Reputation Control = Personal Cyber Security

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The Internet can be an upside down, sideways kind of place when your own Reputation is at stake. Topsy-turvy doesn’t even begin to cut it when your personal cyber security has been breached, leading to a reputation loss, disaster or ongoing problems.

2016 has shown how vulnerable every person who uses the internet, social media, online banking, email, websites, mobile apps and even IoT devices. Almost daily we hear about this company or that corporation getting hacked, even government agencies. But how often do you think about your own personal digital space? Your online reputation? Your personal cyber security with regard to online banking, social media, emails, and all the other information you are generating?

Reputation Control and Reputation Management
Cyber Security, Social Media, You.

The current popular mythology that most hacking of reputations is caused because of 3rd party cyber breaches or loss of information not in the control directly of each person. While this is a big driver, there is an equally big driver of small players, disgruntled individuals, and just plain mean people.

These nasty people who delight in doxxing people, in revealing what was previously not revealed, and at the higher levels, ex spouses, former business partners, parties in lawsuits, and even corporate trolls can take down someone’s reputation, often hard earned over year, in a matter of seconds.

Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg has written and gives speeches about the crucial link between personal cyber security, social media and search.

Most people think they are just sitting ducks, waiting around till some hacker or some angry person goes after them, and then will deal with it after the fact.

This is 100% the wrong approach. You need to be pro-active, and this is true for your reputation, that of your business, and that of your family all at the same time.

Below are some simple steps to protect your own reputation online and simultaneously practice good personal cyber security hygiene.

  • Own two cellphones. One on a carrier plan, and pre-paid burner phone. The reason is to separate important login information from your main email account and phone and have a second way to authenticate with two factor authentication. This helps to prevent the trap of one phone, one email, multiple two-factor authentications flowing to them. If the one device gets compromised so does your whole life. With two combined with strategically breaking it up; it becomes much harder for a criminal or bad actor to mess up your entire life all at once.
  • Use two factor authentication on email, online banking, important logins like Apple or Google or Microsoft or Yahoo or Paypal etc.
  • Separate the financial and other important information and create a second email address and use a pre – paid burner phone to keep the important two factor authentication requests separate from those for social media, or Iot devices.
  • Own your own name. Buy a domain name in your name, lock it down so it cannot be transferred without your approval.
  • Own your own name. Register on social media in your own name, and use the accounts at least semi regularly.
  • Set up google alerts in your name, in the name of your family and business. This will automatically alert you when your name pops up in search. This helps to have early notification of what may be an indicator of something being wrong.
  • Be 100% assured that if you are in a legal action, or a dispute, that the other parties can and will try to harm you with release of information.
  • Be 100% assured that if you are in a high profile job, position, or have been in the media recently, that someone, somewhere is trying to figure out how to get money from you, to embarrass you, or even stop you.
  • The reality of the ever on 24×7 digital world we are find ourselves occupying in 2016 is it really is just a matter of when, and not if, something is going to happen. It may be a hack of a 3rd party who has your information, or it may be someone deciding to take you down a notch or several. It is not if, but when.

 

Emergency Social Media and You in Crisis

Many people must feel the 2015 holiday break could not have arrived soon enough what with terrorism, crazy weather and other events that get covered rightly or wrongly in social media. While these can be scary and confusing times, they can also be times to educate, learn and help one another to understand a new reality we are all living in now.

There are specific tactics and strategies for understanding how live events unfold in social media and these can be instructive to the general public about what you are seeing and when, during events like these past weeks that we have all experienced. Real life events almost always flow to the internet in a micro second. Knowing how to tell the difference between truth and fiction could be critical to saving your own life of that of your family in a real life emergency that is also happening on social media.

So below are general truths about live events that unfold in a digital realm and in real life.

General Truths:

  • In any emergency in the digital age, there are three things that happen. The first is the incident itself. The second is the round of rumors, untruths and outright lies that get spread at the speed of email, phones, sms and of course social media. The third is the round of truth, where all the earlier rumors, untruths and outright lies now have to be dispelled.
  • The fear factor is something we all face. Some deal with it better than others. This fear factor only gets enhanced by constant updates, notifications and of course, people checking social media non stop during emergencies/crisis/terrorist attacks.
  • Truth and Veracity in information sharing, whether in person, on the phone, through email and on social media are paramount in times like this. Do not be the one spreading false or unverified rumors. Do not be the one sharing non-verified *news*. These actions can cause panic, can cause a response from authorities in the wrong place and more importantly can add to the sense of fear that already exists in events like these.
  • As members of a community it is extra important for us to not be sharing false information, to be extra calm and careful with facts and to have vigilance with the news and information; and especially that our kids are getting access to. Help them. Make sure they are both understanding the facts, and not mis-truths; and that they are not responsible for sending or sharing false information.
  • Even the media can rush to judgement in a situation like this and often times reporters will start referencing tweets and other social media. Many times the sourced social media is not a verified source, so even the news media will get it wrong in these situations. So it is up to you to take the extra couple of minutes to *verify* information, especially any information being provided to your kids or others’ kids.
  • Just because you heard/saw/read something *DOES* not make it a fact, especially in a crisis situation. DO NOT JUST SHARE ANY RUMOR OR ANY STORY. CHECK. INVESTIGATE. THIS IS FOR THE SAFETY OF YOUR FAMILY AND THE COMMUNITY.
  • Be aware that your kids may be getting wrong information/scary information from the internet, from social media, from the chats in games and from their friends. Work with your kids to understand the importance of getting to the facts, and not sharing what could be dangerous information. Same is true for the adults in your lives. Social media during emergencies can make normally calm people get very nervous and then they spread that nervousness by posting wrong or misinformed information in their zeal to make themselves feel better about the situation,.
  • Be aware that not all technology will always work the way it should. Sometimes you may get called, sometimes you may not. Sometimes you may get an email, sometimes you may not. So build up a quick reference of social media accounts that you trust and are verified. Create a list of these, and keep it on your computer or device.
  • Be prepared. We have all hopefully created safety plans for our businesses, community groups and families in case of emergencies. Do the same for digital emergencies. Know where to look. How to find what you need. How to dispel rumors that can be dangerous. Create a digital emergency family plan, and teach it to your kids. Practice it before something happens so it is not something to worry about, but rather something that becomes instinctive and instructive.

I created an emergency social media list on twitter with accounts that are both trusted and real. I suggest you do the same and keep that list handy.

Make a list of your local real life emergency providers websites, twitter accounts and other social media tools. Use them to verify information and dispel rumors.

#cybersecurity The Gift everyone needs for the Holidays!

Happy Holidays.

It is, as is so commonly mentioned in the media: “That Time of Year Again.” Yup. Packages. Shiny New Things. Cool Toys for the Kids and kid-adults alike.

It is also the time of year of increased cyber crime attempts aimed at retailers.

Add also the time of year when more families and organizations introduce new varieties of malware, ad-malware, viruses, worms, bad bots and devices that phone “home” into our homes, workplaces and civic spaces.

How? Because many devices are coming pre-loaded with malware. How many parents look into the workings of a cheap tablet before handing it off to the kids? How many people are checking new apps to see the permissions being requested on those new devices and old ones too?

How many companies are not checking to see if their employee’s new devices are safe to be brought into the workplace, let alone to be allowed access to networks? 

Do you know what your connected devices are doing this holiday season? Perhaps it is not just calling the North Pole, but indeed calling “home” with your life information. This applies to talking teddy bears, connected fridges, Iot devices of every stripe, but not to mention your phone, tablet, smartwatch, car.

Reputation Control for Kids by Social Media, Search Results

In Digijaks daily course of business with reputation management we come across a lot of people (adults) who have seen their life get turned upside down because of something appearing in search results that negatively affect them. This happens so much, and so often it has created a whole industry to deal with it. Search results leading to problems to people happen for many reasons. I recently wrote about this problem on the Huffington Post as it relates to adults.

But this same correlation exists for kids, for families and the same problems may arise, but with lifelong implications. Imagine being an 11 year old who innocently posts a picture or a quote or a poem or a location, thinking nothing of it. Fast forward 6 years to college applications. You can be very sure college admissions officers are carefully looking at social media, at search engine results and other digital mediums to find reasons to say no. The same is true for private high schools; and employers, the military and many others.

We all need to work with our kids to help them understand the direct linkage between social media use and search results that can and will last a lifetime. This affects a lifetime of Reputation Management and Reputation Control efforts that need to start at a young age.

Basic steps:

  1. Have a family discussion, and make it more than one time; about the critical relationship between posts on social media, search results and your children’s future.
  2. Be constantly on the lookout for pictures, quotes, links to offensive material and other social media faux paus that might be innocent in nature but can lead to lifelong difficulties.
  3. Set up Google Alerts in your family’s name, your name, and your kids name. This will alert you when posts from social media land in search results, and also when other websites pick up that material.
  4. Set up a family social media plan that includes rules and guidelines for what your family feels is appropriate, ethical or morally ok to be posted onto the internet.
  5. Remember that nothing that gets posted on the Internet is only in one place. Once posted, it will be replicated on multiple servers, and therefore can keep coming back in search results even if the original post is taken down.

Reputation Control. Cybersecurity. Recent OPM Hacks and You.

Reputation. Is hard to get, hard to maintain, hard to control; especially in an era of hacking by governments and criminals alke.

Cybersecurity is something many people long put off as a back burner decision, or lower funded priority, but in actuality is a critical need, now at the forefront of many leaders’ thinking due to the sheer number and audacity of the hacks from 2013 forward. There is a distinct triangulation between reputation control and cyber security and search results. The more things get hacked, the more information flows onto websites, both for sale, and for free, and the more the search engines index these results. Digijaks’ CEO Alan W Silberberg has written about this triangulation before as it relates to cyber security and how we all need to look at the this inter-relationship, and it’s effects on all of us.

The recent OPM hacks were so huge, the numbers are simply staggering that it is hard to process for most people, especially “regular people” who feel this does not affect them or their friends or family.

But in addition to the 21+ million social security numbers that were stolen in the OPM hack, so were over 1.1 million sets of people’s fingerprints. People who serve the US Government in all sorts of capacities, some secret, some not. So in addition to the notion of identity theft through the means we have become unfortunately accustomed to, like credit, social security and personally identifiable information (PII) — we now have to contend with the theft of biometrics.

It means every citizen, whether they believe the OPM hacks relate to them or not, have to start taking on steps to protect themselves. When a nation state can combine vast databases of personal information with biometrics for some of those same people; it means that nation state, or proxies or vendors it sells to could become one of us through surreptitious methods. It means identity theft is potential on a massive scale, as is exploiting people through their information in security clearance documents or medical records.

It means the push to make encryption weaker or illegal should actually be reversed to become a push to make encryption a standard for citizens; and one that is supported by our Government ln light of attacks and theft of information from tens of millions of US Citizens. The US Government through the Congress should adopt stringent laws making it hard not to encrypt personal information.

It means, think about what information you put in the cloud. Think about what information you put in social media. What information you never put into digital form. It means think about carrying a second and or even third form of identity in case you are ever challenged with not being you.

Reputation Control and Reputation Management
Cyber Security, Social Media, You.

Correlation of Wealth and Reputation Management

Wealth.

We all want it, work for it and strive for it throughout lives and careers.

Reputation.

We all have one. It us up to us to define it, scale it and defend it.

Which one is more valuable? Which one brings more of the other?

This is a two sided question. To some people, money is everything. To others, their reputation is everything, with money or without. While most people might reflexively think that money is more important, others will emphatically state that reputation management is paramount.

Some recent studies weigh in on the side of reputation. Reputation expert Michael Fertik recently weighed in on the issue in the UK’s Guardian Paper.

Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg feels that money and reputation are completely intertwined; and that this effectively goes along with the associated correlation between social media and reputation management.

Money and Reputation are intertwined in ways most of us can barely recognize yet. Pretty soon, if not already, major banks are/will be assessing their clients not just based on assets under control, but on social indicators, and online reputation.

How many times have people searched you during or before routine financial meetings? Have you thought about this yet? 2015 definitely marks the year in which most of us need to start recognizing the distinct correlation between money and reputation — whether online or offline.

Control Reputation and Search With Social Media

When it comes to reputation management and control, there are many techniques that can be employed, depending on the person, the brand, or the situation.

What works in a digital crisis environment does not always translate to a long term digital branded environment. The same is true in reverse.

An older article from 2013 examined this correlation and there has been a ton of blog posts and other material written about it, but still very few understand or practice this type of specific tactical methodology to achieve their long term strategic goals for search and or social media. Here is an example from my own search results.

Note in order: 1. Twitter 2. Linkedin 3. Huffington Post (As I am a blogger and have a byline) So what does this say about the correlation between social media, search and reputation management and control? It very clearly shows the relationship, and the importance of using your social media accounts strategically and tactically with regard to keyword use, placement, and brand labeling. It also shows that even with a fully optimized website like Digijaks and being an active blogger; the social media platforms take up the top chunks of search real estate. This is with taking a strategic approach. Especially with the constant changes in search engine algorithms. But what happens when you do the opposite? When you do not think about this correlation and how it affects your personal, corporate or government brand on a daily basis, you open yourself and brand to reputation crisis, to reputation smears or outright destruction.

Social Media is the first and most basic step one must take to protect one’s brand and reputation. It needs to be used carefully, proactively and with keywords, brand image and search results always in mind.

Individuals, Companies, Governments and Brands need to pay careful attention to the correlation between search, social media and reputation control and management. If it is left to the Internet, you will not be happy with the results. Take control of your reputation. Take control of your brand reputation management, and start with social media. There are many other steps. But start there. Digijaks offers boutique solutions for high impact individuals, brands and organizations to deal with the combination of cyber security, social media and reputation management and control. We see and hear all kinds of stories. Alan W. Silberberg, CEO of Digijaks

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