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Corporate Hacking: Are You a Target?

Corporate Hacking: Are you at risk?Corporate hacking stories are a staple of the news. Whether a small business or large international corporation, if you use the internet to do business, you are susceptible to having your network hacked, customers compromised, and your reputation ruined.  How can you protect yourself from being a target of corporate hacking? Sometimes it is just about being proactive, and thinking smart.

Here are five strategies to defend against corporate hacking:

  • First, Think Passwords: Are yours strong and unique? Do you change them often? Usually, a hacker steals passwords. By regularly changing yours, you make it harder for hackers to use stolen data. If the hacker doesn’t have access to stolen passwords, they will try combinations of easily guessable alternatives.   There are ways to make cracking your passwords more difficult, including using spaces and characters in your password and increasing the length. And whenever possible, use Two-Factor Authentication, which adds another layer of security. (2017, Symantec)
  • Second, Look at web URLs:   Your information is not encrypted if you do not see an “s” after the “http.”  Encryption is necessary for any business, especially when financial transactions, credit card information, or other critical data is shared.
  • Third, Software Updates:   Keep abreast of the updates pushed out by software providers.  They are created to counter software flaws.  Updates, also known as patches, are developed and pushed to users for upload.  It is important to keep up with the updates in order to stay ahead of malicious hackers who could use the flaws to hijack your system.
  • Fourth, Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt:  Use road blocks to make it difficult for your corporate information to be collected and shared.  Encrypting data is key to this process. Learn more about how to encrypt files in this post from Lifehacker.
  • Fifth, Employ White Hat Hackers:   Sometime you need to have someone on the inside working to find the cracks in your armor.  Employing cyber security specialists, or training your existing employees in ethical hacking techniques, can wind up saving your company money in the long run. After all, cyber attacks can be incredibly expensive. Finding and patching the vulnerabilities yourself costs a lot less.

These are just a few of the many steps your company can take to make doing business more secure in the digital age and help build a defense against corporate hacking.   One last tip: education.  Stay ahead of trends by constantly educating your employees on best practices.

Why not learn more about cyber security and ethical hacking?

Check out the IEEE online course programs: Cyber Security for Today’s Environment and Hacking Your Company: Ethical Solutions to Defeat Cyber Attacks. These courses provide you and your employees with the foundation you need to put a sensible cyber security strategy in place for your organization.

 

Resources

Nixon, Sam. (2017, September 8). Are you an easy hacking target? Cybersecurity tips for small business. The Guardian.

Symantec. (2017). How to Choose a Secure Password. Norton Security Center.

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How to Make IoT Batteries Last Longer

Make IoT Batteries Last Longer: IEEE Wake-Up Radio InfographicAnalyst firm Gartner predicts that there will be 8.4 billion connected “things” in 2017, which will then expand to 20.4 billion Internet of Things (IOT) devices by 2020. That number is staggering. And it is reasonable to expect that a great many of these devices will run on batteries. Yet battery life can be limited. How do we make IoT batteries last longer?

Consider the use cases:

  • Wearable medical devices that cannot be hard wired
  • Logistics sensors on vehicles, moving from place to place
  • Agricultural IoT devices in the middle of fields
  • Smart home consumer devices that are easier to install without hardwiring, increasing market adoption

…and these are just a few instances of the many IoT use cases that will require battery operated devices. Given the sheer number of devices, it is essential that IoT manufacturers create devices that have a long battery life while maintaining optimal performance. We must make IoT batteries last longer.

This is why the IEEE 802.11ba standards working group is developing the IEEE Wake-Up Radio standard. This technology has the potential to increase battery life in IoT devices from months to years. When you consider the cost of replacing 20.4 billion batteries (both the batteries themselves, as well as the time involved), this will have significant economic impact.

How it Works

IoT devices have an embedded radio that has to “wake up” in order for data to be transmitted. The longer the device is awake, the more power it consumes, but the higher the performance. To solve the power issue, a 2nd, low-power, duty-cycled Wake-Up Radio is added to the device that waits for transmissions. This Wake-Up Radio only wakes up the main device when it is needs to, allowing a longer device sleep state without compromising performance. Ensuring that the Wake-Up Radio uses duty cycling increases the battery life even more.

The result is a high-performance IoT device that last for years rather than months on a single battery.

The impact is clear. IoT devices that will run on IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections need IEEE Wake-Up Radio. Device manufacturers need this information now, in order to build this into their IoT devices of tomorrow.

IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio

To help IoT device manufacturers prepare for IEEE Wake-Up Radio even before the standard is released, IEEE is offering a technology report that outlines the technology, use cases, and more. The report will be released on 2 November, 2017, and is available for pre-sale now. Device manufacturers that begin planning for IEEE Wake-Up Radio now will have a competitive advantage, especially in consumer categories where IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections are ubiquitous. They will be able to make IoT batteries last longer in their devices.

Increasing battery life in IoT devices is essential. When it comes to devices that run on IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi®) connections, IEEE Wake-Up Radio is the solution. Pre-order the IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio now, and prepare your organization for a competitive advantage in the future.

 

References

Tung, L. (2017, Feb 7). IoT Devices Will Outnumber the World’s Population this Year for the First Time. ZDNet.

McCormick, D. (2017, Nov 2). 802.11ba Battery Life Improvement – Preview: IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio. IEEE Xplore.

 

 

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Easy Ways to Improve Your Organization’s Cyber Security

Easy Ways to Improve Cyber Security from IEEEThe Internet touches almost all aspects of everyone’s daily life, according to the US Department of Homeland Security. However, with access to so much information comes an increase in cyber-attacks that can affect people and companies on a global scale. In 2016, there was a 38% increase in phishing security attacks year over year according to a report produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers. The techniques that attackers use is also evolving, with attacks that continue to affect more computers and devices than ever before. (2017 Revision Legal) Every organization wants to improve cyber security, but the prospect can sometimes seem overwhelming.

The news in 2017 has been equally daunting with reports of serious cyber breaches that effect individuals and companies. Some of the more serious instances include a recent security breach to credit-reporting agency Equifax, a Gmail phishing campaign, US IRS data breach, and the British health system shutdown that affected administering medical attention to patients all over the UK.

With such widespread attacks, how do you protect yourself? How do you protect your company?

Sometimes it is the most basic steps that will improve cyber security for your organization, and make it harder for the hackers to be successful. (2017 Wired)

  • Training
    • Stay sharp on techniques hackers are using. Training will help you identify and avoid the traps and improve cyber security.
  • Always Think Before Clicking
    • Sometimes it is as simple as trust your gut. Many times, we notice something that bothers us, but we cannot identify what it is. Always trust your instincts. If it does not feel right, do not click on the link or open that email.
  • Consider the Source
    • Have you received information from this sender before? Is the offer too good to be true? Sometimes taking a few moments to read the full email address or researching who the sender is will help you sidestep a pitfall.
  • Use Security Back-Ups
    • Take advantage of security options when available like enabling multi-factor authentication on accounts, using a password manager or other system to help in maintaining strong passwords, and backing up your data.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Why not use this as an opportunity to have your staff become more aware of their cyber surroundings and in turn protect themselves and the company as you improve cyber security throughout the organization.

Does your organization need cyber security training? IEEE offers both cyber security and ethical hacking training to help organizations prepare. Learn more about organization pricing and request a quote here.

References

(2017, Aug 11) National Cyber Security Awareness Month. US Department of Homeland Security.

Newman, L. (2017, Mar 19) Phishing Scams Even Fool Tech Nerds—Here’s How to Avoid Them. Wired.

DiGiacomo, J. (2017, Jun 21) 2017 Security Breaches: Frequency and Severity on the Rise. JD Supra.

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Study Reveals Most Organizations Are Unprepared for Cyber Attack

Study Reveals Most Organizations Are Unprepared for Cyber Attack

A recent study released by Arctic Wolf Networks (2017) has found that many organizations are completely unprepared for cyber attack, and Internet of Things (IOT) devices are only making the problem worse. In the wake of attacks such as the one on Equifax, it has become clearer than ever that every organization needs a comprehensive cyber security strategy in place.

The study revealed that 100% of the companies that were included use at least one IOT device. Because these IOT devices often do not have the necessary security infrastructure built in, they are easy targets. While nearly every company had a firewall and antivirus system in place, that is unfortunately just the beginning of what is needed. The advanced threats seen today easily bypass these measures and many organizations are unprepared for cyber attack.

The Equifax attack, for example, was an attack on a web application. (2017, Wolff-Mann) This type of attack tricks an interactive web page, such as a form, into giving up far more from the database accessed than requested using a SQL Injection Attack. So for example, rather than just providing the requested information, any information stored in the database could be captured by hackers, and used for nefarious purposes. Unfortunately, many organzations focus on network security instead of software security, resulting in data breaches such as the one experienced by Equifax. Rohit Sethi, COO of Security Compass, believes that the automated testing and scans that many organizations rely on cannot measure up to what a trained human being can do.

Several industries have found themselves subject to attacks on IOT devices, with transportation leading the way. 29% of transportation companies have reported being subject to an attack, followed by 22% of energy, oil and gas; utilities, construction and property; and IT, Technology and Telecoms. And this number is expected to rise as cyber criminals become more sophisticated in their attacks. The infrastructure maintained by these industries is critical, and organizations cannot ignore the necessity to put trained personnel and advanced systems in place to protect the people that they serve. As hackers become more sophisticated, ignorance is no longer an excuse to be unprepared for cyber attack.

It is up to every organization to get the training and put the systems in place needed to defend against cyber attack, and protect their organizations and customers.

Does your organization need cyber security training? IEEE offers both cyber security and ethical hacking training to help organizations prepare. Learn more about organization pricing and request a quote here.

 

References:

Wolff-Mann, E. (2017, Sept 8). Equifax hack exposes a major cybersecurity gap. Yahoo! Finance.

Arctic Wolf Networks. (2017, Sept 7). Ransomware of Things: When Ransomware and IoT Collide. arcticwolf.com.

 

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IoT and Insurance: How IoT Data Will Transform an Industry

IoT and Insurance: How IoT Data Will Transform an IndustryThe insurance industry has always tried to assess risk: how likely is it that something bad will happen? This assessment is based on a number of demographic and other factors that help insurers decide how much risk is involved, and how much premiums will cost. With the evolution of the Internet of Things (IoT), however, insurers have the opportunity to assess risk at a more granular level, opening the way to a new class of products and services that take the data produced by IoT devices into account. The Internet of Things and insurance work together to provide a better customer experience.

For example, Vik Renjen, SVP Sutherland Global Services, predicts that auto insurers will offer “usage-based insurance.” This takes into account “history of speed, distance, turning and braking patterns, time of day and much more from the vehicles of prospective policy owners.” (Reiss, 2016) When insurers take a look at the actual driving patterns of the people they insure, then the best drivers will receive the best prices on their insurance.

IoT devices can also help alert  property owners to events such as fires or water leaks, which can prevent more damage and larger insurance payouts. (Makhluf, 2017) These environmental monitoring systems are inexpensive to install, and alerts can be received through a smartphone. In addition to alerting property owners, IoT systems can also be created to mitigate the problem. For example, a water leak might cause the water valve to be turned off. By using these systems, greater damage and expense can be avoided, which makes these systems a great benefit to insurance companies and property owners alike.

Finally, wearable devices can be used to encourage healthy behaviors and reduce health insurance costs. Insurance company John Hancock, for example, distributed free Fitbits to its customers. This encouraged healthy behaviors, which meant that customers were less likely to file a costly insurance claim. (Drinkwater, 2016) Additionally, wearable health devices help patients and their physicians identify health issues early when they can be treated for less expense, rather than waiting for more serious conditions to develop.

The Internet of Things and insurance is a game-changer, and will only continue to help insurance companies gain insight into the behaviors and risks presented by their customers. This will result in premiums that are better matched to customers, and lower risk for the industry.

Want to learn more about the Internet of Things? Check out the newest course program from IEEE: IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things. Special discount pricing for organizations!

References:

Drinkwater, D. (2016, May 24). 10 Real-Life Examples of IoT in Insurance. Internet of Business.

Makhluf, J. (2017, Sep 5). How IoT is inviting insurers into smart homes. Property Casualty 360.

Reiss, R. (2016, Feb 1). 5 Ways the IoT Will Transform the Insurance Industry. Forbes.

 

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Significantly Improve Battery Life: IEEE Wake-Up Radio Infographic

IEEE Wake-Up Radio is a groundbreaking new technology being developed by the IEEE 802.11ba standards task group that will significantly extend the battery life of devices and sensors on wireless networks, particularly those that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). The infographic below gives a high-level overview of this cutting-edge technology that will greatly improve battery life.

IEEE Wake-Up Radio infographic: Significantly improve battery life of Internet of Things devices with this low-power, high-performance solution

Ready to learn more about how to improve battery life in Internet of Things devices? Connect with an IEEE Content Specialist and pre-order your copy of the groundbreaking IEEE Technology Report on Wake-Up Radio today!

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Why Your Children Might Never Drive

Self-driving cars are the future of transportationYour children might never drive. Despite the initial shock factor this statement elicits, it doesn’t take long for the truth to sink in. For those that have already learned how to drive, it may be difficult to imagine relinquishing this freedom. But the reality is that self-driving cars, or autonomous vehicles (AVs), are set to stage a technological coup over transportation as we know it.

The shift is already beginning. According to the Gates et al., (2017), “Major automakers have been investing billions in development, while tech players like Uber and Google’s parent company have been testing their versions in American cities.” While much of the technology behind self-driving cars is not yet perfect or complete, studies are proving that AVs will dramatically reduce the number of traffic accidents and deaths (Stewart, 2017). Even though the first fatal self-driving accident with the Tesla Model S last year aroused considerable fear, investigators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) concluded that the Autopilot on the car did not actually cause the passenger’s death (Stewart, 2017). Nevertheless, automakers and tech developers are working on improving safety features to further allay fears.

Some other hurdles that AVs will have to overcome are the threat they pose to numerous jobs and the risks they carry in light of potential hackers (Chopra, 2017). According to Chopra (2017), “Soon technological capability won’t be the greatest impediment to adoption; societal friction will be.” But even among these challenges, few people question or deny that self-driving cars are the future. As Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Internet of Things (IoT) continue to advance and permeate our lives, AVs are no exception.

Interested in learning more about the Internet of Things for your organization? Check out IEEE Continuing Professional Education’s online training program: IEEE Guide to the Internet of Things.

References:

Chopra, A. (2017, Jul 22). What’s taking so long for driverless cars to go mainstream? Fortune.

Gates, G., Granville, K., Markoff, J., Russell, K., & Singhvi, A. (2017,  Jun 6). The race for self-driving cars. The New York Times.

Stewart, J. (2017, Jan 20). After probing Tesla’s deadly crash, feds say yay to self-driving. Wired.

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How to Strengthen Your Organization’s Cyber Security

Strengthen cyber security for your organization with cyber security training from IEEE

How prepared is your organization to manage a cyber attack? Do you need to strengthen cyber security for your organization?

According to a recent report from ISACA, a professional association focused on IT governance, many security leaders anticipate a cyber attack on their organization in the near future, but few feel prepared enough to handle it because of constantly evolving threats (Van Wagenen, 2017). The report notes that dwindling resources, slow budget growth, increasingly hostile threats, the evolution of the Internet of Things, and expanding ransomware are major reasons why it is becoming more difficult to keep up with the changing threat landscape. Such reasons highlight the need for strong leadership and resource commitments to cyber security.

Do you want to strengthen your organization’s cyber security? Kevin Goodman makes the following suggestions in this article:

  • Develop and implement incident management, threat audit assessment, and potentially even “war games” or table-top exercises.
  • Search for vulnerabilities, focusing on what is available and valuable to hackers.
  • Run regular scanning and penetration tests on network.
  • Review and practice social engineering policies.
  • Know which branches of law enforcement to contact should you suspect an issue.

Also, to strengthen cyber security, make sure your basics are covered with zero tolerance firewall, intrusion detection/protection, anti-virus, VPN, encryption, password hygiene and dual authentication access control. Other technologies and tools are available to support efforts in cyber defense such as predictive analytics, threat intelligence, and connecting with a Security Operation Center as well. Avoid costly technical investigation and brand damage that a data breach will likely bring by learning how to prevent and quickly detect potential threats.

For more up-to-date information on how to strengthen cyber security and protect enterprise networks from potential threats, check out IEEE’s new course, Cyber Security Tools for Today’s Environment.

Read more about ISACA’s Cyber Security report in Juliet Van Wagenen’s article here.

References:

Goodman, K. (2017, April 17). Cyber maturity will help ensure cyber security. Crain’s Cleveland Business.

Van Wagenen, J. (2017, June 7). 5 key takeaways from ISACA’s cybersecurity report. Associations Now.

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A Day in a Connected Life with the Internet of Things

IEEE IoT: A Day in a Connected LifeHow does the Internet of Things (IoT) affect your everyday life? In this new interactive infographic from IEEE, you’ll learn about the opportunity and risks posed by the devices you use every day. From your home to your car, from the office to the store, learn what data your interactions generate and how it can be used. Experience it by clicking here.

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Infographic: Cyber Security Threats

Recently, the IEEE member publication THE INSTITUTE, highlighted some of the online security threats that Chief Information Officers and Chief Technology Officers say are their biggest challenges. Exploring issues like Data Breaches, Compromised Credentials, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDOS) Attacks and more. The infographic below illustrates some of these threats.

IEEE Cybersecurity Infographic

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