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We have the software to do a pretty good job of protecting ourselves from our digital enemies, the hackers who spread viruses and want to steal our personal information. Increasingly, the concern is over our friends. The slang term “frenemies” comes to mind, people we treat as friends but do not have our best interests at heart.
The first frenemey on my list of threats to privacy is Google.
Google’ search is a fantastic tool. Like most people, I use it all the time.
I also know that Google is keeping track of what I am searching for and where I am going on the web. They use that information to server ads from their ad network that they think will be most appropriate for me and most effective for the advertisers they server.
For the most part, this is harmless.
Nevertheless, there is definitely potential for abuse. Google accumulates a lot of data that it uses and shares with its partners. Its policy is not to share your data without your permission, but it in fact depends on what type of data we are talking about. Google groups your data into 3 categories.
- Non-personally identifiable data: This is data that they record based on your activities that cannot be connected back to a specific individual. Google will share this without your permission.This can be a significant loop hole in the policy. An IP address, for example does not identify a specific person, but is usually being used by only one or a small number of users of a computer.
- Personal Information: This is information that can identify you as an individual such as your name, email address, home address, etc. This is data that can be seriously misused if it falls into the wrong hands, not to mention less serious nuisance use such as spamming.Although Google says they only share such data with your permission, their default is to share the data. This is called an “opt-out” approach. They assume you have no problem with them sharing the data unless you specifically tell them not to.
- Sensitive personal information: Google accumulates data on you that could reveal your political beliefs, religious believes, sexual proclivities and reveal medical issues. These are matters that many of us would like to keep confidential and could be misused by third parties.Fortunately, Google currently has an “opt in” policy which asserts they will only share such information if you complete their opt in procedure.
Google may be benign, but I get nervous when someone says “don’t worry, trust us”.
That’s why I have installed browser extensions that protect my privacy from the activities of Google and other search engines that track my activities.
The second frienemy that I think of is Facebook, but I’m not sure that Facebook itself is the problem. Facebook has the same data collection issues that we have with Google, but the more important problem is how people use it. It is amazing how many people simply don’t get that Facebook and other social network sites are on a public network.
Some people are pure idiots and get what’s coming to them. There were the burglars who bragged about their activities and someone reported them to the police. Apparently, law enforcement routinely finds incriminating statements on public web sites.
However, internet searches have become a routine part of the hiring process. I am personally aware of several situations where job offers were not extended to applicants because Human Resources saw something objectionable on their Facebook page. Something you think is funny to your college or high school friends might not look so funny to a prospective or current employer.
And it’s not just prospective employers; it is our actual employers who are watching us. All of our activities online at work are being monitored at most companies. In fact, government regulations as part of the post Enron scandal reforms mandate an unprecedented amount of monitoring and documenting of internal communications.
I never use my company computer for personal use and would absolutely not send personal messages with my company email. That’s just asking for trouble.
The last frienamy to our privacy could be the biggest and most troublesome. Good old Uncle Sam himself. Details of a massive data collection program run by the National Security Agency was revealed this week that has many folks, myself included, very troubled. While there is no evidence of actual abuse at this time, the scope of the program is breathtaking.
The NSA, in a program called PRISM, is collecting the calling records of virtually every phone call made in the United States. Now, they say this data is only accessed to identify connections to suspected terrorist calling into the US or people in the US calling out to overseas suspects.
That sounds fine to me, but how do we know the data isn’t going to be abused? Calling data could identify personal information that could be used to extort or intimidate people for political reasons. A candidate might rather drop out of a race rather than have his wife and public know about phone calls to a brothel, just to give one example.
We are still learning about the details of this program, but access to detailed records supposedly requires a court order. However, everything is done in secret. We simply do not know if the controls are in place to prevent unauthorized or inappropriate access.
Don’t worry they say, trust us.
Hmmm, I don’t think so.
Airgain unveils extended portfolio of 5G OMNIMAX Dipole series antennas for M2M and IoT apps
Airgain announced the release of its OMNIMAX Next Dipole antennas, the latest addition to Airgain’s 5G product portfolio designed to deliver ultra-wideband connectivity for 5G NR sub-6GHz IoT and M2M applications.
The OMNIMAX Next Dipole series includes 5G NR sub-6GHz products for low profile and shock resistant outdoor applications, including “salt shaker” style antennas, indoor dipole “paddle” antennas, and outdoor “candlestick” dipole antennas.
Each product is designed to blend into the environment, with flexible mounting options while providing ultra-wideband connectivity for virtually any indoor or outdoor cellular module, modem, or gateway. The 5G ready OMNIMAX Next Dipole series provides future-proof performance, with backward compatibility from 5G to 4G and 3G global frequency bands.
“Supporting sub-6GHz 5G, particularly the lower bands approaching 600MHz, is challenging for the form factors of these products,” said Kevin Thill, Airgain’s Senior Vice President of Engineering.
“These antennas achieve excellent broadband performance without compromising the form factor, while outperforming competing solutions that we have seen in the market today. These antennas feature a unique and patent pending Coplanar Waveguide feed, which is key to enabling the ultra-wideband performance in the given form factors.
“We are excited to offer the expansion of our product portfolio of 5G ready antennas designed to accommodate wider bandwidth requirements demanded by 5G. The OMNIMAX Next Dipole series provides a cost-effective solution while delivering dependable quality.”
Building on Airgain’s antenna design expertise of CENTURION Next, the industry’s first 9-in-1 5G and Wi-Fi 6 fleet antenna, the OMNIMAX Next Dipole series includes 617 MHz to 6 GHz wideband cellular 5G support. OMNIMAX Indoor Dipole Next, OMNIMAX Outdoor Dipole Next, and M2M SN Next are available through our trusted channel partners or direct at 1-855-AIRGAIN.
You Are The Weakest Link
Tom Finan on human imperfection and cyber security culture
A craftsman never blames their tools. It is not the systems that ultimately fail cyber security professionals- it’s the people. Insider threats do abound but more often than malfeasance, misfeasance is the key to a breach. It wasn’t the firewall that failed Capitol One, it was a misconfiguration. Tom Finan dives in on culure vs. strategy quoting both Peter Drucker and…Barbara Streisand.
Covid 19 has changed 2020 in unprecedented ways in how we work, live our lives, and measure Cyber Risk. Listen to Episode #141 of Task Force 7 Radio as the Cyber Growth Leader from Willis Towers Watson, Tom Finan and Co-Host Andy Bonillo dive into how the “Cyber Security Superheroes” are working together to manage the human element during the pandemic. As claims data shows, effective Cyber Risk prevention and mitigation is largely a people problem. In response, companies need to assess and analyze the elements of their cultures that shape both positive and negative cyber attitudes and behaviors that makes the human element one of the largest risks to a company.
Axio360 platform to provide holistic view and identify financial impact of risk for Archer’s clients
Axio announced a strategic partnership with cybersecurity consulting firm Archer. This partnership will merge Archer’s expertise in critical infrastructure protection with the Axio360 platform and allow clients to measure cyber risk exposure in financial terms and manage their cybersecurity program from a holistic point of view.
The Axio360 platform will assist Archer’s clients in identifying cyber risks across business units and threat vectors that may not have previously been considered. The platform estimates all-in costs of exposure and evaluates how specific controls and mitigations will reduce risk.
“The Axio platform was built to fundamentally redefine how organizations solve cybersecurity problems. Our intention is to enable business-centric decision-making by putting the risk in financial terms,” said Brendan T. Fitzpatrick, Senior Vice President of Channels & Partnerships for Axio.
“Our operating system aligns all key constituents and delivers clarity in real-time. This partnership with Archer allows our software to make critical infrastructure safer and more secure.”
“This partnership allows our asset owners to receive tailored recommendations from Axio and our dedicated team. For the first time, our clients will be able to measure their cybersecurity program and benchmark it across their industry peers,” stated Patrick C. Miller, Managing Partner for Archer.
“This collaboration will help the overall assessment and understanding of cybersecurity risk for critical infrastructure.”
Axio360’s methodology and software empowers organizations to continuously answer the four most critical questions for cyber risk:
- What’s my exposure in financial terms?
- How should I manage my cyber program?
- Do I have the financial ability to recover?
- Where should I invest?
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