Your privacy on the Internet matters, even if you don’t think you have anything to hide. Over the last few years, this has become more and more evident as we watch tech giants profit off of understanding the people who use their services. Facebook, Amazon, and Google are among them. Google in particular has made some recent policy changes that are worth understanding.
The Internet was always envisioned to be a network capable of sharing information across the globe—hence, the term “world wide web.” However, many online services are currently at odds with governing bodies, many business tactics and decisions impacted or even prohibited as a result. Let’s examine some of these tactics, and how the Internet has been impacted.
In true form, cyberattacks have trended upward during the COVID-19 pandemic. With so many people working from home, it’s not much of a surprise that some of the most popular hacking tactics are being used, using the worldwide pandemic as bait. Today, we identify some of these threats.
I want you to step out of your role as a business owner for a moment and see yourself once again as the average consumer. How concerned are you that so many businesses have collected and are now storing your personal data, and that you have no control over its privacy? If you feel at all uneasy, you’re not alone… 87 percent of Americans feel that data privacy is a human right in these modern times.
Most of us have a love-hate relationship with social media. A particularly controversial platform we discuss quite a bit on our blog is Facebook. Privacy is a monumental concern in the digital age, so today we thought we would go over settings you might not even realize are enabled on your Facebook profile.
If you haven’t read part one of our Facebook privacy blog, it wouldn’t hurt for you to go back and read that one first. Today, we will be building off of that blog, teaching people how to properly configure their accounts to give them the best chance to lock down their private information.
Of course, Facebook, being one of the predominant web-based services in the world, has a checkered history when it pertains to individual’s privacy. In fact, I think a fair share of its ongoing troubles when it comes to individual privacy have a lot to do with their overwhelming success.
Would you consider Facebook to be popular? It’s an interesting question. It’s like asking people if they think McDonalds is popular. These days Facebook is used by one in every four people in the world, yet there are very few people that will actively come to the social media giant’s defense, let alone admit to spending nearly half of their time online on the site (either via an Internet browser or via an app).
When over 16 million people are scammed out of over $16 billion, there’s likely some type of problem that needs to be addressed. Famous con artist, Frank Abagnale, the man immortalized in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, a movie that was based off his own memoir, has been working as a security consultant with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for over 45 years. In that time, he has become an expert in cybersecurity and fraud prevention.
In the dog days of summer, the news media started running a story about how Google’s location tracking services continue to track people even after they order their mobile device’s OS to quit it. A researcher from Princeton proved these claims by traveling through New York and into New Jersey after turning location services off on for hi Android smartphones, only to be tracked through all the Interstate travel. We’ll take an in-depth look at why Google seemingly knows exactly where you are if you want them to or not.
Most users are aware that their browsers offer a “secure” browsing experience. Google Chrome has Incognito mode, Microsoft’s Edge browser allows you to surf the Internet “InPrivate,” and Apple’s Safari offers Private Browsing as well. The trouble is, these “secure” browsing options aren’t actually all that secure. For today’s tip, we’ll discuss ways to actually keep your Internet browsing private.
While any of these options will prevent your browser’s history from tracking your online activity, they will not stop your Internet Service Provider, AKA, your ISP. Your ISP is capable of delivering records of all websites that were visited in a certain time frame, including any websites visited while using your browser’s ‘private’ functionality.
Plus, and perhaps for some, most alarmingly, the websites you visit under Incognito mode or with InPrivate activated also know that you visited. It doesn’t even matter if you accessed the website without logging in to any accounts. Your path is still left unprotected, leaving your activity vulnerable to someone who knows where to look.
It’s also worth mentioning that your employer can still see what you are doing. Just because your browser isn’t tracking your activity in Incognito mode, doesn’t mean your company network isn’t tracking you. If you are a business owner and want to ensure better productivity, you can still set up a content filter on your network without it being debunked by this common browser setting.
When it all comes down to it, in order to be truly private during your browsing, you need a specialized solution to help you: a VPN.
Virtual Private Browsing
By using a Virtual Private Network, the connection between your system and your destination online is hidden, allowing you to choose where it appears you are browsing from. This means that, if you wished, you could appear to be browsing from a suburb of New York City, while you could actually be an entire country (or ocean) away.
By hiding your connection under a layer of encryption, a VPN can provide your business with the privacy it needs to ensure its success and safety.
For assistance in implementing a VPN for your business’ browsing needs, reach out to BEI at (844) BIZ-EDGE.
January 28th marked Data Privacy Day, a day intended to raise awareness of the importance of data privacy and educate users and business owners of its benefits. Spearheaded by the National Cyber Security Alliance, there are plenty of lessons the NCSA has to share with businesses as this day puts their, and their clients’, privacy in the spotlight.
The NCSA, in conjunction with the U.S. Small Business Administration, provides a few guidelines for businesses to follow in order to preserve privacy as far as company data and personal information are concerned.
Protecting Your Business
However, this needs to be more than a policy. It needs to become a tangible part of your organization, and enforced as such. Not only should you frequently remind your employees of the importance of privacy and data security, it should become integral to your company culture. As the NCSA and the SBA say, you should “communicate clearly and often what privacy means to your organization,” as well as being sure to “educate employees about their role in privacy [and] security...”
Your diligence should extend not only to your internal employees but also to any external (or third party) resources you may use. You need to ensure any of your partners or vendors with access to your network and its sensitive data are taking your security as seriously as you are. Many businesses require all external resources to sign a network use agreement that holds them liable in the event their actions result in a breach of privacy.
Privacy in the Home
Data security does not just apply to work done within the walls of your offices, either. You need to cultivate an even greater awareness and respect for privacy at home or while traveling, as well. Any device that is used for work must be treated with the same security-minded processes that you and your employees would subscribe to in the office.
Remind members of your household that they need to be careful with their personal information as well. While they may not have a company to manage, there are still plenty of consequences to deal with if their data is breached. Therefore, the entire family needs to be mindful about what they share online, avoiding sharing too much and keeping personal details close to the chest. This is especially true if you have children and teens under your care and supervision, as they could face a lifetime of ramifications.
Additionally, BEI understands how important your privacy truly is. When you have built up and maintained a business, you want to protect it, and maintaining data privacy can help keep both it and you safe. We appreciate how big of a commitment it is to be entrusted with that responsibility, and we’d embrace the chance to live up to it with your data.
Please, lean on BEI for more assistance and advice. Call us today at (844) BIZ-EDGE.
It is our hope that you are aware of how much of a risk spyware can pose to your business. Your business generates, collects, and leverages truly considerable amounts of data each day that is intended for your business only. While spyware that is introduced by a hacker is clearly a bad thing, what if the manufacturer of the device installed a program that pulled data from your machine?
Well, if you have a desktop workstation or laptop that was produced by HP, there’s a good chance that it is happening to you right now.
It appears that a software, called HP Touchpoint Analytics, had been bundled in with a Windows Update. This software is a part of the larger HP Touchpoint Manager and sends HP an unknown cache of data from the device on a daily basis. According to HP, this is to help relieve “time-consuming tasks of device support and lifecycle management.”
While this may sound like a beneficial service, it still doesn’t explain why HP doesn’t ask for permission to install it.
If you would rather not have a program like this on your business devices, sharing an unknown data sample with HP, it is fortunately simple enough for IT to uninstall. All they have to do is check the Windows Services interface for “HP Touchpoint Analytics Client,” disable it, and uninstall it from your installed programs list.
If your IT team needs assistance in adding this to their other responsibilities, BEI is here to help. Give us a call at (844) BIZ-EDGE to learn more about how we can give your internal IT resources a helping hand.