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Adam Vincent

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Don’t Be a Victim! Simple Tips for Operating Safely in an Interconnected World

The holidays are almost here!  With discounts expected at most retailers, it’s likely that Internet-enabled gadgets will be on the top of everyone’s wish and gift giving lists.

Cyber Squared wants to promote safe computing practices during the holidays and throughout the year, so we are providing a blog series containing in-depth strategies for operating your new devices safely. Each blog will tackle a different security-themed topic.

This year our holiday favorites will connect to the Internet in even faster ways than their predecessors; thus, providing a convenient way for cyber adversaries to acquire your sensitive information. Beyond exposing personal information to unknown adversaries, these devices can also serve as a gateway into your home network and quite possibly reach into your work network as well.

You must serve as the first line of defense.  To do so, you need to understand the vulnerabilities your gadgets expose.  It is possible to safely enjoy your new iPhones (other smart phones), Blackberries, iPads (other tablet devices), routers, computers, and TVs.  If you couple the vendor provided “out-of-box” security with the techniques from our blog series, your personal information and your devices will be much more secure – giving you a little peace of mind.

Here are a few of the topics we will cover in this series.  Consider this blog series our holiday gift to you, and check back regularly for additional topics.

iPhones (Smart Phones)

iPhone viruses are here, and becoming infected can be as simple as opening a malicious SMS message.  If your iPhone becomes infected with this virus, the malicious entity could obtain remote control over your phone.  This problem isn’t isolated to iPhones however, other smart phones, like an Android, are just as susceptible to the same kind of attack.  Your device can fall victim to viruses if your phone is not properly patched or secure.

iPad (Tablets)

iPads are increasing in popularity.  They are convenient, lightweight and portable, and boast a fast processor for accessing favorite programs or browsing the web without delay.  Be careful though!  These devices run on similar technology to your iPhones and Computers, and are susceptible to same kinds of attacks.  Browsing to a malicious website using “Safari” can infect your iPad the very same way it could if you browsed using your laptop.

Blackberry

Blackberries have the power to make a combination of work and life flow smoother and quicker.  Like other Smart Phones on the market, the business person’s phone is not immune to attacks from malicious actors.  Zeus is an example of a Trojan virus that targets Blackberry owners.  A recent variant of Zeus has been known to do harmful things to the device such as turning it on and off, blocking phone calls, and sending SMS messages to expensive phone numbers.

Computers

Who doesn’t love a new computer?  Whether it is for gaming, for work, watching a favorite show, or browsing your favorite sports site for news and scores, these new systems can’t be beat.  Most computers are coming packaged with 30 day free trials to AV companies, which is great, but that is only a first step toward making sure your computer is secure.  Almost daily a new Trojan or Worm propagates throughout the Internet causing harm to many unsuspecting victims, and each is more harmful than the previous.

New gadgets expose new vulnerabilities.  So, what are you going to do to protect yourself?  Never connect to the Internet?  Of course not…

Embrace new technology and maximize the value of your investment, but respect the risk of exposure by  remaining vigilant and adequately protecting yourself.

Stay tuned.  We’ll tell you how.

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More Stories By Adam Vincent

Adam is an internationally renowned information security expert and is currently the CEO and a founder at Cyber Squared Inc. He possesses over a decade of experience in programming, network security, penetration testing, cryptography design & cryptanalysis, identity and access control, and a detailed expertise in information security. The culmination of this knowledge has led to the company’s creation of ThreatConnect™, the first-of-its-kind threat intelligence platform. He currently serves as an advisor to multiple security-focused organizations and has provided consultation to numerous businesses ranging from start-ups to governments, Fortune 500 organizations, and top financial institutions. Adam holds an MS in computer science with graduate certifications in computer security and information assurance from George Washington University. Vincent lives in Arlington, VA with his wife, two children, and dog.