The topic of cyber security is no longer reserved just for computer nerds. January 7 – 13 is National Home Office Safety and Security Week. Of course your physical safety and the protection of your physical space are extremely important. But a growing concern is the safety and security of a space that you can’t even see: cyberspace.
With the growing number of hacks and data breaches, it’s important to stay up to date on what criminals are doing so that you can try to ward off evil in any way possible. If the company for which you work is involved in technology, it’s important that you know the law related to breaches. And if you use the internet (who doesn’t these days??), you might want to know what Net Neutrality means.
Here is a cyber security news round-up from Bryce Austin of TCE Strategy:
“Office365. If you or your company is an Office365 user, hackers have found a very novel attack against O365 accounts called KnockKnock. Long story short, you need, need, need multi-factor authentication (MFA) turned on for your Office365 accounts. Do not pass GO! Do not collect $200. Go directly to MFA. https://www.tripwire.com/state-of-security/featured/knockknock-new-attack-on-office-365-discovered/
UBERGATE. Uber found itself in even more trouble because they covered up a hack back in 2016. If you are hacked, do NOT cover it up. There are breach notification laws on the books in 48 out of 50 states. Some of these laws have teeth, so much so that one article states, “Non-disclosure creates a practical risk in the hundreds of millions [of dollars]”. Uber may be in more financial trouble than Equifax by the time the dust settles. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/21/uber-data-hack-cyber-attack
NET NEUTRALITY IS NO MORE. What does this mean? Many explanations exist online, so I’ll use a simplified version. Pretend that the Internet is the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress has ALL the books. If you walk in, you can browse any book you choose. You don’t have to pay more to see certain books, or wait in longer lines to see certain books. You can’t be denied access to certain books based on what the librarian thinks you should or shouldn’t be viewing. Net Neutrality promised that the Internet would be the same way. Net Neutrality made it so. With Net Neutrality’s repeal, now it isn’t that way, and the providers of the “backbone” of the Internet can throttle certain content to make it slow, or even make it inaccessible altogether. They can make companies pay more to get faster service over the backbone. This puts more power in the hands of those with more money.
The argument against Net Neutrality is this: As consumers and businesses, we pay for Internet service between our location and the nearest Internet “backbone.” We do not pay for the service that runs in between backbones. When a company like Netflix experiences great success and ends up being almost 40% of all USA Internet traffic, the backbone providers are eating that cost without being able to pass it on to Netflix. Netflix is getting a bit of a “free ride” so to speak.
The problem is that there isn’t a way to force Netflix to pay more without opening the door to allow Internet backbone providers to charge whom they see fit to pay more (or less). It means that the freedom we enjoy to read whatever we want, be it mainstream or radical, real or imaginary, conservative or liberal, is being threatened. The Internet is the first medium where the “common person” can have a voice at a reasonable cost. Before the Internet, we had to buy advertising time in a major media outlet or start our own TV or radio station. The Internet gave society the ability to be heard without fear of having our voice shut off if we said something others found undesirable.
It will be interesting to see where this debate stands a year from now. We may never know of the voices that aren’t being heard because of the loss of Net Neutrality.
IN A VERY INGENIOUS HACK ON PRIVACY, researchers found out that they can pinpoint the location of a smartphone location even when GPS services are turned off. When they combined data from:
- the particular cell tower the phone was using,
- geographic data from Google maps, and
- the accelerometers, compass (and in some cases, the barometer) in the phone
It was easy to figure out exactly where a smartphone was, and could even determine the specific flight someone was taking, the specific bus someone was riding, and so on. https://www.princeton.edu/news/2017/11/29/phones-vulnerable-location-tracking-even-when-gps-services”
About Bryce Austin: