Dreaming of Spring with the March – April 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

We’re thrilled to welcome you to our multi-award winning March – April 2019 edition where we are Dreaming of Spring.

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The March – April 2019 Edition of InFluential Magazine

One Tip for Choosing a Safer Video Game for Kids

While many parents and others shopping for young people know to look out for violence and sexual content in video games, they may not be aware of something else found in many popular games that is raising serious public health concerns.

Research shows that exposure to images of tobacco — its use still the leading cause of preventable death and disease in the U.S. — can influence young people to start smoking. In fact, 44 percent of adolescents who start smoking do so because of smoking images they see in movies. Tobacco use in video games is likely to promote youth smoking in similar ways and may even pose additional concerns since video games are more active and intense experiences. Some games even include storylines or elements where tobacco use benefits a player.

Despite the risk, tobacco content in video games is not a well-known issue. Here are some important things to be aware of so you can avoid games with tobacco content.

Many youth- and teen-rated games include tobacco.

Just because a game is rated appropriate for youth and teens does not mean it is free of tobacco imagery. While a methodical review of games on the U.S. market has yet to be conducted, it is clear from past research that tobacco use is frequently depicted in video games geared toward young people.

For example, between 1994 and 2011, 60 out of 78 large video game publishers included tobacco imagery in at least one, and often more, of their games rated appropriate for youth. A 2012 paper on the prevalence of tobacco in games found a significant increase in tobacco content in games rated for young adolescents since 2005.

More recently, Truth Initiative, the national public health organization behind the tobacco public education campaign truth, conducted a partial review of 2016 releases from top publishers and found more than a dozen video games with tobacco imagery, including at least five rated “Teen.”

Warnings and content descriptors are not always reliable.

Video game content descriptors often fail to mention tobacco use, making it difficult for parents to use them to monitor for tobacco imagery.

A 2015 survey by the University of California, San Francisco, confirmed tobacco content in 42 percent of the video games that participants reported playing; however, only 8 percent of these games had tobacco warnings from the Entertainment Software Rating Board, the gaming industry’s self-regulatory organization that rates video games and apps.

In its report, “Played: Smoking and Video Games,” Truth Initiative called on the ESRB to consistently identify and disclose if any game contains tobacco use or tobacco references. The organization is also urging game developers and publishers to stop including tobacco use and tobacco images in their games, particularly those marketed to or played by youth, regardless of their ESRB rating. Research suggests that pressure on movie producers has succeeded in decreasing tobacco imagery in youth-rated movies, and the same efforts should be used to influence game developers and publishers.

Even as national smoking rates have declined to record lows, smoking continues to be portrayed positively on screens. Glamorizing and re-normalizing smoking, and making it appear “cool,” could threaten the progress the U.S. has made in decreasing tobacco use, which kills 1,300 Americans every day.

For more on the topic of tobacco in video games, visit truthinitiative.org. (BPT)

2018: The Year in Messaging

Written by Beerud Sheth, Founder & CEO of Gupshup

Beerud Sheth, CEO of Gupshup

Beerud Sheth, Founder & CEO of Gupshup

As 2018 draws to a close, it’s a good time to take stock of the year in the world of messaging and conversational experiences. Unlike prior years, this one is characterized by less hype and more progress. Developers have been quietly working away, far from the madding crowd, as messaging volumes grow massively and conversational experiences continue to pervade every aspect of human existence.

Over the last few years, mobile messaging usage has exploded. It now dominates smartphone usage. While consumer communication grew rapidly a few years ago, the more recent and interesting phenomenon is the rise of “messaging as a platform” – a platform for developers and enterprises to engage their customers and build advanced conversational experiences. Messaging and conversational experiences are gradually transforming every aspect of the human-computer interface.

Facebook Messenger, which launched its bot API with great fanfare in 2016, is now coming of age as they announced in 2018 over 300,000 chatbots developed on its platform. Messenger has by far the most technically advanced APIs, tools and platforms for chatbots developers. It also offers open access to all developers and does not charge a messaging fee. Therefore, it is often the first channel that developers experiment with, even if the bot is to be ultimately deployed on another channel.

In a major new development this year, WhatsApp launched its “WhatsApp for Business” platform – an API for enterprises to send automated messages to consumers. In most parts of the world, except U.S. and East Asia, WhatsApp is the dominant messaging channel. The frequency and intensity of WhatsApp usage dwarfs any other communication channel in those countries. While that has only been the case for consumer-messaging so far, the new APIs will now attract enterprise-messaging volumes. Enterprise usage is expected to grow as WhatsApp adds more features, expands developer access and fine-tunes its pricing and policies.

RCS, the successor to SMS, continued its slow progress this year. The mobile operators in Japan went live with a joint RCS service, making it the first country with full RCS coverage. It will be interesting to see what channel enterprises and consumers prefer, as RCS and Line battle for messaging volumes in Japan. In all likelihood, they will both grow, as there is immense potential for additional use cases to migrate from apps to messaging. In the U.S. this year, AT&T went live with RCS, while Verizon enabled it on a few devices. Worldwide, as other operators continue to look at RCS, the deployment timelines are either less clear or very long. Handset manufacturers are slowly starting to enable RCS on their devices. However the “elephant in the room” is what will Apple do - its position remains unclear.

Meanwhile, Alexa, the leader in voice-based conversational services, continues its march through the kitchens and living rooms of consumers. In 2018, Amazon introduced many different form factors combining audio speakers and screen-based interfaces. Additionally it also offers cloud APIs for others to embed Alexa into their devices. At the same time, Google Assistant is marching onto (Android) smartphones worldwide, with support announced in 2018 for 30 languages in 80 countries. The rise of Alexa and Assistant shows that, depending on context, users will seamlessly use both oral and textual conversations to get things done. For example, in private spaces with busy hands (e.g. when driving or cooking), audio is the preferred conversational medium. However, in public spaces (e.g. meeting room or noisy street), screen-based textual or visual interaction is usually the preferred mode.

Even as other channels mount a bid to be viable alternatives, SMS continues to remain the preferred channel for enterprise messaging given its ubiquity. Globally, enterprises send 2 trillion text messages to consumers worldwide. These are mostly transactional messages notifying customers about information related to their transaction. This year messaging global volume grew by about 10% (according to market research firm Mobilesquared), not bad given its massive scale. While SMS does have its limitations, such as plain-text, restricted-length format, it more than makes up for it with its reach and ubiquity.

Telegram continues its standoff with Russian regulators who want access to its encryption keys. Viber launched new features enabling massively large communities along with monetization tools for moderators.

While other channels continue to develop, the gold standard worldwide for rich messaging functionality remains WeChat, along with similar apps Line and Kakao. These messaging apps enable users not just to communicate but also do a wide variety of transactions, including shopping, banking, insurance, payments, travel, taxis, food delivery, jobs, music, news, etc. These have now become super-apps that subsume many other apps within them. These are powerful illustrations of the vision of “messaging as a platform.”

Messaging channels and conversational experiences continue their rapid growth even as the hype cycle has moved on. As they say, it is easy to overestimate the short-term and underestimate the long-term – that is certainly the case with messaging and conversational experiences. As messaging functionality and AI / NLP capabilities reach an inflection point, it is advisable not to underestimate 2019. Wishing all of us a happy new year of messaging!

Online Shopping on the Rise this Festive Season: How to Shop Safely 

The busiest online shopping season is here – in 2018, experts expect more fraud and more online shoppers than ever.  NordVPN provides tips for safe shopping.

The biggest shopping season of the year is here. Last year, online fraud increased by 22 percent during holiday shopping season, from Thanksgiving to December 31st– while online retail sales increased by 14.7 percent, reaching $108 billion.

As usual, online stores are huge sites of targeted attacks by hackers who try to steal users’ financial details. An innocent user can be tricked into believing that they were entering credit card details on a secure online store while in reality they were providing their details to a hacker. Any shopping website can be a spoofed fraudulent site set up by hackers to steal users’ data – or even if it’s not, it may not be using a secure encryption protocol to ensure customers’ details are safe. 

Besides online stores, hackers are also targeting gift cards, loyalty points and other consumer data. Experts say that 2018 shopping season will also witness account takeover more often than ever before. Cybercriminals are already engaged intrading strategies and tactics online and keeping themselves at the cutting edge of new payments, ID and commerce technologies.

Blog

In order to stay safe when shopping online, there are some basic steps to follow. NordVPN, a VPN service provider, advises following these rules: 

1. Strong log-in information

If you want to avoid account takeover, the main rule is to stop using the simple or the same passwords and emails for different accounts. Weak or the same passwords make it simple for hackers to break into any account. Make sure you use a password manager that saves all the passwords and keeps them in one safe place.

2. Pay with credit card

Most credit cards will protect their customers in a dispute with a seller, and customers are usually protected from unauthorized charges or payments for items they never received. Make sure you know your credit card’s policy before you use it for online shopping.

3. https

The first thing you should always see while making an online payment is whether the payment gateway has an https URL. The ‘s’ in the URL means that it is a secure protocol and your data is encrypted properly.

4. Stay away from public terminals

It’s dangerous to share your personal information with any website over the internet while using a public internet connection. Public Wi-Fi networks are common hunting grounds for cybercriminals who try to access your personal information. 

5. Be wary

Being vigilant can help you a lot in the task of shopping online securely. Whenever a website requests more information than is usually required, like your Social Service number or any other kind of personal information, it usually means it’s fraudulent. 

6. Use a VPN

VPNs encrypt all the data you share across the internet on any website. They are the best security mechanism you can employ to make sure the data you share over the internet is safe from prying eyes and remains confidential.  NordVPN offers great connection speeds, uses strong encryption protocols and has good global coverage.

7. Report fraud

If you have been scammed – and it will happen to thousands of people this year, unfortunately – do not be ashamed to admit it and file a scam report. There are official websites (such as Better Business Bureau in the U.S.) that allow to report and track scams in real time. Reporting a scam might save many other potential victims.

For more information, please visit nordvpn.com.

This Key Threat to Fortune 500 Companies Often Goes Unaddressed

Written by Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine 

Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security.

Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security.

Fortune 500 companies have an impressive aura around them and well-earned reputations. Their leaders have achieved what many smaller companies’ executives aspire to accomplish. However, they also encounter more difficult challenges than one might expect. Despite the major resources that Fortune 500 companies possess, or rather, precisely because of them, Fortune 500 companies still face plenty of security risks. The target on a Fortune 500 company is much bigger than that of a small business because there’s inherently more value in compromising them.

Unfortunately, these companies also experience breaches coming from a widespread threat that no one seems to know how to address. It’s the cause of 95 percent of big attacks on Fortune 500 companies; namely, theft of employee credentials, usually via phish. How do cybercriminals exploit the threat to these companies?

It Starts with Stealing Credentials

Even though Fortune 500 companies go to great lengths to prevent breaches and data theft by hackers, it’s still happening. That’s because despite these companies’ heavy investments in cybersecurity, humans will always be the weakest link in almost any security system.

For example, if a phishing email finds its way into an employee’s inbox, there aren’t many ways to prevent that employee from opening it, and then clicking on a suspicious link or otherwise letting hackers compromise their credentials. Once that happens, hackers can move on to inflict further damage with malware, gaining access to essential servers.

Executing the Attack

Once they breach a company’s defenses, hackers can carry out their attacks in various ways. There are plenty of targets they can infest with malware and make inoperable. Criminals can steal or wipe valuable data, destroy the backup systems, and wreak havoc on disaster recovery systems. It’s a costly battle for Fortune 500 companies, and extremely difficult to recover from.

Preventing the Phishing Threat

Once the cybercriminals invade your infrastructure, it’s hard to rout them out before damage is done. That’s why preventing that first successful phishing attack is critical.

Relying on training your employees to recognize and report phishing attacks does not always yield the desired results. Even alert and motivated employees don’t have the knowledge and skills of a security manager.

Fortunately, once you stop the 95 percent of threats that arrive by phishing, the remaining five percent of attacks are easily preventable by regular patching and updating your security systems.

Area 1 Security offers phishing protection that you can add to the cyber security solutions you already have. We proactively cover your greatest vulnerabilities and prevent the majority of dangerous attacks, while your existing cybersecurity tackles everything else.

Detecting a phishing attack proactively, before it even becomes a threat, is the only way to stop phish from continuously landing in your employees’ inboxes. With Area 1 Horizon, you can stop phishing once and for all.

Top Three Cybersecurity Vulnerabilities Your Business Faces Right Now

Written By Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security 

The business world has become more competitive than ever. Not only is there increased pressure on companies to be profitable, but also to keep information safe. For many companies, cybersecurity is an area that’s easy to cut back on, but that can prove to be an expensive mistake.

According to the PwC Global Economic Crime Report, cybercrime is now the second most reported economic crime, affecting 31 percent of organizations. The percentage is high, and if cybersecurity doesn’t become a priority in business, it will certainly get higher. As the leader and owner of a company, do you know which cybersecurity vulnerabilities your organization may have right now? Let’s take a look:

1. Lack of Policies that Prevent Most Common Threats

The first and most apparent vulnerability in any system relates to security fundamentals. Today, every company needs a cybersecurity policy to set security standards. Specific, well-established practices such as Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) have proven risky and need to be strictly governed. According to the 2018 Verizon Mobile Security Index, 74 percent of businesses say that their mobile security risks have gone up in the past year. Therefore, if you haven’t set strict security standards for your employees to follow, it’s time to start.

2. Reactive Mindset

Due to resource constraints, many organizations will do only the bare minimum when it comes to cybersecurity. However, in this day and age, covering the basics is not enough. Waiting for an attack to happen and then reacting is a sure-fire way for you to be much worse off when everything is over than if you had taken proper steps to protect your assets.

While having a reaction plan in place is generally considered good practice, that can’t be the extent of your cybersecurity solutions. Considering how fast cybersecurity threats are evolving, investing in proactive security solutions is quickly becoming a must for businesses.

3. The Human Factor

According to Experian’s 2018 Managing Insider Risk Through Training and Culture Report, 66 percent of surveyed professionals felt that employees posed the greatest vulnerability when it came to cyberthreats.

This isn’t unexpected, considering that the human factor is usually the weakest link in any security system. While training can help to eliminate the most common causes of human error in cybersecurity, described as “general carelessness,” it isn’t enough.

When you take into consideration the fact that a majority of organizations face phishing email attacks frequently, the scope of the problem falls into perspective. Even when employees are rigorously trained, mistakes happen. All it takes is one careless reaction to a suspicious email.

This is why we must work on solutions that prevent phishing cyberattacks before they even reach your employees’ inboxes. Area 1 Security’s Anti-Phishing solution offers precisely that, by spotting phishing attacks days in advance.

Businesses today might be even more vulnerable than they seem to their owners. It’s crucial for every C-level executive to know precisely what type of damage a data breach can inflict, and which proactive solutions can prevent it from happening. When it comes to phishing attacks, you’ll be far safer with Area 1 Horizon, the anti-phishing technology that neutralizes today’s most dangerous cybersecurity threats.

Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security.

Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security

Helpful Tips to Avoid Tech Support Scams

Written by Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified

Don’t be fooled by a scammer who calls you claiming to be from Microsoft or Apple.

Despite warnings that come year after year about tech support scams, fraudsters continually find new and more effective ways to trick consumers into giving up their personal and financial information.

Microsoft recently reported that tech support scams are up 24 percent since last year. The tech giant received 153,000 reports of customers encountering or falling for a fraud attempt, with 1 in 10 actually losing money from those scams. Microsoft customers paid an estimated $3 to $6 million to criminals – all because they didn’t know how to spot a hoax.

The typical tech support scam involves the fraudster calling or emailing a customer claiming to be from a legitimate technology company. The scammer says there’s something wrong with the customer’s computer, and uses a lot of tech jargon to confuse them. They then ask for passwords, remote desktop access, and even payment so they can “fix” the non-existent problem.

Savvy internet users know that no corporate tech support representative would ever contact them about a device issue unless the customer reported it first and asked for a call back. However, if you’re not particularly knowledgeable about technology, it can be very easy to be fooled by a convincing-sounding scam artist.

Here are a few steps to take if you suspect someone is trying to pull a tech support scam on you.

1. Verify The Source
Because of the sophisticated technology fraudsters have access to, it’s very easy for someone to create a convincing-looking scam email, or fake a caller ID to make it look like a phone number is coming from a specific area code or geographical region. If you were actually expecting a call from a tech support agent, you can run a reverse phone search or look up the listed tech support number to see if it’s an exact match for the company that’s supposed to be contacting you.

If it’s an email or browser pop-up, verify the logo, email sender address, signature, etc. The differences between a real and fake email or ad can be very subtle and easy to miss, so look at it with a very scrutinizing eye. More importantly, do not click on any links or call any phone number listed in these suspicious emails and pop-ups.

2. Never Give A Random Caller Your Password Or Desktop Access
No matter how convincing the call, email, or pop-up seems, you should never give out your account passwords or allow someone else to take control of your computer remotely. If you’re having trouble with your computer, it’s best to bring the machine in to a tech repair shop or official device retail store, or have a tech support professional come to your home to look at it in person.

3. Keep Your Browser, Programs, And Security Software Up To Date
Don’t ignore those messages on your computer that remind you to update your software. Software companies and device manufacturers are constantly working to patch security flaws and bugs, so failing to update at the advised time could leave your machine vulnerable to hackers.

4. Stay Vigilant
To avoid becoming the next victim of a tech support scam, it’s important to be vigilant about computer and internet safety. Never respond to a message or phone call from someone claiming to need access to your PC if you didn’t previously report an issue. If you are really having a tech support problem, contact your device manufacturer or a trusted tech support professional directly using the info listed on their website.

Most importantly, keep yourself educated and informed about the latest fraud tactics and the warning signs of any new scams. Arming yourself with this knowledge could save you from a sneaky data thief.

Bio for Justin Lavelle

Justin Lavelle is the Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified.com. BeenVerified is a leading source of online background checks and contact information. It helps people discover, understand and use public data in their everyday lives and can provide peace of mind by offering a fast, easy and affordable way to do background checks on potential dates. BeenVerified allows individuals to find more information about people, phone numbers, email addresses and property records. www.beenverified.com.

Smart Value

Tech upgrades to improve home function

When smart home technologies first emerged, their purpose was largely for convenience and operating the devices was often clunky. Today, smart devices seamlessly integrate into connected home systems to make living more efficient, improve home security and even offer advantages for your health.

If you’re considering upgrades to your home, smart technology is a savvy way to add value and function.

Energy Consumption

Smart lighting is among the most prevalent of smart functions on the market, largely because of the multiple benefits it offers. It’s handy to be able to set regular lighting patterns throughout the home so you’re never left in the dark. You can also manage those lights from your smartphone, so forgetting to turn off a light is no longer an issue and you can fool would-be-thieves into thinking the house is inhabited when you’re away.

Fingertip controls offer plenty of advantages, but another consideration is energy management. Dimming features and sensors that turn lights off and on through various detection methods (such as movement or recognizing a connected Bluetooth device) help minimize wasted energy. The lights are typically constructed to use less energy, and most models last substantially longer than their traditional counterparts; some brands claim a lifespan of 20 years or more.

Smart lighting is an easy way to curb energy usage, but another consideration is climate control, which accounts for a big chunk of a typical household’s energy consumption.

The idea of programming your thermostat is nothing new, but smart thermostats take programming to a whole new level. Not only can you schedule temperature changes to coincide with your coming and going (and manage those changes with an app when you’re not even at home), today’s smart thermostats also have sensors that learn your daily habits and can adjust the climate accordingly. Comfort aside, the impact on energy usage is often substantial enough that some electric companies even offer incentives to homeowners who install the devices.

Air Quality

In an average home, the pollutant level is normally low when people first enter the house, or after effective ventilation. However, after an extended period of time, daily activities can raise the level of humidity and carbon dioxide to unhealthy levels that can cause headaches, dizziness and sleepiness, and can contribute to long-term health issues.

“Few are aware of the impact of indoor air on their health and wellbeing, but the air we breathe is just as important as the food we eat or the water we drink,” said Kent Holm, senior vice president of global product management with the Velux Group. “An average adult breathes in around 4,000 gallons of air every day and spends up to 90 percent of their time indoors. A healthy indoor climate goes way beyond simple convenience.”

Opening skylights in conjunction with vertical windows removes polluted air from the home and promotes an overall healthier lifestyle. An option such as Velux Active with Netatmo is the first smart skylight system that connects with Apple HomeKit, allowing homeowners to manage indoor climate control at home or remotely with the touch of a button.

In addition to manual controls, smart sensor technology monitors carbon dioxide, humidity and temperature in the home and data from local weather station forecasts to automatically open the skylights if fresh air is needed. The system can also automate skylight blinds. Learn more at whyskylights.com.

Peace of Mind

Home security takes numerous forms, from detecting threats like fire or water to physical barriers at the home’s entry points. Smart technology is transforming the way homeowners manage their home’s security and giving them added confidence that their families are safe within those walls.

Smart smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors offer enhanced sensory features as compared to traditional models, in addition to sending alerts to your smart devices when you’re away. Water damage is another risk if you’re in an area prone to flooding or if you’re concerned about dampness that could spur mold growth. A smart sensor can alert you of changes in your home’s moisture level due to leaks or humidity so you can take preventive measures before damage becomes severe.

Anyone who’s ever gotten five miles down the road only to question whether the garage door went down or the front door was locked can appreciate the advantages of smart technology. Smart garage door openers and door locks make it easy for you to program access to guests who may not have a key and even gain access to the house when you’ve forgotten your own key. Other smart security devices like doorbell and flood light cameras help you keep tabs on the traffic around your home. (Family Features)

SOURCE:
Velux Skylights

Why Focusing on People and Data Might Be the Distraction Hackers Need to Infiltrate Big Business

Written by Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security, Contributing Writer for InFluential Magazine

Kim Del Fierro

Kim Del Fierro

We live in times when it’s become easier than ever for hackers to breach an organization through social engineering. Breaches are primarily caused by phishing attacks, representing a huge security problem for businesses.

But why is this type of cybercriminal so widely represented in the statistics? What is it that makes it so easy and so profitable for hackers? We might not like the answers. The ever-increasing connectivity and focus on people and data is leaving us vulnerable to malicious attacks. To protect your business, you need to start thinking like a hacker. Let’s take a look at how they infiltrate big business and what can be done about it.

How Social Engineering Works

Since social engineering relies on personal information hackers can find online, it’s pretty difficult to counter. Before; that required some digging on the hacker’s part – now all it takes is a data-matching service like Spokeo and PeekYou, and they get all the information they might need and more. Cross-matching public records is one thing, but employees also freely share a lot of information on social media. This personal info is then used to target employees within a company with malicious emails, by posing as a trusted individual. From there, all a hacker needs to do is convince an employee to click on a malicious link or perform a wire transfer.

Are Individual Threats the Same as Company Threats?

As we can see, cybercriminals can efficiently use your social media information to reach their desired target within your company. Does that mean company executives should stop using social media altogether, or ban their employees from sharing any work-related information?

The short answer is yes. The long answer, if not “yes,” is that there should be strict policies in place about the use of social networks and what can and can’t be shared. For example, if a company executive posts about being on a business trip, hackers take that as a signal to try and perform BEC. Anything an employee posts about work projects or people they spend time with in the office can help cybercriminals construct an elaborate and believable social engineering scam. It is why every employee must assume the whole world is watching them when they want to post anything work-related on social media.

The frequency of Social Engineering and Phishing

It’s no accident that social engineering and phishing attacks are responsible for 95 percent of data breaches. They exploit what will always be the weak link in any company’s security chain – the people who work there. Relying on traditional protective measures such as firewall, antivirus, anti-spoofing techniques, etc. cannot stop all of these attacks. Education is vital for prevention, but with these scams getting more elaborate and difficult to spot, it doesn’t ensure safety.

What Can Protect Your Business?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you didn’t have to worry about phishing? Good news, the worrying stops today. It seems challenging to prevent phish, but Area 1 Security offers an Anti-Phishing Service that finds and eliminates phish through a combination of web crawling and small pattern analytics. With Area 1 Horizon, your business will be safe, and you won’t be adding to the pool of $5.3 billion in losses due to phishing attacks last year.

With the ever-increasing focus on people and data, businesses are leaving themselves wide open to hackers. In those circumstances, there are two options – limiting the information hackers can get about you through social media, or investing in preemptive and comprehensive phishing protection. At Area 1 Security, we stop phishing for good.

Overcoming the Cybersecurity Dangers of BYOD

Written By Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security

Kim Del Fierro

Kim Del Fierro, VP of Marketing for Area 1 Security 

In today’s high tech world, nearly everyone you meet owns a smartphone, tablet or laptop computer. And in the era of BYOD, any and all of these devices are being used for work.

While that is certainly a convenience for employees and employers alike, for the men and women who sit in the CIO’s chair, BYOD is a source of constant headaches and frustration. Data breaches can happen at any time in the most controlled environments, and personal devices ensure a loss of control that keeps CIOs and data security teams up at night.

Personal Device Use by the Numbers

Indeed, recent survey data from Finn Partners paints a grim picture surrounding the use of personal security devices by employees. While a full 55 percent of employees BYOD, only 26 percent change log-in credentials on a monthly basis. Only 25 percent of these employees update the security protocols and operating systems on their devices each month.

When you look at phishing, the root cause of 95 percent of all breaches, the numbers grow darker still. In the June 2018 Finn Partners survey, nearly 40 percent of employees admitted to clicking on a link or opening an attachment from a sender they didn’t recognize. Two out of every five employees admit to putting their companies at risk both in the office and on their own devices. It should come as no surprise that one in three of these employees reports having been a victim of a cyber-attack or data breach.

Solutions in Sight

There are a number of steps an organization can take to minimize the risks that stem from BYOD policies. IT departments can work to limit access to company documents and records for smartphones and tablets. It can ensure that all data downloaded is fully encrypted. Cybersecurity professionals can and should enforce remote wipe policies and passcode locks on all devices being used for company use.

But in an era where nearly 40 percent of employees are going to click a link or open an attachment from someone they don’t know, in spite of years of training and workshops teaching them not to do so, smart cybersecurity teams will need to take solutions to the next level. The best recourse is to stop phishing attacks at the source before an employee even has the opportunity to make a company-changing mistake.

Take the Next Step in Cybersecurity

You’ll accomplish this by using preemptive anti-phishing solutions that stop phishing attacks from even entering your employee’s devices. That way you won’t have to worry about whether your employees will encounter phishing attacks at all. The risk of them compromising your organization’s sensitive data will be reduced to an all-time minimum. Taking this one step, while at the same time maintaining a continuous program of cyber hygiene, will eliminate nearly all cybersecurity threats to your company.

At Area 1 Security, we are dedicated to stopping phishing attacks with our comprehensive anti-phishing solution, Area 1 Horizon. It protects your organization across all traffic vectors, and, best of all — you’ll only be paying for phish we catch. We will help you help your employees, and in so doing, allow security professionals with BYOD policies to enjoy a better night’s sleep.