Are You Protecting Your Data?
With the turn of the year, the motivation to focus on new approaches to everyday work increases. For some people, it’s as simple as structuring their day differently — maybe only checking email at certain times or limiting social media distractions.
For others, software or hardware upgrades take priority in January. Still others use the new year to organize their physical and virtual desktops – and hopefully optimize productivity and efficiency.
But if there’s one thing every computer user should focus on in 2019, it’s privacy. After a long, busy year of hacks, security breaches, and ransomware infections, 2018 ended with an avalanche of new cybersecurity news.
First, the Weather Channel has been accused of allowing its mobile app to track user location information for unlawful reasons. Data from the app’s 45 million monthly active users wasn’t just used to generate local forecasts — instead, the Los Angeles district attorney alleged in a lawsuit, The Weather Channel sold that data for commercial purposes, including targeted marketing and financial analysis.
Days later, Marriott International acknowledged that its monumental breach in 2018, which exposed the reservation records of nearly 400 million users, involved the loss of 5 million unencrypted passport numbers. This type of personal, private information is a goldmine for hackers, and security experts believe the breach (the largest in history to date) may have been caused by Chinese intelligence agencies.
Other nefarious schemes continue to spread. Hackers have recently started targeting Microsoft Office users via a phishing scheme pretending to be an Office 365 non-delivery message. A prompt appears asking users to click “Resend” before being redirected to what appears to be a Microsoft sign-in page. This page then asks the user for their username and password which, if entered, are stolen by cyber criminals.
But wait – there’s more. Popular online flower company 1-800-Flowers recently announced that malware that steals credit cards has been active on its website for more than four years. And a new variant of the so-called “sextortion” attack goes deeper than just claiming that a user’s browsing history on an adult website was recorded via webcam. Now blackmail messages contain a link to view the so-called video in which a user is caught performing an illegal action. But clicking that link installs ransomware instead, which then immediately encrypts all files on a user’s computer.
Such an endless stream of bad news doesn’t have to be a nightmare, however. All of these incidents remind us that privacy must be our number one priority in the new year. At CMIT Solutions we take this responsibility seriously – the success and safety of our customers depend on it.
Here are six ways to improve the security of your data:
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