How to remain digitally safe while travelling

White-sandy-beaches-in-the-CaribbeanWith an abundance of digital accessories, tablets and smartphones at our fingertips, traveling the globe has never been as easy. Whether it be navigating your way around uncharted territory or staying in touch with loved ones at home, digital devices can relieve some of the burdens that travelling creates.

However, according to a by F-Secure, certain areas of technology require a little more attention to ensure your safety when you hit the road.

Banking.

While it may be costly, you must always rely upon your mobile network’s data plan while accessing your bank account on your travels. Using public computers and Wi-Fi can be risky and invite eavesdroppers and hackers where they’re not wanted. Banks may use secure connections, but why take the risk? If somebody gains access to your password, your travels could end up being a lot more costly than you had planned.

Public Wi-Fi and Internet cafes. 

As we travel, most of us are drawn into using free Wi-Fi spots to stay in touch with friends and family. However, be aware of the associated risks. Because of the fact these hotspots are public, someone could be spying on your online activity with the help of readily available spyware. Whilst the illusion of privacy is created through the use of your personal device, the fact remains that it is public. Internet cafes and Wi-Fi hotspots are recommended for browsing matter that does not pose any privacy risks, such as browsing the news.

Keeping your data safe. 

Maintain a backup at all times, especially before you set sail on your jollies. The data on your phone is potentially more valuable than the device itself therefore you could use a content synchronization device that allows you to share photos with family and friends while you are away, without needing to use large storage devices. You might also want to check out cloud storage, and share your content with anybody you like.

Buffer Hack: A Guide to Successful Crisis Management


Buffer-logoWith social media comes a whole new set of rules for your organisation’s crisis communications and crisis management. We’re often given opportunities to learn about social media crisis management through the highly visible fallout from the experiences of others. Buffer, the social sharing platform was hacked in October 2013. Although this wasn’t a positive experience for them, because of their successful crisis management strategy, things actually turned out ok in the end. So where did Buffer go right and what can we learn from them?

Communication is key

Buffer communicated with the media, their customers and their social audience from the get go. They successfully created a social buzz which was largely positive across their channels. Customers praised the company for their transparency and timely communications and voiced their support. Buffer reps were tweeting in response to each and every mention they received at the peak of their crisis. Staff were communicating across their blog, Twitter, Facebook and through the media, to ensure customers were fully informed. They weren’t scared to get ahead of the story, making sure that their customers heard the details of the situation from them, before they heard it from any other source.

Effective Team Management

Buffer managed their team, processes and partners effectively to reduce the impact of the interruption and they even reinforced their core values to customers while doing so. Genius. Teamwork was key. As the hack occurred on a Saturday afternoon, staff were not in the office so they worked from home, connecting with Google Hangouts. They worked together to manage Twitter, emails, and blogs post comments, keeping the user front of mind giving them real time updates and answering any questions. They expressed true concern, care and sincerity – and were completely human.

Continued Post-hack Communication

Buffer continued to be informative by providing their users with step-by-step information for reactivating their accounts. Once the situation was resolved, they heightened their security measures so as to protect the situation from happening again and they restated and reassured that they had taken the situation seriously by declaring that new security measures had been put into place. Most importantly, they welcomed feedback from users, making their crisis communications a two way process, the best way to learn and adapt.

Buffer focused on communicating efficiently throughout the crisis, keeping their users updated and reassured and, as a result, their users trust and feel connected to the brand in a more positive way than they did before the hacking occurred. Every organisation can learn from Buffer and the way they chose to handle this, potentially disastrous, crisis situation. A strong brand culture, team empowerment and an open and honest, two way communication process is essential.

Keep yourself secure online: download Strong Pass now

Use Google Chrome To Give Unrestricted Access To Your Passwords

12 Authomate Blog 12 - ImageThere have now been dozens of reports about a serious flaw in the security of Google’s Chrome browser, so we felt it was important to make you aware of this issue.  

Google Chrome allows anyone with access to a user’s computer see all their passwords stored for email, social media and other sites directly from the settings panel. And even more worrying, no password is needed to view them!

To see the passwords, all you have to do is click on the settings icon, choose ‘show advanced settings’ and then ‘manage saved passwords’ in the ‘passwords and forms’ section. A list of hidden passwords is then revealed, but clicking beside them reveals the actual text of the password free to copy or send via screenshot, compromising all of your accounts in one easy step.

Unfortunately, Google are aware of the weakness and have no plans to change this – a problem other browsers, like Firefox, once had, and fixed. So what can you do to avoid this major flaw in your internet security?

For one, maybe it’s time to change to a new browser.

Make sure you delete any saved passwords from your browser (you can access this through your browser settings in Chrome), don’t allow this saving function and regularly revisit to make sure you’re not compromised.

And protect yourself in future by using a secure password manager, like Strong Pass. If you would like to have the peace of mind that Strong Pass offers, download the app now and take your security into your own hands.

Our Predictions For Online Security in 2014

04 Authomate Blog 4 - ImageWith 2014 only around the corner and 2013 drawing to a close, we think now is the time to take your own security seriously. Here’s some of our predictions for online security in 2014:

1. Increase in two-factor authentication. More and more individuals are having their email, social media and other accounts compromised because of weak passwords and inadequate online security. In 2014, more businesses will be making two-factor authentication mandatory for your safety.

2. The move towards creating the ‘internet of things,’ requires the ‘security of everything’. Unfortunately, this means that the things in your life that have traditionally out of reach to criminals are now in reach. In 2014 you will need to be more resilient online and ask yourself: Could you tell if your information or accounts were compromised? We also need to think beyond our computing devices when asking this question and also think about our cars, gadgets, even our appliances.

3. People will be more active about protecting their private information. There have been countless privacy issues in the media in 2013 and there is a growing concern whether site provided privacy options actually provide any real security. People will look for new ways to protect themselves in 2014, sidestepping the standard provisions for something more robust.

2 Million Passwords Hacked: Only 22 Percent Were Strong

Password security analysis of the 2m compromised accounts, from SpiderLabs, a division of Trustwave.

Password security analysis of the 2m compromised accounts, from SpiderLabs, a division of Trustwave.

A massive Pony malware bonnet successfully stole 2 million passwords from users of popular online accounts like Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Twitter and LinkedIn.

This automated hack which has been going on for the past month was unearthed by web security firm Trustwave, the media is reporting. Abby Ross, a spokesperson for Trustwave went into more detail about the hack with Mashable: “Individual users had the malware installed on their machines and had their passwords stolen. Pony steals passwords that are stored on the infected users’ computers, as well as by capturing them when they are used to log into web services.”

It is widely believed a criminal cyber gang was responsible. Two of the website where passwords were stolen were popular Russian social networks, vk.com and odnoklassniki.ru, and the data cache that was uncovered was written in Russian.

There are numerous potential financial repercussions. If any of the passwords of the users are the same as the login details of online banking, store or credit card accounts then it gives a cyber gang access to peoples finances. Rather disturbingly, payroll service provider adp.com (Automatic Data Processing, Inc. – ADP) was number 9 on the list of top domains, which moves $1.4 trillion around in payroll and other transactions every year.

Equally shocking, if this random group of two million is indicative of the population as a whole, Trustwave uncovered a high percentage of poor quality passwords. Six percent were ranked as terrible, 28 percent merely bad, and 44 percent of medium strength. Only 22 percent (17% good and 5% excellent) could be classed as being strong.

Trustwave explained that, “In our analysis, passwords that use all four character types and are longer than 8 characters are considered “Excellent”, whereas passwords with four or less characters of only one type are considered “Terrible”. Unfortunately, there were more terrible passwords than excellent ones, more bad passwords than good.”

Facebook accounted for about 57% of the compromised accounts, followed by Yahoo (10%), Google (9%) and Twitter (3%). The geographic spread was worldwide, with no one country being targeted. The server which was found and taken over was located in the Netherlands, although it is believed that isn’t the country where the attack originated from.

All affected parties (both web companies and end users) have been contacted and password resets are taking place. Spokespersons for Facebook, Yahoo and others affected urge users to set strong passwords.

Attacks never stop coming. Protect yourself now, with Strong Pass.

Hack exposes 42m passwords – Worse part, they were kept in open

Cupid Media is an online dating site. Like many other such sites, young and old singles flock to it. Cupid Media operates over 30 niche dating websites based on ethnicity, religion and social preferences. In a recent hack, it exposed over 42 million passwords and other personal details. yeah, it happens. But wait, that is not the whole story. The worst part of the story is that Cupid Media had practically no security in place for protecting the privacy of its users. All User details, including passwords, usernames, and birthdays were kept in plain text. Yes! Plain text ! No encryption, Not even a simple hash. That is a shame.

Read more here.

The sad part is that no amount of creativity on your part in creating a strong password or using any password manager would have helped in this case. It is just a case of stupidity on the part of Cupid Media to have exposed all personal data of its users. It is a lesson for all of us. Whenever you sign-up for new sites, ask a lot of questions and find out what information is really needed by the site and how are they keeping that data. And once you are satisfied that the website is going to keep your data safe, user a reliable password manager (like Strong Pass) to manage your passwords and keep you protected online.

Strong Pass – How to get it?

Authomate Strong Pass is the easiest to use, login/password management service. One scan of the webpage, the user will be authenticated instantly. With Strong Pass, there is no need for you to remember any passwords. Your credentials are safe when you use Strong Pass.

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Follow these simple steps and you won’t have to worry about passwords or your online security again. 

On iPhone, open the app store and search for “Authomate” or “Strong Pass” and you will find the app as seen here. Once the app is installed and started, you will see a few screen giving you information on what the app can do for you. Swipe through these pages to get to the signup page as shown here. You can then signup by creating a new account. Authomate will send you a verification email to confirm the new account request. Follow instructions in email to verify the email address and complete account creation.  After your email is verified, download and install the browser extension for your laptop/PC. Now you are ready to use Strong Pass and experience the easiest to use password management serviceYou can also get the app from itunes app store on your PC/laptop.

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Get your Strong Pass App today for iPhone and never worry about passwords again.