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Brinks Home Security teaming with Mission 500 for annual 5K

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Brinks Home Security is teaming with Mission 500 for the company’s fourth annual Brinks Home Security 5K on Saturday, Oct.19, 2019, in Farmers Branch, Texas. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit children attending Farmers Branch Elementary, Habitat for Humanity Dallas, and children living in poverty across the United States.

Last year’s Brinks Home Security 5K raised more than $52,000 and benefitted children at Farmers Branch Elementary, in addition to helping families displaced by the Northern California fires, and students attending a Title One School in Boynton Beach, FL. In addition, Brinks was named the Primary Sponsor of the Lighthouse Program, which benefits Title One Schools in Houston, Texas.

In speaking with Brinks Home Security President and Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Gardner, for my article on Mission 500 earlier this year, he told me that he first heard of Mission 500 at ISC West when he participated in the Security 5K/2K and became inspired by what the organization was doing to help children and families in need.

“When I heard about Mission 500, and what George Fletcher and others there were trying to do to unite the industry around a single effort, I decided to get really involved as the CEO of one of the national security players,” Gardner told SSN. “I wanted to do something similar, in addition to the Security 5K and to really try to assist George and Mission 500. Helping families and children in need is something that has always been important to me. So starting a Brinks Home Security 5K was something that we needed to do and that we have really benefitted from as a company."

Tom Nolan, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Mission 500, said that Brinks Home Security continues to step up to plate in support of Mission 500.

 “Our ability to help children and families in need would not be possible without annual events such as the Brinks Home Security 5K,” Nolan said. “Proceeds from this event have made a positive difference in many lives, and we are proud to work with Brinks Home Security again this year.”

The race is open to people of all ages. Participants can register now and see more information here. Registration is only $30 until Sept. 29, then $35 afterward. Cash prizes and trophies are planned for the top finishers in several categories.

Mission 500, a nonprofit charitable organization that works closely with the security industry to serve the needs of children and communities in crisis, is once again partnering with Brinks Home Security for this year’s event. Corporate sponsorships are available at the Platinum, Gold and Silver levels, and in-kind sponsorships (product donations) are also encouraged. Sponsor benefits include a table at the event, company logo on event marketing materials, verbal recognition, and the opportunity to increase the sponsor’s profile within the local community.

For more information on Mission 500 or on how to become involved in supporting Mission 500, contact Tom Nolan at [email protected], or call 631.219.8728.
 

Maureen Carlo named 2019 recipient of the SIA Progress Award

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The first thought that popped into my head when hearing about Maureen Carlo, director of strategic alliances – North America at BCDVideo, named as the recipient of this year’s SIA Progress Award: “It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving, humble and truly amazing individual.” 

Carlo and I met my first year in the industry – back in 2010-ish. After an encounter on Twitter and several tweets later, we became fast social media pals. Then, serendipitously, at my second ISC West in a rather obscure hallway, off the beaten path of the show, we found ourselves walking toward each other. Carlo recognized me and said, “Ginger?” And, I literally screamed, “Maureen!” as we gave each other a hug, having met for the first time in person. Since that moment, I have proudly called her my friend. (See how social media can bring people together?) 

It is truly an honor to be writing about Carlo, an industry veteran whose 15-year tenure includes roles at BCDVideo, Videotec Security, NeuEon, Venture Communications & Security and Wells Communication. Through her work in the industry and her seemingly magical way of building strong relationships with others, Carlo has developed an international reputation as a strategic electronic security and integrated systems leader. 

Carlo is dedicated to the advancement of SIA’s mission and serves as committee co-chair of the SIA Women in Security Forum, in which I, too, am a member. (I was so honored when Carlo presented me a membership pin and bag at ISC West at the Women in Security Forum’s breakfast!) Her passion for diversity and inclusivity in the security industry is inspiring, as she helps guide SIA’s efforts in engaging security professionals to promote, recruit and cultivate the leadership of women. 

“Joining SIA offered me the opportunity to connect with the most prestigious leaders in our industry, and together we have created a movement with the Women in Security Forum that is engaging and influencing our integrated security world through diversity and inclusivity,” Carlo said in the announcement. “I am inspired by this award and awed by the honor of receiving the 2019 SIA Progress Award. When we are dedicated to championing others and recognize values, vulnerability, courage and grit as part of the process, our partnerships and participation grow – the effects are force multipliers in bettering our workforce and advancing the next generation of our converged physical and cybersecurity industry.” 

Recent activities in which she helped organize and present lively networking and professional growth include a breakfast at ISC West 2019 and happy hour at GSX 2019; moderator of the ISC West session, “Being a Woman Business Owner in the Security Industry is an Advantage, Not a Disadvantage,” and panelist in the ISC East session, “Strategies for Successful Leadership in the Security Industry.” 

“SIA is thrilled to present the 2019 SIA Progress Award to Maureen Carlo in recognition of her strong dedication to furthering the growth of women in the security industry,” Don Erickson, CEO, SIA said. “Her enthusiastic efforts to elevate women in security through outreach, engagement and leadership have helped to grow the forum and shed light on challenges women face in the industry.” 

SIA’s Progress Award recognizes SIA members who have shown excellence in their advancement of opportunities and success for women in the security industry. Recipients are determined based on their contributions to fostering women in the industry, promotion of women’s professional growth though mentorship and/or sponsorship, recognitions and awards for activities and demonstration of the highest levels of professionalism and integrity in the industry. 

SIA will present Carlo with her award during SIA Honors Night, November 20, in New York City.

 

Andrew Lanning wins Jay Hauhn award

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

I was very excited to hear the news that Andrew Lanning, co-founder of Integrated Security Technologies, has been selected by the Security Industry Association (SIA) as the 2019 recipient of the Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award, an annual distinction recognizing leadership in security industry collaboration.

As a personal note, I am not surprised at all as Andrew is everything that is right about the security industry. I have seen in just my 3-plus years in the industry how much he gives back to make this industry better and to raise the profession of security professional to greater heights. I am looking forward to celebrating with him and others when Andrew is recognized at SIA Honors Night Nov. 20 in New York City.

Congrats Andrew!

In addition to working tirelessly to help integrators within PSA, Lanning serves as a member of SIA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Board, which guides SIA members ahead of potential cybersecurity issue related to physical security measures. He also holds a board of directors position with — and serves as the defense industrial base sector chief for — the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s InfraGard Hawaii Members Alliance.

“Andrew Lanning has consistently advocated for industry collaboration, including between SIA’s manufacturer members and PSA Security Network, best seen through his vocal support for joint programming like Cyber:Secured Forum,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement. “SIA applauds Andrew’s leadership in fostering industry partnerships and looks forward to presenting him with this prestigious, well-deserved award at SIA Honors Night.”

Lanning also serves as a defense industrial base representative on the PSA Security Network’s Cyber Security Committee, participates in the UL Cybersecurity Standards Technical Panel for Software Cybersecurity for Networking-Connectible Products, previously served on the board of directors of the Hawaii Information, Communication and Technology Association and is a member of the Rotary Club of Hickam Pearl Harbor. He is an active member of the Federal Law Enforcement Foundation and the host of Security Matters: Hawaii, a community-based webcast.

“I would like to accept this award and thank SIA, PSA and especially both organizations’ cybersecurity committee members, past and present, for continuing to drive our vision of the electronic security industry as a reliable cybersecurity supply chain partner to our country’s critical infrastructure operators, government agencies and the U.S. Department of Defense,” said Lanning.

Lanning has encouraged organizations such as InfraGard to participate in SIA’s cybersecurity education offerings and served as an active member of the SIA and Electronic Security Association task force that successfully recommended a joint strategy to help members identify, recruit and retain qualified employees for a variety of professional roles within manufacturer and integrator businesses.

The Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award is named in honor of security industry veteran Jay Hauhn. During his tenure as SIA’s chairman of the board, Hauhn demonstrated a steadfast commitment to fostering cooperation among industry trade associations, and this award recognizes a leader who embodies that spirit of collaboration in the industry.

SIA Honors Night — held each year concurrently with ISC East, the Northeast’s largest security trade show — features a gala dinner reception, an awards ceremony recognizing industry leaders and engaging entertainment. Along with presenting the Hauhn Award, SIA will also honor industry leaders at the 2019 Honors Night with the George R. Lippert Memorial Award, the SIA Insightful Practitioner Award and the SIA Progress Award sponsored by SIA’s Women in Security Forum.
 

Security Systems News recognized as a 2019 NCSAM Champion Organization

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

As the saying goes, “it takes a village,” and nothing is farther from the truth when confronting cybersecurity. It will literally take everyone working together to combat cyber risks and threats. As more and more organizations take the necessary steps to become and stay cyber safe, these same and other organizations are reaching out and showing their support of various campaigns centered around cyber. 

And, now an important announcement … drum roll please!

As of this blog post, Security Systems News is proud to be the only security industry publication recognized as a 2019 Champion Organization of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) co-led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the Cybersecurity and infrastructure Agency (CISA) of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. 

In just five days, October will be here, the month of ghouls and goblins, candy and trick-or-treating, and perhaps most importantly, NCSAM, a collaborative effort among businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities, associations, nonprofit organizations and individuals to be committed to this year’s NCSAM overarching team of “Own It. Secure It. Protect It.” This theme serves as encouragement to everyone to #BeCyberSmart through personal accountability and proactive behavior in security best practices and digital privacy.

“Cybersecurity is important to the success of all businesses and organizations,” Kelvin Coleman, executive director, NCSA, said. “NCSA is proud to have such a strong and active community helping to encourage proactive behavior and prioritize cybersecurity in their organizations.” 

So, what does this amazing news mean for you, our amazing readers? Well, throughout the month of October, we will provide you with the latest and greatest tips, discussion topics, free resources, videos, quizzes and more to ensure you are cybersafe!  

To gain access to these must-have tools, be sure to: 

  1. Follow SSN Managing Editor, Ginger Hill, on Twitter @SSN_Ginger; 
  2. If you miss any tweets, search on Twitter using #SSNTalks to see all our previous tweets.
  3. Follow SSN/SecurityNext on LinkedIn; and 
  4. Follow SSN on Facebook

When you see our posts on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, be sure to comment, using #SSNTalks and #BeCyberSmart, like and share! We will respond to all comments! 

Everyone here at SSN is super excited to be a 2019 NCSAM Champion and to join in the fight for cybersecurity!

The debate continues: do video doorbells invade privacy?

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

As a security journalist, I hate to admit that I’m a bit torn on the whole privacy vs. security of video doorbells and whether it’s unethical or not. I mean, I should take a stand, right? Either I support video doorbells or I don’t but, I really do see both sides of this hot debate. 

Here’s an example: My mom lives alone and is a very spry 73-year-old who is quite capable of looking through the peephole of her door to see who’s knocking on it. However, should someone cover her peephole, having a video doorbell, enabling her to see exactly who is at her door before she opens it, and record them, especially if they plan on causing some type of harm, I see is a must. 

But at the same time, let’s say a Girl Scout or Boy Scout rang my mom’s doorbell to sell cookies or popcorn. In my opinion, recording them, or any child for that matter, is very unethical and a huge invasion of privacy, unless, of course, the parents know and give permission. 

To my knowledge there isn’t a video doorbell (yet) that can – with 100 percent accuracy – distinguish between adults who intend to do harmful acts and children. At this point, it just seems video doorbells are an all-or-nothing device that are causing some major disruption.  

A recent ABC news story highlighted attorney, David Barnett, who specializes in privacy law. Barnett suggested letting people know they are under surveillance if using a video doorbell, and take into consideration that these cameras are aimed at property, with the expectation that places such as backyards, windows and bathrooms are private. But, even if the camera is aimed at the front of a home and let’s say children are outside playing in the camera’s recording range, recording them is wrong and what if that camera got hacked? Hackers would then be able to see those children. 

There are also the terms of service of the video doorbell manufacturers that puts a lot of the responsibility on the person installing the device. Ring’s, for example, says, “Privacy and other laws applicable in your jurisdiction may impose certain responsibilities on you and your use of the Products and Services. You agree that it is your responsibility, and not the responsibility of Ring, to ensure that you comply with any applicable laws …” (I’m quite sure people aren’t allowed to point cameras at public streets or into their neighbor’s yards, for example, which if done, can lead to privacy invasion, but where is the responsibility of the manufacturers of these products?)

Then, of course, there’s apps being connected to these video doorbells. Not to pick on Ring, but its new app, Neighbors – where most posts are captured videos – could expose people to a whole new level of privacy invasion, taking the old-school “nosey neighbor” to the extreme. Again, in Ring’s terms of service, it says: “You are solely responsible for all Content that you upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise disseminate using, or in connection with, the Products or Services …” And, again, I ask, shouldn’t the manufacturers of video doorbells take on at least some of the responsibility?

Overall, this topic is a tough one, filled with “ifs, ands and buts,” amazing use cases where lives were saved and the possibility of privacy invasion. This makes me want to subscribe to the old-school method of using the peephole, and if it’s covered, asking “who’s there,” and if there’s no answer, not answering the door. 

What are your thoughts on video doorbells and privacy? Let’s talk about it on Twitter @SSN_Ginger or email me directly at [email protected]

Mission 500 Security Softball Game raises more than $40k

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

It probably wasn’t the best idea for me — physically speaking, that is — to try and play 7 innings (no snickering!) of softball this past Sunday in support of the Mission 500 Security Softball Game, held on a beautiful day in Overpeck Park, New Jersey.


That realization was driven home (no pun intended) late in the game when I had to score all the way from first base, which is tougher than it sounds (again, no snickering). As I high-fived my teammates and gasped for air entering the dugout, I promised that if I survived I would write about how rewarding it was to help support such a great organization as Mission 500, which organized another successful charity event to help families and children in need.

All told, more than $41,000 was raised and 400 children living in severe poverty in the South Bronx received backpacks filled with school supplies. The backpacks were assembled over the course of the day, with the opportunity to include a note of encouragement and inspiration to the children who would be receiving these backpacks. One of the things I wrote, “don’t be afraid to dream big,” for me speaks to the goal of Mission 500 — to help level the playing field for those who are less fortunate.
 
The day before, security industry executives also volunteered with Habitat for Humanity Paterson, framing walls and pouring concrete for two families in need as part of a community build project.

In addition, $2,500 was donated to the New York Firefighters Burn Center Foundation Children’s Camp, a non-for-profit dedicated to the advancement of burn care, research, prevention, education, and the proper treatment of burns. This organization sends burn victims under the age of 18 to a camp where they can come together and put their scars aside, while having fun at summer camp. Mission 500said it is “proud to support the camp for a third year in a row.”

Tom Nolan, Mission 500’s Director Strategic Partnerships, told me during the day that he was “very pleased” with the turnout for the Habitat for Humanity build and the charity softball game, and was excited about the number of people already committed to participating in the Mission 500 Service Trip to Puerto Rico, Oct. 9-13.

Security industry professionals looking to support Mission 500 can help by joining or making a donation towards this year’s service trip to Puerto Rico, volunteering to help with the Security 5K/2K at ISC West 2020, participating in a teambuilding event with their colleagues or customers, or by making financial donations.

At the charity softball game this past Sunday, American Security was the sponsor that raised the most funds, and was joined by the following sponsors for the event: Alarm Shield, Altronix, American Security, Anixter, Assa Abloy, Axis Communications, Beacon Protection, Criticom Monitoring Services, Dahua USA, DMP, ESA New Jersey Chapter, Hikvision USA, ISC Events, Ken Gould Consulting, Lensec, LRG Marketing, M2M Services, Napco StarLink, NYFAA, Rapid Response, ScanSource, Security Sales & Integration, Security Systems News, Security Today and Statewide Monitoring.

It was great to support and be a part of such a great day of giving back and having some fun. Not to gloat, but my team, the Protection Pirates, won 21-16, over the Security Sluggers, in a hard-fought game that ended in hand shakes and smiles, and personally speaking, a few scrapes, bruises and sore muscles.

Hope to see you all on the field next year! Click here for more on Mission 500.

ADT continues its growth spurt

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

There’s been a lot of activity with ADT Commerical lately and it looks like the commercial side of business continues to grow organically and through acquisition. ADT Commerical recently acquired Design Systems Group and purchased Systems Group and Fusion Fire Protection to further broaden its commercial presence. In fact, ADT's commerial side of the business now accounts for nearly $1 billion in revenue.

Here’s a little bit about each of the acquired companies and what each company’s president has to say about the acquisition.

Systems Group is headquartered in Denver and provides commercial fire alarm detection, installation, inspection and maintenance services in Colorado. It was founded in 2004 and specializes in installation and service of integrated fire alarm, fire sprinkler, distributed antenna systems (DAS) and mass notification systems. 

“The team here at Systems Group has built a company admired and respected by the industry and customers alike,” John Ballman, Systems Group president said in the announcement. “Becoming a part of the ADT Commercial organization takes us to a higher level, both in terms of delivering for clients, and further achieving professional status for our employees.”

Fusion Fire Protection is headquartered in Hanover, Md. and serves the fire sprinkler systems needs of customers in Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia. Established in 2015, in its short run, the company has earned the respect and loyalty of commercial customers. 

“Aligning with ADT Commercial reinforces our customer-centric commitment by strengthening and expanding our ability to deliver the most advanced technologies while still maintaining our agility and responsiveness,” Joe Roberts, Fusion Fire partner and president, said. 

Both companies are staffed by NICET-certified professionals enabling them to assist customers with design, project management, system installation, and testing, service and maintenance. 

“Systems Group in Denver and Fusion Fire Protection in Maryland represent the very best of the best in the fire alarm, fire sprinkler, and life safety arena, and illustrate our consistent dedication to best serve the needs of our mid-market, national and large-scale commercial customers,” Dan Bresingham, executive vice president, ADT Commercial, expressed.

Existing customers of both Systems Groups and Fusion Fire Protection will continue to work with the same people they know and trust to manage their accounts, now with ADT Commercial’s added resources and reach. 

“The addition of these tenured, well-trained professional teams furthers our aim of offering an advanced suite of end-to-end solutions for security, life safety and fire,” Michael McWilliams, senior vice president field operations, ADT Commercial said. “Backed by the strength of a nationally recognized organization, these teams will be empowered by local leadership, and will continue to provide the level of service expected by their customers.”  

I wonder what ADT’s next move will be? Rest assured that you will be the first to know as I keep my eyes and ears open and on the pulse of this company.

 

From the mouth of a director of safety and security at a U.S. school district

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Wednesday, September 11, 2019

I just completed an article about perimeter school security, “The undogging debacle: perimeter security in a school environment,” in which I had the opportunity to speak with a director of safety and security for a school district, who also has a 14-year background at the local police department, most recently of which was supervisor for the School Resource Officer Unit. He told me something that really opened my eyes and I think that all security professionals involved in the school security niche need to hear. 

Here’s the question I asked: “If you could pick only one security measure that all school environments must have, what would that be and why?” 

The response: “If you limit me to just one security measure, I would have to say it would be hiring the right people, and training them properly in school safety and security,” Mike Johnson, director of safety and security at Rock Hill Schools, said.  

Read that again … limited to ONE security measure, he relies on people, but not just any people, though, trained people, not equipment or services. 

“The people we have in critical places, from administrators and teachers to support staff, are the biggest asset and the strongest point of any safety and security program,” Johnson continued. “Without quality people who are versed in safety and security, we would have nothing.”

Of course, without equipment or services, school security would be impossible in our modern day of school shootings, cyber-attacks, physical breaches, etc.; however, the key to it all is training. Equipment and service users, the people, must be properly trained to use the equipment and services to effectively and efficiently achieve their security goals. Any school could have the latest and greatest security equipment and services deployed, but if it’s not being used properly or even at all, then, really, what’s the point? 

“All the best products in the world are worthless if you don’t have the right people, who are properly trained, using them,” Johnson said. 

So, security professionals, I ask you, “Who is responsible for this training?” I would hope that every security professional, whether an integrator, consultant, sales person, manufacturer, etc., answered with, “I am responsible.” 

I would love to hear your feedback! Please comment here, over on Twitter @SSN_Ginger or email me directly

 

Global smart home market still growing

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The global smart home market is forecast to grow by nearly a factor of five to reach more than $192 billion in 2023, up from $41 billion In 2018, according to the latest Smart Home Device Database from IHS Markit.

The research firm noted that the United States led all countries in 2018, representing about 35 percent of global market revenue. China was second, accounting for an 18 percent share.


The fastest-growing device types in the market include lighting, smart speakers and connected major home appliances, according to Blake Kozak, principal analyst for IHS.

“The brilliance of the smart home is that it can be molded to suit the requirements of any kind of consumer, from the strictest demands of power users to the simplest automation needs of dabblers,” said Kozak. “Irrespective of consumer tech-savviness, the smart-home market has bourgeoned into a consumer technology heavyweight, eager to move beyond the basics of security and single-family homes and into uncharted opportunities. However, these uncharted opportunities are coming with concerns about privacy and the technology’s readiness for primetime. The remainder of 2019 and start of 2020 will be a pivotal time for the smart-home market as companies and service providers fine-tune their strategies and reposition to compete with the smart home juggernauts — as well as newcomers looking to upend the status quo.”

Smart-home companies look to future opportunities

Kozak pointed out that companies looking to make waves in the smart home market include IKEA and newcomers such as Wyze, which offer ultra-low-cost devices.

He added that major players also will make pivotal strategy changes to enhance their competitiveness, with examples including Google, which recently ended its  “Works with Nest” program. In another example, he pointed to Amazon Alexa, which achieved compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

“For its part, Ring is launching into the small-medium businesses (SMB) segment,” said Kozak. “Comcast will focus on its Xfinity platform and hone its strategy around content deployment. Meanwhile, Centrica, which offers the Hive smart home, plans to focus its platform on energy and services.

Software, analytics and partnerships

A brief hiatus in hardware development has prompted smart-home companies to make advancements with software, analytics and acquisitions/partnerships, according to IHS. However, Kozak noted that another hardware push is set to arrive soon, with the arrival of new smart speakers from Google, Apple and Samsung as well as offerings for insurance companies and apartment complexes.

US smart-home penetration rises, despite privacy concerns

Although the U.S. smart-home penetration exceeded 38 percent in 2018, IHS said the market’s further progress could be impeded by privacy concerns, which is why IHS is advising technology providers to take steps to alleviate consumer apprehension.

“Rapid innovation often breeds speculation and mistrust,” Kozak said. “Because of that, smart-home companies should be as transparent as possible regarding data usage. They also should focus on edge-based processing, which reduces the need for cloud-based computing systems that send private data over the internet. The smart home should also make greater efforts to comply with standards and regulations for sectors such as security, healthcare and senior care. By having more standards and regulations in place, innovation in the smart home will be less a source of anxiety for consumers and instead become a cause for optimism and a fulcrum for peace-of-mind.”

The IHS Markit Smart Home Device Database assesses the market for smart home devices including unit shipments, installed base, housing type, route to market, system type, connectivity type, network controller, country/sub-region and market shares.

Phishing, smishing and vishing: what do they mean and how to protect yourself

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

I have a special affinity toward cybersecurity, probably because I’ve witnessed it grow from not even being a word, much less a concept to indoctrinating itself into society on a second by second basis. People must be alert, knowledgeable and actionable in order to stay safe from cybercriminals, and thankfully, there are various organizations available to help. 

During August, I attended the National Cyber Security Alliance and Infosec webinar that explored the cyber threats phishing, smishing and vishing, and offered steps of protection. Daniel Eliot, director of education and strategic initiatives, National Cyber Security Alliance moderated as Tiffany Schoenike, chief operating officer, National Cyber Security Alliance and Lisa Plaggemier, chief evangelist, Infosec took center stage.

“At their core, phish are just tools criminals use for social engineering, which is the use of deception to manipulate individuals into doing something they wouldn’t normally,” Plaggemier explained during the webinar. “Thieves are generally after two things: money and things they can turn into money, and over three billion phishes are sent every single day” to try and gain access to private information, engage with people to develop trust, present links that download malware when clicked, modify data, etc.

Here’s some common types of phish you need to know about: 

  • Spear phishing: a targeted attack that usually involves cybercriminals gathering intel to use to send emails that appear to be from a known or trusted sender.
  • Whaling: attacks that target senior-level employees. 
  • Credential harvesting: an attack that allows unauthorized access to usernames and/or emails with corresponding passwords. 

To identify phishes, Plaggemier said to look for things such as spoofed sender addresses that may be off by a letter or two; misspelled words and bad grammar; strange URLs; the use of scare tactics; buzzwords such as cool job offers and last but not least, use your own senses. If you feel something isn’t right, you’re probably correct. 

With smishing, the cybercriminal uses text or SMS messaging to try and trick people into giving out private information while vishing uses the phone via a call. 

To protect yourself and your organization against phishing, smishing and vishing, consider the following: 

  • Enable strong authentication.
  • Think before you share personal information. 
  • Never give personal information over the phone. 
  • Use unique and the longest passphrases possible as passwords
  • Keep your computer system and smartphone’s software updated. 
  • Only download apps from trusted sources. 
  • Train employees. 
  • Establish, maintain, use and enforce policies and procedures. 
  • Report all phishing incidents to DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and the Federal Trade Commission

For more information on how small and medium-sized businesses can be safer and more secure online, visit National Cyber Security Alliance’s national program, CyberSecure My Business, which consists of in-person, interactive workshops, monthly webinars, an online portal of resources and monthly newsletters that summarize the latest cybersecurity news.

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