Every year, as Christmas draws nearer, many can be heard questioning the sanity of annual gifting madness. In the past, everything was better when the parents themselves were children and most were happy with a wooden car. Today’s children are far too spoiled anyway. But if you think the favorite toys of yesteryear (Magic Cube, He-Man, Furby, Tamagotchi) are the spawn of the devil, you’ll be amazed by the current toy trends. A survey of parents by the security software manufacturer McAfee found that 90 percent of children want networked toys. Hardly any parent, however, has IT security in mind, which is quite important with such digital technology finding a place in our children’s bedrooms.
A new report from UK anti-fraud organization Cifas shows identity theft at “epidemic levels”. From the present controversy over Net Neutrality to the openness of public Wi-Fi, personal information has seldom been more exposed. The Internet’s susceptibility to surveillance and cyber attacks compromises privacy, leading to concern in some quarters that it could ultimately erode public trust in our present way of life. Fortunately, most people believe tighter security standards and encryption are key reasons to be confident about the future. Virtual Private Network (VPN) software is a proven way for employers to ensure workers are secure and anonymous whenever they connect to the office over the public Internet. VPNs encrypt data passing between businesses and their employees, helping to shield company confidential information from fraudsters and other unwelcome onlookers.
People have become accustomed to using their mobile devices for the dual purposes of business and leisure. Yet, research shows when they travel they don’t really give the data on their devices a second thought. Instead they are much more likely to care about whether the hotel or apartment they are staying at has good Wi-Fi access. This reliance on public Wi-Fi on holiday risks exposing any sensitive business information on personal devices to hackers and snoopers. For this reason, it is best to always take your VPN technology with you on holiday to encrypt all Internet communications while away.
Cloud computing has been around now for about a decade. It offers companies the chance to lease computing resources and services on-demand over the Internet from cloud services providers. In this way, companies gain the freedom to quickly scale IT systems up and down in line with changing business circumstances as well as keep up with the latest technology advances. The cloud services model is also a lot more cost effective than equivalent in-house deployments. Yet, despite all of this, many organizations still hesitate to embrace cloud services citing remote access security concerns, especially when employees are connecting to cloud applications when on the road. To address such concerns, providers can offer their customers remote access out of the cloud or VPN as a service.
In recent years, the way we work has transformed. The rise of ever more powerful mobile devices has freed us from our desks. Our Internet-enabled smartphones and tablets allow us to remain constantly connected even while we are on the move. Sensing a business opportunity, carriers have responded by providing Wi-Fi hotspots for our convenience in public spaces everywhere – from coffee shops, restaurants, shopping malls, hotels and exhibition halls to trains, airports and even airplanes. Tempting as it may be to use them to reduce any idle time, public Wi-Fi hot spots are not without risks. There are over 100,000 unsecured public Wi-Fi hotspots around the world. Furthermore, employees often fail to follow best practices. It only takes one mistake for sensitive company data to be jeopardized. However, by deploying VPNs and following some simple guidelines it is possible for organizations to overcome these risks and ensure all employees are equipped to secure their mobile client connections.
Mobile banking apps are set to revolutionize how we bank. According to KPMG, the number of mobile banking users globally is forecast to double to 1.8 billion over the next four years. In the UK regulators have announced new rules to let customers access details of their entire finances through a single mobile phone app by 2018. In the US mobile banking industry, technology has yet to overcome fundamental trust issues but the idea is starting to take off among financial services consumers. The banks and financial institutions are working hard to make their mobile apps as secure as possible. User behavior meanwhile has some catching up to do. For example, connections to free and unsecured Wi-Fi are open and vulnerable to fraud. To reduce security risks, it’s a good idea to use a virtual private network (VPN). This is a tried and tested way to secure the connection and encrypt all data transferred between the mobile device and the bank.