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Online Security

  • Human integration with technology and systems.

    Connecting all the time

    Andrés Lucero of Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland recently published ( arXiv:1804.04833 [cs.HC] ) his autoethnography about his period of times in his life that he has voluntarily lived without a mobile phone. Since 1999 he spent two separate periods (2002-2008 and 2014-2017) without a phone. Both related to when he was working in academia and cycling to work. Interesting points to note were that even during these periods he had access to wifi enabled tablets, but the need for authentication codes and secure communications were the key areas that were affected by not having a mobile phone. Additionally in Finland at the age of 7 children receive their first mobile phone and house keys so that they can travel to school on their own.

    With two factor authentication heavily reliant on mobile phones either for SMS/text codes or smart phone apps with authentication code production, it becomes more and more difficult to imagine the operation of today’s work environment without a phone. In one situation the service he was trying to use reluctantly ended up emailing the security details to an email address that they weren’t able to verify.

    Moving back in to the connected world and embracing all forms of device, including wearable, Andrés Lucero also had to learn how to cope with synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication such as Whatsapp, where in a group things are said and discussed through the night which aren’t for people sleeping to respond to until they want to.

    The paper makes for an interesting study, and demonstrates a number of situations where normal life is eased by the power of live connection. Eg. location and travelling directions, location based entertainment and two factor authentication services. The paper also shows how remaining in control of technology can help maintain control of stressors.

    For security all businesses should be using two factor authentication where they can, and with smart phones being one of the most popular methods the need for all employees having access becomes apparent. However there are alternatives, if you’d like to discuss please contact us below.

    #telanovaReporter

  • Just when you thought it was safe to go online

    Facenet and dating of the future

    Sometimes there are times when you read something that makes you consider the future in a very poor light. Having this particular program made publically available at this early stage of development is also a cause for concern of how skewed the world will become in the near future.

    Many people will have by now at sometime in their adult life joined , have a close friend or family member that has experienced one of the online dating services. The services generally rely heavily on the basis of instant attraction. In many, you are presented with a visual of the person before any details of the personality are supplied to the browser. Again on the visual impact, the browser can choose to like / skip etc.

    Think now to the newly released python script, from Charles F. Jekel and Raphael T. Haftka of the University of Florida [arXiv:1803.04347 [cs.CV]], that based on just 20 of your likes is able to build a generic facial representation, which when applied to further images has an accuracy of 60% of knowing if you will like that image.

    Once trained on 406 profiles, where each like represented a different classifier, it was over 70% accurate. Being one of the first algorithms in the area, accuracy is likely to improve over time. The question being then is where will this lead ?

    Will you be able to take your liking profile from one supplier and use them with another. The reality of how oddly familiar this all seems, think about where else your liking data is used for marketing. Marketing teams will see the usefulness of this data being collected. Will the privacy agreement you’ve signed protect you liking data. The company you use could use that data for their own purposes as long as it is in their privacy agreement.

    Fast forward a few years, and every website you visit could be presented by a computer generated personna that is facially configured to match your dream person. How could you resist not purchasing 63 pallets of widgets that you really don’t need just because you want to please them.

    During the rise of computers we were wowed by the amazing graphics and realism that slowly grew as processors became more powerful. Soon the realism will not be realism but a distortion of reality based on our dreams and desires.

    Back in reality however, it may just be time to think twice about how you let companies use your data, not all of your data is input by you on a clearly laid out form. Your data is how you navigate, how you interact, how you choose, what you look at. Under GDPR companies must release all your data they collect about you to you, and must tell you how they are processing it.

    For more information about the FaceNet script see https://github.com/cjekel/tindetheus/ * arXiv:1803.04347 [cs.CV]

    For more information about GDPR email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    #telanovaReporter

  • Would you trust a HTTPs verified site?

    Oh, you think you're so safe with your little green padlocks, huh?

    Think again. PhishLabs have recently published research where they have found a staggering 24% of phishing sites use HTTPS, an otherwise well known protocol that used to establish trust and privacy of using a site.

    Over the years, we have seen a massive push towards encryption of everyday services. Browsers now display a warning for sites that aren't encrypted and half the web now uses standard encryption for their websites. So why fight the competition when you can just join them?

    How many times have you visited a website and trusted inputting your sensitive financial data just because your browser says its safe? It's time for that behaviour to change!

    How to stay safe online

    Create complex passwords.Yes, I know, you've heard it all before. But the reason you've heard this before because it is the forefront of security, and arguably the most important part. Having a strong password (e.g. complex, numbers, capitals, special characters) can save you from a world of trouble.

    Be overly cautious.If its too good to be true, it probably is. Don't enter or give any information to anyone unless you can authenticate who they are. And, for whatever reason, don't click random links on the internet.

    Look into active web protection.In a day and age of increasing number of cyber attacks, we also fortunately have an increasing number of methods to protect ourselves. Look into installing some form of active web protection that blocks possible malicious websites e.g. McAfee

     

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