Tag Archives: Twitter

Data Protection Strategies Important For MSPs

Protection of data is becoming one of the serious issues for MSPs. To provide maximum data protection to small and medium sized companies, service providers need to place security at top of the list. Due to new technologies, systems and devices, important data is vulnerable to serious threats. It is the need of the hour to create policies for the security of data to tackle such threats.

Inform Clients on Security Policies:
Many companies do not advertise managed security services, but it helps in providing information to clients for data protection policies. Select reliable source of publication for latest information. Check Twitter and LinkedIn to get an idea of latest trends. In case your clients are not well informed about your security policies, chances are they can find out from your competitors. As a result, clients will figure out how to get some IT solutions from your competitors.

Train Staff on Trending Security Threats:
New threats are coming into sight daily. To cope with such threats, companies need to educate their staff. Workers must have intimate information about Phishing scams, malicious mails, lateral attacks, and malware that start off through guest access.

Standardize IT Solutions:
To minimize the risk of data breaches, it is necessary to select only standardized technology solutions. A firm that is working with an enterprise-level PSA solutions can get maximum benefit by selecting standardized solutions. For example: access rules, liabilities, and planning for disaster recovery can be established by IT managers by selecting standardized apps. It has the ability to improve exposure, as well as response time whilst offering a medium to check performance level.

Avoid File Sharing Services?
Due to P2P technology, it is common to borrow applications and files. This feature gives way to data breaches. When file sharing services are used, it becomes difficult for users to avoid malicious code that get confidential information, as well as breach copyright ownership. Instead of avoiding such services, MSPs can demonstrate that they are following data protection policies to handle such situations:

– Inform clients what type of risks are linked with P2P and file sharing networks;
– Use firewall and perimeter network defense systems to block programs related to file sharing;
– Keep on observing the network to make certain that unofficial file sharing networks are not running;
– Have some restrictions where staff is permitted to save important data.

Plan for Patch Management:
Microsoft has fixed a particular date of each month for patch management. All recognized flaws are fixed at that particular date so that programs and operating systems work in a safe environment to give productive end results. In May 2015, about 46 vulnerabilities were noted* in Windows Server, Silverlight, SharePoint, Desktop Windows and Adobe’s Flash.

MSPs have thousands of software applications, and each of these software has gateways for intruders. In order to patch up such holes which lead towards data breaches, patch management technology is used to maintain security level. There are many companies that do not consider this tiresome process as important to execute each month. MSPs must have all-inclusive priority based strategies for patch management.

* – http://www.symantec.com/connect/blogs/microsoft-patch-tuesday-may-2015

Characteristics of Advanced Data Archiving Software

Data archiving is a specific process to transfer data to a storage device for future use. Unlike backups, data archives do not contain copies of actual data. Before selecting archiving software, there are many useful features to consider. Data archives are based on older, but important data that can be retained for compliance. Searchability is bare-bone feature that helps in providing useful solution for data archiving. To get significant search functionality, data archiving software have particular attributes:

In order to carry on searches, granularity plays an important role. It is an indispensable capability which is necessary to perform e-discovery process. As bulk of data is examined at this stage to get important information, software must have competence to carry on searches on following basis:

Data Sources: Through search, access end results from which file server, such as Microsoft SharePoint, financial apps
Data Type: Microsoft Office document, PDF, email and many other files
Important Data: Files such as social security numbers, bank account number and credit card numbers
Author of Document: Search by author of file

Storage Optimization
Another significant feature, other than granularity, is known as Storage Optimization. When this feature is selected, it helps in reducing the amount of data, as well as access data in seamless way. Storage Optimization feature gives benefits in form of reducing operating costs and capital. It helps in improving information governance, access to data for analysis and reporting and lower risk.

It seems absurd to find a lot of copies of same data in search results. To cope with this situation, deduplication engine (available in archiving software) is used that works all the way to avoid such situations. Through compliance, effective policies are developed for keeping data in archives for a specific time period. Archiving is best for certain type of data that is required to be backed up, but will not be accessed frequently.

Third most important feature of archiving software is flexibility to support maximum data platforms and popular applications. Some software offer facility to archive data from social networking sites like organization content on Twitter or Facebook.

Additionally, wide range of sources, writing capabilities and data targets should be handled properly for extraction. An organization cannot afford to follow limited tracks, such as tape archives, when unlimited and affordable archival alternatives are offered to them. Wide-ranging media is supported to extract archived data. Furthermore, extracted data can be written to DVD, tape, Blu-ray and many other mediums.

In a nutshell, best software for data archiving require more features, such as automation and compliance regulation to assist users in managing data. Once you confirm what type of data is important for future use and how long you need to store that data in the archives, organization can get maximum benefit from archiving software.

Call for Social Media Websites to Provide Data

The new head of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, has called for social media websites to work more closely with intelligence agencies to help reduce the threat of terrorist organisations.

The GCHQ is an intelligence and security organisation which aims to keep Britain safe.

Hannigan believes that the use of social media websites have become one of the primary methods of communication that terrorist organisations use in an attempt to avoid surveillance due to the reluctance of many social media companies to work with surveillance organisations.

Hannigan stated, “However much they [tech companies] may dislike it, they have become the command and control networks of choice for terrorists and criminals, who find their services as transformational as the rest of us. The challenge to governments and their intelligence agencies is huge – and it can only be met with greater co-operation from technology companies.”

Hannigan added, “GCHQ and its sister agencies, MI5 and the Secret Intelligence Service, cannot tackle these challenges at scale without greater support from the private sector, including the largest US technology companies which dominate the web.”

Jamie Bartlett who is the author of the book The Dark Net: Inside The Digital Underworld, believes that it is a very difficult issue to deal with due to the sophisticated methods that the organisations use to try and avoid censorship.

Bartlett stated, “It is incredibly difficult for them [intelligence agencies] and the police and indeed on the big internet service providers to actually get a handle on just how much propaganda, how much material is being produced and shared by Islamic State and other terrorist groups on these platforms.”

Bartlett added, “What we’ve seen with Islamic State and indeed every other terrorist group is quite a sophisticated way of avoiding censorship. Islamic State has been really very good at creating hundreds of different accounts on Twitter and Facebook and every time they’re closed down, they simply start again.”

There will always be a problem with just how much information people and service providers believe is a suitable amount to provide intelligence and security organisations.

It is therefore very important that whatever information you provide to a social media website, that you are happy and understand that it may find its way to an intelligence and security organisation.

Do you think that social media websites should be made to work more closely with intelligence and security organisations?

Apple Withdraw iOS8 Update

Apple has been forced to withdraw an update for the iOS8 operating system for iPhones and iPads as it has ended up causing iPhone and iPads users a number of unexpected problems.

The update was meant to fix some bugs within the operating system which have been reported by iPhone and iPads users.

It has been reported that some users who have downloaded and applied the latest update suddenly started to have problems to make phone calls and use the fingerprint feature to unlock their phone.

On the plus side for those who have yet to upgrade their iPhone to the iPhone 6, it seems as though they are less likely to suffer any of the difficulties than those who have applied the update onto their iPhone 6.

A spokeswoman for Apple has confirmed that they are currently investigating the issues that have been reported and that in the meantime, they have decided to withdraw the update.

The spokeswoman stated, “We have received reports of an issue with the iOS 8.0.1 update. We are actively investigating these reports and will provide information as quickly as we can. In the meantime, we have pulled back the iOS 8.0.1 update.”

Affected users have already taken to social media website Twitter to express their irritation at the problems caused by the iOS update and to warn others not to download and apply it.

Such tweets included one user stating, “Not happy with my phone not working as a phone now. DO NOT UPDATE TO iOS 8.01” whilst another user stated, “Do not upgrade to iOS 8.0.1! Touch ID stops working but worse yet, you can’t connect to your wireless service.”

Before applying any updates, it is always good to test it first to ensure that it isn’t going to cause you unexpected problems or to wait a few days to see if anyone has experienced any issues.

It is also important to ensure that you have a successful backup of your data before applying any updates to give you the flexibility of rolling back before the update if any unexpected issues are encountered.

Have you applied the latest iOS8 update? Have you experienced any unexpected issues?

Twitter Offer Bug Bounty Rewards

Twitter has become the latest company to offer computer experts financial rewards for discovering a vulnerability in their security systems. This is known as a bug bounty.

Twitter has confirmed that there is a minimum reward of $140 (£85) available but that no limit has been set on the maximum reward that is available.

Twitter released a statement confirming the bug bounty. The statement read, “There is no maximum reward. Reward amounts may vary depending upon the severity of the vulnerability reported. Twitter will determine in its discretion whether a reward should be granted and the amount of the reward.”

Twitter concluded, “This is not a contest or competition. Rewards may be provided on an ongoing basis so long as this program is active.”

The bug bounty actually started in June through a company called HackerOne but there were no financial rewards available. This was reflected in the uptake as only 44 bugs were reported but this is now expected to increase.

In order to be considered for financial rewards, the person reporting the vulnerability must be the first to have reported it and not disclose the vulnerability until it has been resolved.

Twitter is not the first company to set up a bug bounty which has been successfully utilised by other market leading companies such as Microsoft and Google. A bug bounty helps companies reduce the number of security flaws they have and can also prove very profitable for individuals who discover any security flaws.

One example of this occurred when a security expert earned $100,000 from Microsoft during their bounty program.

NSA to Recruit via Twitter

The National Security Agency (NSA) has taken the unusual step of looking to recruit new employees through Twitter.

On Monday 5th May, the NSA released a tweet on its ‘@NSACareers’ account which appeared to be random letters and spaces. The tweet was ended with the following hashtags: #MissionMonday #NSA #News.

At first, Twitter users believed that the account had been hacked or that it was an NSA employee playing a trick on everyone. However, it soon became a realisation that it was actually a legitimate tweet and the start of a recruitment process.

Marci Green Miller who is a spokeswoman for the NSA confirmed that it was a legitimate tweet.

Marci Green Miller told the Daily Dot, “The NSA is known as the code makers and code breakers. As part of our recruitment efforts to attract the best and the brightest, we will post mission related coded Tweets on Mondays in the month of May.”

It didn’t take long for the code breakers to work their magic as the code was deciphered in a matter of minutes. The deciphered code read, “Want to know what it takes to work at NSA? Check back each Monday in May as we explore career essentials to protect our nation.”

It is expected that the codes will become more complex each week with its aim to whittle down the number of candidates to leave only those that may be of interest to the NSA recruiters.

This isn’t the first instance where intelligence agencies have used usual methods to recruit new members of staff. Britain’s intelligence services have placed cryptic adverts in newspapers and last year, MI5 advertised for a health and safety officer but didn’t actually provide any details about the job.

This method of recruitment that the NSA has undertaken is unusual but may pay dividends as it may unearth some code breakers who are completely unknown to them or those who would have never dreamt of working for the NSA.


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