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Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans Searching Google for “coronavirus” will now send users to a curated search results page with resources from the World Health Organization, safety tips, and news updates, Google and the WHO announced today. This effort, which is just one of Google’s SOS Alerts, is now live. Google […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com
By South Carolina Treasurer Curtis Loftis
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Nothing is certain except death and taxes.” But just as you can count on tax time happening each year, you can be certain there will be scammers trying to steal your personal information and tax refund.
This week, January 27 – January 31, is Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week. Tax identity theft happens when someone steals your Social Security number (SSN) or other personal information to file a phony tax return and receive a refund. As an advocate for the taxpayers of South Carolina, I wanted to bring attention to this year’s observance and offer resources to help you learn more about spotting potential scams and fighting imposters’ attempts of stealing your information.
Our state was recently ranked at number five in a list by WalletHub for States With the Most Identity Theft and Fraud, highlighting the importance of taking the extra steps necessary to protect yourself and your information. To curb the threat of tax-related identity theft this filing season – and year-round – keep in mind the following tips:
#1. File your tax return early.
Oftentimes, people do not know they’re victims of tax identity theft until their return is rejected as a duplicate filing or the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) notifies them via mail of suspicious activity. Filing early helps limit this risk, as it gives scammers a shorter timeframe to file a fraudulent return using your information. By filing your legitimate return early, identity thieves won’t be able to try and steal your refund later. Find information about filing options at dor.sc.gov/iit-filing.
#2. Choose your tax preparer wisely.
Most tax return preparers provide outstanding and professional tax service. However, each year, some taxpayers are hurt financially because they choose the wrong tax return preparer. If you plan to pay someone to help prepare your taxes, do diligent research in advance and choose wisely, as you’ll be sharing with them your most personal information, including details about your marriage, income, children, social security number and overall financial picture.
#3. Know the signs of an IRS imposter.
Scams take many shapes and forms, which is why it’s important to know the signs of a legitimate IRS communication and the signs of a scam. For example, there’s a common phone scam where IRS impersonators call taxpayers, saying they owe money and must pay right away. However, the real IRS does not initiate contact via phone and will never call you demanding money. By familiarizing yourself with common IRS imposter scams, you’ll empower yourself with the knowledge to thwart fraudsters’ attempts at identity theft. You can find information about recent and prevalent tax scams on the IRS website.
#4. Protect your personal information.
You can only control what happens to your personal information as long as it’s in your possession. Be diligent in storing documents that contain sensitive financial information in a secured location. Once you no longer need them, shred them. Use the IRS publication Security Awareness for Taxpayers as a reference for additional steps you can take to protect yourself from identity thieves.
#5. Ensure your computer is protected.
The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) recommends filing online using a reputable provider – it’s fast, accurate, and secure. But you still need to be proactive about protect your information by ensuring your computer is protected. When dealing with financial or sensitive information, only use secure, protected Wi-Fi networks – never public Wi-Fi networks – and only give personal information over encrypted websites, which you can identify by the “https” web address prefix. Utilize the SCDOR Cyber Security Awareness resource center, which offers pertinent information about protecting yourself online.
Curtis Loftis is the South Carolina State Treasurer. As Treasurer, he is the state’s “private banker,” managing, investing and retaining custody of nearly $50 billion in public funds.
If you believe your information has been compromised, you can contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 1-800-908-4490, or visit IdentityTheft.gov.
The South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) is the state agency responsible for the administration and regulation of tax laws in South Carolina. If you suspect or know of an individual or company that has committed tax fraud in South Carolina, or if you think you may be a victim of identity theft that has led or could lead to tax fraud, you can file a report with the SCDOR at dor.sc.gov/report-tax-fraud. For information and helpful resources about Income Tax in South Carolina, visit dor.sc.gov/iit.
The post #cyberfraud | #cybercriminals | 5 Tips for Protecting Your Tax Refund from Fraudsters appeared first on National Cyber Security.
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Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – A new year, a new push to protect your privacy. Consumer First Alert wants to help you outsmart scammers in 2020. The Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin has released its list of New Year’s Resolutions for a Consumer-Savvy 2020. Here’s the […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com
Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans In nearly every security environment, competing priorities are a constant battleground. Here’s how to keep the focus on what’s important. When I sit down to write an article, I encounter any number of distractions. Each distraction seems to want nothing more than to keep me from […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com
Unlike the 16-game NFL season, for the eight in 10 companies in the US undergoing digital transformation (DX), there’s no off-season. The journey is an ongoing one that, for IT leaders, can feel like an endurance challenge, not to mention a massive expense, with DX spending predicted to reach nearly $2 trillion in 2022, according to IDC.
Application-centric visibility is key to accelerating DX. By better visualizing, isolating, and understanding application interaction and usage patterns, organizations can accelerate secure deployment of their digital applications and prompt touchdown dances for DX victories both small and large along the way. I mean, who doesn’t want to see a SecOps team do the Ickey Shuffle?
But getting there requires adapting to the speed of the game, or transforming rapidly, which isn’t an easy feat when DX involves complexities like public, private, and hybrid cloud infrastructure and a new breed of multitier applications need to be managed and secured. Much like a wide receiver making plays in double coverage, networking pros have to be able to run fast networks during DX while navigating everything from changing IT environments to regulatory challenges like the General Data Protection Regulation and security demands in the context of escalating cybercrime.
Here are four gridiron-inspired tips that can help see your way to DX success with data, guaranteeing a SecOps Gronk spike:
1. Create a championship culture from top to bottom.
Organizations can take a cue from great sports franchises that develop and maintain a winning culture. Digital transformation is a business imperative and, much like winning, is built on strong technology underpinnings, ultimately focused on driving the culture of the organization. It starts at the board and C-level team with a vision of what you want the company to be in five years and then determining whether or not you have the culture, people, and resources to get there. You have to deliberately become a data-driven culture in every aspect from top to bottom, and treat cybersecurity as a strategic business enabler rather than an obstacle, in order to win at DX.
2. See everything, all the time.
Whether we’re talking turf or network, clear visibility of the traffic is just as important as any other technical skills. Like a pass rusher on the quarterback’s blind side, malware moves and data exfiltration happens across the network in stealth mode — not to mention the complexity of applications operating on-premises, in the cloud, or both. Having a clear line of sight into the organization’s network and application layers lets you visualize your infrastructure, what’s running on it, and how applications are performing and interacting with each other — and from there, extract kernels of insight to guide your DX efforts.
3. Handle complex schemes at top speeds.
Getting 53 professional athletes to master an NFL playbook comes with its challenges, not unlike wrangling the new breed of digital applications. Both require turning complexity into cohesion — and doing so fast. I’m referring to applications with multiple tiers (where each tier is scaled out and there’s a set of microservices), some of which are built in-house, others are built externally, and some come from open source. When the components are sandwiched together, complexity escalates rapidly, which ultimately manifests itself as challenges around securing the applications, as well as ensuring consistent performance and experience. The key to keeping things under control is having the right kind of data to help you understand the interaction, performance, and security characteristics of these applications.
4. Be a good halftime coach.
Good coaches make quick adjustments to position the team for second-half success. NetOps and SecOps teams can relate when it comes to troubleshooting, managing, and securing applications. Whatever the application architecture, once in deployment something at some point is bound to go awry. You need to figure out what’s happening and quickly course correct, but when you’re scaling microservices, it’s hard to troubleshoot just through application instrumentation. By analyzing the network traffic pertaining to these applications, you get immediate actionable data points that can be used to address trouble spots and understand security implications as well. The ability to isolate specific applications or microservices communication streams for deeper inspection would allow the security operations to easily understand access patterns and put in place effective micro segmentation strategies.
The NFL game is faster than ever, and the same can be said for the pace of digital business and the proliferation of cyber threats. The ability to the handle day-to-day challenges while positioning the organization for future success is only possible with the appropriate infrastructure in place. NetOps and SecOps teams are tasked with the development, implementation, maintenance, and security of very complex enterprise infrastructures that prepare their organization for tomorrow, much like NFL teams must draft and develop players for future success. Both must do so while reducing risks, costs, and security threats along the way. With the above-mentioned tips as the foundation of your journey, you can position your organization for success for seasons to come.
Shane Buckley is President and Chief Operating Officer of Gigamon with responsibility for expanding the company’s business and markets worldwide. He brings more than 20 years of executive management experience to the team and joins Gigamon from Xirrus where he was CEO prior … View Full Bio
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Source: National Cyber Security – Produced By Gregory Evans As Brits plan to go to extreme lengths to grab a bargain this Black Friday but are leaving themselves exposed to cyber-criminals? Brits are gearing up to grab a bargain this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with 17% already considering pulling a sickie. Over half of […] View full post on AmIHackerProof.com
Understanding the Security Gap
According to a recent report by the Advanced Cyber Security Center, 91% of organizations…
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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog | ZeroNorth authored by ZeroNorth. Read the original post at: https://www.zeronorth.io/blog/these-4-tips-will-make-you-fluent-in-cyber-risk/
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A study from Frost & Sullivan and Microsoft revealed that more than half of the organizations in the Philippines have either experienced a cybersecurity incident or are not sure if they had one as they have not performed proper actions or data breach assessment. With Filipinos’ increasingly internet-savvy population, cybersecurity and data protection must be a top priority for small to medium enterprises as much as it is for large scale businesses.
In 2017, around 99 percent of the more than 920,000 registered businesses in the Philippines are considered small and micro enterprises (SMEs). These SMEs employ less than 100 workers and have assets of P15 million or less, excluding the value of the land.
Their exponential growth over the years also calls for these small organizations to quickly adapt to digital transformation, as well as adopting cybersecurity practices that would protect their businesses along the way.
As we celebrate the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Microsoft shares valuable tips that would allow SMEs to recognize the dangers and risks of cyberattacks and help organizations better prepare for data breaches. Below are some of the best practices that one’s company could consider in improving its defense against cybersecurity threats:
Beware of phishing
It takes a hacker only four minutes long to get into a network and 99 days for businesses to discover that they’ve been breached. Refrain from opening suggested links or never reveal confidential information unless you are certain that the person you are talking to is genuine. Even when you know the person asking, gauge if they are entitled to sensitive information about yourself.
Beef up your password
Customize your password by making your password longer. The longer the password, the harder it is to crack. Strong and complex passwords should include a combination of letters, numbers and special characters.
It is important for all, and that includes all employees’ phones, laptops, tablets and files, to set up their accounts with the multi-factor authentication for added security. Multifactor authentication is a security system that verifies a user’s identity by requiring multiple credentials such as, code from the user’s smartphone, answering security questions, a fingerprint or facial recognition.
Keep your data safe in the cloud
No one likes to lose their data. Back-up all your files to keep and transfer everything behind firewalls into the cloud. Patch everything and keep your systems up to date.
Plan for the worst
Every small business owner could put an affordable, actionable plan in place to mitigate risk to save time and money. Prevention is just as important as a response plan. Develop action plans with your staff in case something goes wrong.
Your organization should be in a continuous state of compliance. These practices should not just be tool-sets, but also a training for your company. Continue to invest in good technology solutions and hardwares. Leverage technology advancements by acquiring top-quality protection and not underestimating cyberthreats.
“It is imperative for small to medium enterprises to embrace 21st-century technology in order to survive in the competitive business landscape today,” said Microsoft Country Manager Andres Ortola. “We, at Microsoft, are committed not only to bring these organizations the right solutions but also the best cybersecurity tips and practices one should take note of when running a business.”
Investing in digital tools is one thing and applying these best practices is another. Filipino SMEs must realize the need to be aware of all potential cyberthreats and the steps to prevent them. It is never too late to safeguard their businesses accordingly and further grow the company to its full potential without any fear and doubts along the way.
The post #nationalcybersecuritymonth | Cybersecurity tips for SMEs – The Manila Times appeared first on National Cyber Security.
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JACKSON, Tenn.– Internet-enabled theft, fraud and exploitation were responsible for $2.7 billion in losses in 2018. The victim could be anyone who uses a connected device, including you.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation says its Internet Crime Complaint Center took in a an average of 900 complaints every day last year, ranging from non-payment scams to pyramid schemes.
Jeremy Baker is one of the people investigating these crimes. To prevent them, he has some tips you can do right at home.
“Just like your personal hygiene, you want to shower every day, you want to bathe, want to smell good, your cyber hygiene is the same thing. Just be in good shape,” Assistant Special Agent-in-Charge Jeremy Baker told WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News.
The first thing he said was to have multi-layer authentication.
“If you log into your email and give your username and password, it won’t let you in just yet. It’ll do at least one other step like text you a code or email a different account a code and you put that in and go in,” he said.
To set that up, go to your email account, click security, and turn on the two-step verification.
Also, check your passwords.
“Think about somebody sitting in their mother’s basement all day trying to guess what your password is. Make it hard for that person to do it,” Baker said.
He said the passwords should be long and unpredictable.
“So, if I’m a Green Bay Packers fan, I shouldn’t make it ‘Green Bay Packers Fan,’” Baker said.
And if you post about the Packers all over social media, hackers might be able to use that.
“I’ve actually seen some huge cases where some industrious and creative criminals tracked executives on social media,” he said. “That is exactly how they got millions of dollars out of these large companies. Because they knew exactly what to say and when to say it and when to hit, based on the executive’s availability or lack-of availability.”
Keeping that safe is as easy as changing the privacy setting on social media from public to private.
But, most importantly, trust your gut. If you see a website or email that doesn’t look secure, don’t click or open it.
“Because those are actually the two biggest things we still see, even as complicated as technology gets, it’s usually caused by people opening or clicking things they shouldn’t,” Baker said.
And, the FBI says give the computer a break and turn it off. If the computer isn’t on, hackers can’t get into it.
“Make it hard for the bad guys to make you a victim,” he said.
Baker also offers a few other tips:
Use different computers for internet use and private use.
Install and keep up with anti-virus protection and software.
Keep your computer, tablet and phones up-to-date with the latest software, as the makers are constantly researching and updating.
And, back up your data.
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Do you sacrifice convenience for security when you’re traveling on vacation or on business? A University of Phoenix survey says very few people take precautions to safeguard their data while traveling.
“You need to practice the same cybersecurity precautions that you take at home or at work when you are on business trips or vacations,” says Dennis Bonilla, executive dean at the College of Information Systems and Technology School of Business, University of Phoenix. “That’s when you are less secure because you are accessing networks that are not as protected and have a lot of public access. That’s where the hackers are lurking to figure out how to get your information.”
Bonilla shares four ways to protect yourself when traveling on business or vacation:
Avoid public Wi-Fi
Using public Wi-Fi at the airport or local coffee shop is certainly convenient. However, Bonilla says many of those networks aren’t encrypted. That means the data you are transmitting can be easily accessed. Hackers now have sophisticated tools that can intercept the data you are transmitting. Not only can they log keystrokes; they can also download your data onto their own device.
Don’t access Bluetooth
Do you enjoy listening to music on your Bluetooth device? Bonilla says the same way you access Bluetooth to get music from your device to your headphones, hackers can use the same technology to steal data from you. In late 2017, security company Armis published details of a new Bluetooth vulnerability in which hackers can take complete control of targeted devices in only 10 seconds. Bonilla’s advice is to always keep your Bluetooth capability off when traveling.
Stop using your personal device for business purposes
A University of Phoenix survey found a majority of travelers mistakenly believe their devices are just as safe on vacation as at home. Bonilla says you should never let your guard down. Using your personal device for business purposes not only puts your information at risk but also your employer’s. Imagine the amount of information that could get into the wrong hands! There may be financial data, intellectual property or other sensitive information you don’t want the general public to see. He says it’s important to avoid using common passwords for both devices.
Stay away from a hotel’s shared office space
Thinking about stopping by the hotel’s business center to print out your airline boarding pass? Bonilla says those computers are extremely vulnerable to cyber criminals, especially if you use them to check your personal or work emails. He says a lot of hotels don’t have any protection or encryption on their computers, putting your information at risk.
Bonilla says criminals are always a couple of steps ahead of the average person. No longer do hackers need a deep amount of knowledge to carry out their crimes. All they need is a laptop and an internet connection. He says it’s important for the average person to be educated on the ways hackers can target their information.
“Don’t be lazy,” says Bonilla. “Cyber-attacks are at an all-time high. We are more connected than ever. You’ve got to take precautions. Take the simple steps of updating the software on your phone, disabling Bluetooth, GPS, and Wi-Fi – stay off those network spaces. That’s where they are waiting to attack.”
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