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.

 

Cybersecurity Dilemna -A Conundrum-

 

co·nun·drum
kəˈnəndrəm/
noun
noun: conundrum; plural noun: conundrums

a confusing and difficult problem or question.
“one of the most difficult conundrums for the experts”

This is the conundrum of the digital age.

One one hand executives of a company will be the first to state they think their systems are secure, and if there are any problems they are small.

or

Maybe they think their information, data and business relationships are not important to hackers because, “too small”, “not on radar screen”, or “we have nothing worth taking.”

But both of these are clearly conundrums:

  • The first is pretty basic, if you think you are secure but have not brought in outsiders to test your systems and people and facilities, then how do you know?
  • The second is also pretty basic, if you think you have nothing to lose, then you might not take stringent security steps necessary, thus making your organization ever more vulnerable.

But- and this is actually more like a because — Organizations have to think and act pro-actively when it comes to cyber security and privacy. True for people too. If you think you have no cyber weaknesses than you do. If you think you have nothing to lose, than you do. If you think no one is interested in your organization because it is too small or not on the radar screen, than you are wrong, and they are.

Now is actually the time to assess your organization’s situation, and that of your people too. Do it now before you get hacked or breached. Because you will get hacked or breached. Be prepared. Don’t be caught behind a truck that just ran over your business and people.

My company Digijaks sees a lot of these types of issues with clients. Preventive medicine works, in healthcare and cyber security. Both need daily hygiene and maintenance and both also need updates, checkins and repair work too.

Reputation Cyber Security of IoT.

Ah, the Internet of Things.

Just the sound of it sends thrills, chills and huge question marks through both technologists and regular people alike.

Just think, you can already do the following:

  • Track your health.
  • Track your kids.
  • Track your home.
  • Talk to your fridge.
  • Talk to your car.
  • Have your fridge, oven, and tv connected to your smartphone, not to mention the video doorbell.

I could go on with this list. But why bother?

The Internet of Things, or IOT as it is called in the media, by analysts and techies alike is an amorphous concept and does not easily translate into everyday speak for the average person.

There are cybersecurity concerns with the overlapping inter-connectedness that are growing exponentially by the month; as more and more devices come on line, get connected to the Internet. Many if not most have little to zero security protocols built in.

There is no current “IOT cybersecurity standard” or anything close. As a result, the apps and tools that seemingly make your life so easy, are in most probability leaking, if not pouring personal information about you or your family onto the internet in ways you may or may not be aware of.

There are reputation control and reputation management issues arising from both the above mentioned inter-connectedness as well as from some basic common sense things that come from having devices connected to the Internet and talking to “home” or each other in ways that also reveal identity, location and other personal information. Some of these IOT apps and tools even tweet or post other social updates for you as reminders, alerts and other pushed out information into public or semi public arenas.

So ask yourself 5 Major IOT for Reputation Questions:

  1. Does everything have to be connected to everything and what happens with a point of failure or with multiple points?
  2. Even if you want to track your whole life, does it need tracking?
  3. Does the good of the device in your life outweigh the bad of the cybersecurity or reputation risks?
  4. Do your kids’ need this tracking on them and beyond knowing where they are, do you want your kids’ information in companies with weak or zero cybersecurity protections?
  5. Do you want your kids’ information broadcast out to the Internet because of auto update or bot tweeting something?

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.

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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