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.

 

#panamapapers + Reputation Control + Cyber Security

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

The Panama Papers as released this past week are a really huge data dump, in fact one much larger in scale than that of Wikileaks, and the largest to date in history.

The project that resulted in this massive public disclosure, was essentially a cyber security lapse leading to a breach.  Following the breach, data exfiltration was executed through leveraging a long known critical failure in the operating system and email servers that were used by the law firm, Mossack Fonseca.

Not only are the Panama Papers a stunning example of a hack that resulted in massive  data exfiltration; thus consequently leading to a global reputation breach. But they are also representative of a slow to change cyber security environment in law firms, corporations and organizations globally.

Drupal, a widely used language for databases and other programs has been constantly been providing critical updates since it’s inception. Users of Drupal have to make the choice to keep their systems up to date, or as in this case, not.

The utter lack of cyber security protocols like updating a server, or dealing with over 25 issued critical updates to the operating system/servers bring to mind other major hacks like the Target Corporation hack where 60,000 alerts were ignored by corporate IT staff. This is the opposite of what cyber security protocols would dictate.

Law firm IT staff need to be amongst the first to adopt these basics; but often times are not, and many international law firms have mediocre to poor network security. In that area, the Panama Papers could be any law firm, anywhere. The reputation loss suffered by the cyber security lapse and breach could be any law firm’s clients, anywhere.

Digijaks has been working with clients for years to address the undeniable link between cyber security and reputation control. The Panama Papers simply serve as one more reason why these issues are so connected and so important to both people and organizations.

 

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.

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. Who Controls Your Cyber Reputation?

Every day we hear of more stories of people’s Reputation getting smashed instantly online. On a personal level it just plain sucks, and causes mounds of heartache, headache, paperwork, and costs. To a business or a brand, there are risk mitigation and compliance issues, trademark defense costs, and reputations getting taken down, despite having been built up over years or decades.

It could be any trigger. Even, a mistaken identity or you share the same name as someone who gets in trouble.

Or it could be malicious from criminals, or cyber hackers looking to steal your identity, or file false tax returns to claim fake refunds, or to make it appear you were the one who did something when in reality it was someone pretending to be you.

The problem is multifaceted in that it can come from almost any angle, and happen at any time relatively instantly thanks to the linkages that exist between content, social media and search. Digijaks’ CEO 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.

It is extremely important to understand that your real life – offline, not digital experiences now can and will be instantly transmitted by others, with or without your knowledge and with or without your consent.The little every day things, from getting coffee to getting dressed, to private conversations between two people are suddenly potential fodder for instant intent smearing, reputation trashing and persistent online harassment. Just because someone else had a smartphone on.

This is without writing harsh or bad emails, or saying inappropriate things, or doing illegal or immoral things. The above is just for the regular people who now find themselves in the daily potential trap of someone else deciding to make an internet mockery of them. Just Because. But then, there are the people who are out there willingly doing things to disrupt their families, their businesses, and themselves. There is an entire group of people doing these things every day, hoping no one will post their baggage online and trash them. Some even think it can never happen to them. They are above recrimination or above being outed for whatever proclivities they engage in.

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. Those from people who are completely innocent and just get caught up in something a bad person did. Those from people who admit to making mistakes and now are working to try to fix the damage or prevent it from happening. Then there are those who just think things will never catch up to them. But they do.

The reality is, the ability to trash reputations, for others to *control your reputation* is all too real. Whether you like it or not.

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

#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.

Cybersecurity: Now the Crossover from Cyber to Real Life

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

Cybersecurity used to be be the geek’s eagle’s nest. it was hard to understand, hard to get to, hard to see the impact and need often times. If there was a CIO or CISO, he/she would not be in the board room too often, and usually the budgets were the first to go in any budget change environment. But the cycle switched. Now we are in the opposite cycle. The CIO and CISO are ruling the roost and commanding serious budgets and attention. But being missed in all the excitement is this:

The Crossover from pure cyber crime to real world crime from the same instance.

It is safe to say, times have changed. Now – Cybersecurity has become a word known in almost any home where there is digital connectivity. Time and time again, we are offered proof that cybersecurity now encompasses reputation management; active control of search and social media as well as the traditional hardening of data access points, transport points, and login authorities. Cybersecurity itself has become such a buzzword that it threatens to create a numbness for people hearing it and responding to it.

Recently Digijaks has worked with multiple clients who have faced the crossover from Cyber Security to Real Life Security. It is our recent experience that shows us that law enforcement is *mostly* unprepared for cyber crossover attacks and does not yet have the substantial depth of understanding of the relationship between social media, cyber security and real life people.

The connections are impossible to overlook. What starts as a cyber threat, like impersonation of another; brand or trademark attacks, social media memes and fake social media sock puppet accounts — can now easily and does easily cross over into real world crimes.

The real world crimes escalate too, often in parallel with online escalation. In our recent experience in dealing with the crossover, most law enforcement agencies of *all levels* are simply not prepared to cope with this reality, and have few to zero people in place who are trained investigators and can assist the public, or corporations or utilities or governments with cyber cross overs.

Digijaks CEO Alan W. Silberberg is advising both the company’s clients and law enforcement agencies to take these “cyber cross over” events seriously. There is growing evidence amounting that shows that real world crimes are becoming easier in some ways and can be facilitated through initial cyber intrusions, whether phishing, trolling or direct digital attacks.

This is leading people who were previously *only* cyber criminals or terrorists to become real world ones too, often at little to no monetary cost. We see this a true emerging threat, as yet mostly being unaddressed either at the Federal or State levels, and a threat that is most acutely faced in local communities who very definitely are not prepared.

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