Yesterday, we looked at two hot areas to be aware of regarding your online security: Data breaches and mobile security. Today, we’ll look at two more areas that haven’t caused as much trouble or damage as the other two, but are likely to grow in importance.
Internet of (Every)Thing at risk
The “smart” home has been in the works for some time now, and this year, we’ll see more and more gadgets from household appliances to wearables like fitness bracelets to industrial equipment becoming connected to mobile devices and social networks. This proliferation of inter-connected things will open up a whole new glorious space for hackers to play in.
We predict that from now on, devices will increase by an order of magnitude (not too bold a prediction, huh?), and of course, that will result in greater privacy and security concerns. A breach in the Internet of Things (IoT) will give cybercrooks the ability to install malware or ransomware on private networks – not only consumer, but corporate and government – steal personal information, or even cause physical harm to a space or a person. But before you run around the yard yelling, “Skynet is falling, Skynet is falling”, cybercrooks will feel the space out probably starting with adware uploaded on our smart TVs.
What to keep your eye out for
- New technologies and businesses around the IoT including
- Increased demand for low cost bandwidth and processing
- Expansion of infrastructure that carries Wi-Fi traffic
- Start-ups focused on communication and sensors between devices, storage, data analytics
- Home and factory automation
- The rise of “fog” computing architectures, where data is closer to the source as opposed to residing in a data center somewhere
Room for improvement
- Keeping multiple smart devices updated with the latest version of this-and-that software. You think it’s hard now with a couple of devices? Wait until your house, body, garage, and workplace are full of smart gadgets.
- The fractured ecosystem will make it harder to identify threats or protect against security exploits.
- Home routers are still unsecure and people are using open, unencrypted Wi-Fi. Start by securing your own home router by scanning with Avast’s Home Network Security scan, then follow whatever suggestions are given.
Social media world
By now, social media users know that sharing too much personal information can give strangers access to their personal life. To illustrate that point on a national scale, Allstate Insurance, aired a series of commercials about what happened to a couple who shared on social networks that they were away from their home for the weekend. Read about it on our blog.
Last year, we saw new privacy settings introduced on social media, and 2015 will see a rise in anonymous interactions via social media.
Hoaxes and scams spread by email and social networks were successful in 2014, as they have been for years now, so we see no reason that occurrences will decrease. Social engineering can trick unwitting victims and the rate of identity theft will increase.
What to keep your eye out for
- Continuation of scams associated with important events like celebrity gossip or sporting events.
- Watching videos on Facebook equaled watching videos on YouTube at the end of 2014, so we can expect hackers to take advantage of this by hiding malicious links in Facebook videos.
- More fraudulent and malicious ads will appear on social networks.
- Ransomware made the jump from PC to mobile in 2014, and it will likely hit social networks.
Room for improvement
- Cut back on sharing too much on social media and through Internet of Things devices.
- Adjust privacy settings in each social network.
In last night’s broadcast of the Sugar Bowl, a showdown of two power-house college football teams in the USA, Allstate Insurance, aired a series of brilliant commercials about the risk of over-sharing on social networks. The social media team at Avast has been preaching this message for a while now, so we were happy to see this clever series of advertisements.
The ads are about a couple who shared on social networks that they were away from their house, actually attending the game. Allstate’s “Mayhem” character took advantage of this knowledge and broke into their unoccupied house, and proceeded to have a “MayhemSale” of all their possessions. “Buy Matt & Shannon’s stuff now at MayhemSale.com,” he announced, then soon after took to Twitter to sell off items one-by-one. I immediately visited the website, but apparently there were so many other interested people, that it kept crashing.
— Mayhem (@Mayhem) January 2, 2015
Burglars can easily search Facebook or Twitter for targeted keywords or see who has checked into airport lounges on Foursquare. According to FBI statistics, summertime is the most active for burglaries and oversharing can tip off thieves to your absence. Homeowners should be extra vigilant about protecting their goods.
Our advice – be extremely cautious what you share on social media, and wait until after you are back to share your vacation pictures.
“Who wouldn’t want to have more likes on their Facebook page?” This is the motivation of a very trivial code to get more likes, but while other methods usually comprise of adding better content or advertising, this one is a bit easier, and much dirtier. Why not show the like button directly beneath your mouse cursor as you browse a website, make it invisible, and move it as you move your mouse?
The only thing the victim has to do is click; if they are logged in to Facebook, they will automatically like the Facebook page. And of course, it is not only about the number of likes, but each like means the victim will get all the information about this page on their news feed (until they unlike the page), and all friends will also see that you like it – so why not check it out themselves?
This method is possible due to Like Button, a social plugin for Facebook, made by Facebook developers. It is used properly on many legitimate sites, but when combined with CSS hiding and JS moving, the victim has no other chance. If you want to know how to minimize the impact of such tactics, or if you are more into technical details, read on.
In a blog post published back in June, we shared the stories of a few unfortunate people who were fired from their jobs or passed over for a job promotion because of over-sharing on social networks. If you are looking for a job and wonder why you are not getting a call back, it could be because of what’s on your Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ profiles.
A new survey from Jobvite says that more than 90% of HR managers and recruiters report reviewing job candidates’ social profiles during the hiring process. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are still the recruiters social networks of choice – but they are also looking through blogs, YouTube channels, Yammer, Instagram and other networks to source talent. Based on what they find, 42% of companies said they reconsidered hiring candidates.
Posts related to illegal drug use and those of a sexual nature met with universal disapproval. Profanity, and grammar and punctuation errors in posts and tweets trigger negative reactions among recruiters over 60% of the time. On the other hand, posts which share your volunteering gigs or donations to charity give recruiters a positive feeling about hiring you.
Read our tips on giving your social profiles a makeover during job hunting time.
Millions of users access social networks every day in order to share, engage, and look for information as well as entertainment. The transparency of social networks come with a risk and we very often expose ourselves to hackers and scammers that can take advantage of information we share. Social platforms constantly improve security and privacy settings, to deliver a safe experience to the users, but who has time to follow all this news? Well, you can relax and rely on us. AVAST specialists are here to deliver this information in an accessible way.
Last month we prepared a security and privacy update following the most important changes on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Check what has changed since than to enjoy a secure social media experience!
At the end of August, Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan published an official blog post, as a response to rumors and extensive discussion on the company’s Data Use Policy. One of the biggest concerns were related to how Facebook displays our data to its clients advertising on the social network. Currently pages can target us even by our name.
Advertisers may also be able to reach you on Facebook using the information they already have about you (such as email addresses or whether you have visited their websites previously).
#AVASTtip: There is not much space for us users to really influence it, but Facebook is open to user feedback. If you would like to comment or express your opinion, you can do it here .
Our first “#useAVAST” Hashtag challenge is over and it’s time to announce the results. As always, YOU have proven what an engaged and creative community AVAST has. We’ve seen plenty of Facebook and Google+ posts and Tweets with your personal recommendations. It has convinced us that we should be giving you this opportunity more often, so Be free to expect some more fun.
As announced in the previous blog, we have selected winners in two categories:
- Most creative/funny recommendation
- Most convincing recommendation
All entries are valuable to us and we appreciate your inventiveness and always-willing-to-participate attitude! Congratulations to the winners! Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your 1-year license for avast! Premiere, our best-selling antivirus protection.
Social media profiles affects college admission, job searches, and careers
A 24-year-old high school teacher in Georgia, USA, lost her job after an anonymous e-mailer complained about a Facebook picture of her sipping wine and drinking beer while on vacation in Europe. An Arizona woman was fired after ranting on Facebook when she was passed over for a job promotion. An 18-year-old Buckingham Palace guard was fired after he called Kate Middleton a ‘stupid stuck up cow’ in a Facebook post. A star high school football recruit lost his scholarship to the University of Michigan because of vulgar tweets.
By now, you know that you should not reveal personal information to strangers or on your Facebook profiles, and that you should utilize the privacy settings on social networking sites. You also need to be careful with what you are posting online because potential employers or college admission officers could be looking at your page.
A newly published report tells us that 1 in 10 people between ages 16 and 34 have been turned down for a new job because of photos or comments on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networking sites. “The majority (two-thirds) are not concerned that their use of social media now, may harm their future career prospects and are not deterred from using it,” states ondevice research, “They are also more likely to have altered their social media profile to look good to their friends, as opposed to prospective employers.”
If you can’t live without social networking, especially Facebook, during your job search, use it to your advantage.
- Give your profile a makeover. Prune old posts to highlight what’s great about you instead of what you ate for lunch in 2010. Either delete or restrict the view to images and albums that don’t show you in your best light. Get a handle on tagged photos by setting ‘Review Posts Friends Tag You in Before They Appear on Your Timeline.’
- Build a compelling professional profile. Show off your strengths and accomplishments. To keep it personal as well as professional, add interests, hobbies, volunteering, educational information, and professional pictures.
- Follow and engage with companies and career–related groups on LinkedIn and Twitter so you’ll know about company hires and other news.
- Add value to the company you are interested in by participating in conversations, answering questions, and sharing links. Make sure you use solid grammar and communication skills.
If your Facebook profile is beyond help, then consider deactivating it for a time. The deactivation option gives you the flexibility to leave and come back whenever you want. Select Account Settings>Click Security in the left-hand column>Click Deactivate your account.
One year ago, Avast launched avast! Free Antivirus for Mac, and celebrated with our first photo contest. The results were outstanding – we received 50,000 photos with “APPLE” as the topic, and our Facebook page became the 5th fastest growing page worldwide during the first week of the competition!
Your enthusiatic reponse told us that:
- You are playful
- You like to compete for nice prizes
- You love social media and avast
Enter our new Photo Contest and Win!
We are happy to introduce a new photo contest. This time, however, we leave it up to your creativity. Your assigment is simple: Show us your creativity and visual interpretation of our slogan avast! Be free!
We like to think that the avast! voice telling us that our virus database has been updated is almost like a pleasant song, something to cheer us all up, reminding us that nobody needs to sing the PC blues.
So it’s great to know we’re not alone, and that our users also think this way. Here’s an example by “Ferrett Steinmetz,” an Ohio-based writer, who recently tweeted:
A quick read down Mr. Steinmetz’s twitter wall shows similar cleverisms about a large number of subjects. You can follow him on twitter @ferretthimself.
Yes, most of us complain about all the seemingly unnecessary changes that Facebook initiates far more often than we’d like (just about the time we figure out how to navigate everything)… but it’s good to remember that Facebook is a free service. Of course some will argue that nothing is really ‘free’, but at least +140 million active avast! Community members know differently.
Some of you will remember the days of Rolodex. Mine was typically overfilled with business cards and scraps of paper – taped, glued, or even stapled in place. Sometimes a few ‘creative’ oversized business cards or paper scraps would clog up the ‘machine’, and maintaining changes to phone numbers, addresses, and job titles was always a major problem.
So Facebook, for me, was a welcome change. All my contacts keep their own info updated, and I can find them at any time via the search box. And my Facebook account serves 4 key purposes: