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Category Archives: Network Security

Bring Your Own Device

By | Gadgets & Gizmos, Network Security, Technology News | No Comments

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Many companies are allowing employees to participate in the growing initiative: “Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).” The initiative allows employees to select and use their own mobile devices for business rather than a company-issued device. Some experts state this type of program provides a greater impetus for business owners to take care of devices since they will be financially responsible for the device. Despite the benefits, there are some concerns about the BYOD program which has some companies reevaluating the concept.

Benefits of Bring Your Own Device

Reduced Costs. Companies reduce the costs related to purchasing devices for employees. With cell phones ranging in costs from $50 to $1000, business owners could pay an exorbitant amount providing devices to employees. With BYOD, companies are only responsible for the monthly service fee. In some instances, employees will offer to handle these expenses also. Savings could be passed on to employees through other company-issued benefits.

Challenges of Bring Your Own Device

Data Protection or Information Risks. Before companies adopt BYOD on a large scale, business leaders are evaluating how to protect company-sensitive data on an employee-owned device. Currently, the process costs a significant amount.

Liability Risks. There are increased liability issues for companies if company-sensitive data or customer data is leaked to unauthorized personnel. Business owners must invest in the infrastructure to ensure customer data or company data is not breached. This is more difficult when the devices are not uniform across platforms. Lawsuits are more likely if companies do not invest to prevent breaches on disparate devices.

Financial Risks. With BYOD, the financial risks related to security is increased. When companies issue mobile devices, information risk and related expenses are lower. Many companies underestimate the associated costs and may spend more. For example, a company supporting 1000 devices may spend an additional $170,000 annually for the convenience of BYOD. Companies must identify potential hidden costs before investing in BYOD programs.

Other Areas of Loss. Companies may also experience loss in productivity, competitive advantage, response times, reputation and replacement issues. If an employee is responsible for replacing a device from personal income, the delay in replacement may be longer. An employee with tattered equipment may give customer’s the impression that the company is not professional. This hurts a company’s reputation.

Response on a personally-owned device is also more difficult. Legal risks such as fines and judgments may also increase since data will be transmitted outside of a controlled environment. Businesses should perform a legal analysis to reduce risks and lower costs.

Business owners should have a plan to deal with search and seizures and personal data loss. Both issues are a significant challenge with BYOD programs.

Consider the Legal Issues Related BYOD

Employees should sign documentation to ensure they are aware of how the company plans to manage their device and how this affects their privacy rights. The BYOD program can be beneficial in certain business spheres, but business owners should review the advantages and disadvantages prior to implementing it within an organization.

Online Privacy

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The Internet has proven to be one of mankind’s greatest inventions in the 20th century. It takes communication to a whole different level of improvement, erases physical barriers on both a local and global level and expands our education and knowledge in almost infinite ways. Its impact on our society and adsorption into our lives has been extraordinary, from where we get our news and information, to how we find friends and business associates. But with something that has such an impact in our personal lives it can also have evasive consequences.

It’s easy to assume that some of the same laws that protect our privacy in the physical world apply to the virtual and digital world as well, but laws that address and govern Internet privacy have always been a great source of debate and controversy and are still in the process of being developed. Currently, private companies have been allowed impunity to track as many of our movements online as technology allows, exchanging and even selling that information to other companies. The technology to track this information is advancing as rapidly as communication technology is advancing, which makes it very difficult for people to keep abreast of what is taking place when they access and surf the Internet, let alone what steps to take to protect themselves and prevent these intrusions.

The issue of privacy and freedom of speech has always been a major debate in regards to the Internet. Even though the policies governing the Internet are underdeveloped as a result, which makes it largely unregulated, the federal government has been increasingly pushing for regulatory laws regarding the Internet. The Stop Online Piracy Acts (SOPA) and the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Acts (CISPA) bills have been some of the attempts to address this issue in the House of Representatives. SOPA was basically scrapped due to immense public opposition against the bill. Then on April 26, U.S. Congress passed CISPA on a bipartisan majority vote.

Though CISPA has faced opposition, including from the White House, it’s gotten much less criticism mainly because of the slight differences in what they represent. SOPA was more about intellectual property rights; whereas CISPA specifically addresses cyber security, but opponents of the latter believe that it has the potential to violate constitutional rights as much as the former. CISPA would basically make it easier for online companies to share data, such as user private information, emails and direct messaging, with U.S. government agencies as long as it’s deemed a “cyberthreat.” In theory, the goal is to enable private companies and government to protect themselves against cyber attacks quickly and more efficiently and keeping themselves up-to-update to security risks.

Opponents against CISPA argue that the guidelines of what define a cyberthreat are too broad and would be difficult to enforce. Another concern they have is that CISPA also provides protection to the private sector against liability of shared user information, just so long as it’s deemed necessary for national security purposes. The most recent version of CISPA defines a cyberthreat as a threat “pertaining to a vulnerability of” a computer system or network, and government is not allowed to proactively use the information provided to them that is unrelated to cyber security. Privacy activists against the bill, such the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Reporters Without Borders and American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) argue that the bill isn’t specific about what constitutes a “cyber security threat” in order to prevent potential abuse, and have currently launched campaigns for public awareness about the issues that are associated with it.

The White House has threatened to veto CISPA and also cite a lack of privacy protections that they say would give too much power to military and intelligence agencies, which would enable them to take on a policing role of a sphere that is still primarily a civilian one. The Obama administration has openly backed a Senate bill proposed by Joe Lieberman, which would instead concentrate the regulatory authority into the hands of the Department of Homeland Security.

Checking Your Mac for Malware

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If you own a Mac, and have Java enabled on your system, then this is for you. The Flashback virus targets the Mac OS, through a vulnerability in Java, turning your computer into a zombie while stealing your personal information. Oracle, who runs Java, has released a patch to prevent such an attack, but because Apple issues their own version of Java, therefore needing to release their own patch, has only done so recently. Figures vary for the total number of infected machines, but seem to be around half a million. So what do you need to do now?

There are a couple of ways of you can go about the situation from here. First, would be to find out if you have the Flashback virus on your system. You can simply go to Flashbackcheck.com and enter in your UUID, from there the website will detect if Flashback is showing up in any of your system files. Or you can do it manually, checking for the Flashback virus using the Terminal app. Open up the Terminal application (it’s in the Utilities folder in your Applications folder). Use this line of code in the terminal and hit return:

defaults read ~/.MacOSX/environment DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES

The response back should look something like this:

The domain/default pair of (/Users//.MacOSX/environment, DYLD_INSERT_LIBRARIES) does not exist

If the message doesn’t say that the pair “does not exist,” than Flashback is present on your system. Assuming the message is negative, let’s keep going. Now check out this line:

defaults read /Applications/Safari.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment

That should generate the same “does not exist” message. Again, if it doesn’t then your Mac has been infected with Flashback. If it’s negative try this line:

defaults read /Applications/Firefox.app/Contents/Info LSEnvironment

Again, the message is (hopefully) negative. If it’s not, then you most certainly have the Flashback Virus. Which brings us to the next step, removal. Not to worry too much though, a special app made by Kaspersky Labs, found here, can remove the infection from your system. While malware and viruses generally hit Windows based machines more often, it doesn’t mean Apple’s OS X is anymore secure. Virus detection software only goes so far, it takes savvy computer use to stay ahead of the curve. Knowing how to avoid suspicious links and files are more useful in preventing an exploit than the top virus protection software can offer.

If you are concerned about the security of your network, or think you have a virus that you just can’t get rid of, you can visit us today at Vroooom to see what we can do to put your mind at ease.