure, private network rather than in an unstable public connection.
  • Culture: Utilize a password manager. These programs can randomly generate passwords based on a master password list. Have a strategy for making a strong, long password that can be encrypted over and over with a program like LastPass. It isn’t helpful just to “store it in the clear” — this is text that’s not encrypted. Browse sites online to see how secure your password is (HowSecureIsMyPassword.net), or if your email has even been part of a breach (HaveIBeenPwned.com). Change them if they’ve been compromised.

We’re all susceptible to cyber threats, hacking and breaches. Remember to encrypt your data, update often and manage your passwords for greater online security, said Lancaster, who had actually hacked into the audience’s smartphones during the presentation to prove his point.

“Don’t be vulnerable to hacking. Awareness and responsibility — this is for everyone.”

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