One of the benefits of the world wide web is the ability for people to share their thoughts and convictions with anyone and everyone. Social media is a perfect example with additional blogging and video platforms allowing everyday citizens to become publishers. Still, there is another form of contentious free speech that is being used online — hacktivism.
Hacktivism, a portmanteau of hacking and activism, can range from any number of digital activities including virtual sit-ins, defacing websites, distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, website mirroring, information leaking and much more. Many of these methods are controversial even in the hacker community.
But while netizens discuss the merits and detriments of hacktivism, one thing is certain — businesses need to wise up to the threat.
There seems to be a fine line between hacktivism and cybercrime when it comes to protesting private businesses. PayPal, for example, felt the furry of hacking group Anonymous after the popular payment site froze donations to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
Part of Anonymous’ Operation Payback was to launch DDoS attacks against PayPal and MasterCard in December of 2010 which crippled the sites operations and lead to thousands of dollars in lost business. The hackers were caught and have since plead guilty to the cyberattack.
Conversely, Netflix’s Twitter account was temporarily taken over by OurMine, a group of young internet hackers determined to show that the world’s security isn’t up to snuff. Similar social account takeover attacks have targeted Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, actor Channing Tatum and TechCrunch.
A compromised post from Marvel Entertainment in December 2016 read: “Hey, it’s OurMine, Don’t worry we are just testing your security, contact us to help with your security,” followed by an email address. This type of self-promotion walks the line between hacking and hacktivism, but either way, it’s rather disconcerting.
So what can you do to safeguard your business against hacktivists?
Cyber Defense for Businesses
Large companies make perfect victims for hacktivists looking to raise their profile since their efforts are often highly publicized. But, as it turns out, 43 percent of cyberattacks target small businesses. The lesson here is that literally anyone with an internet connection can be targeted by hackers. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to safeguard your business.
Don’t Poke the Bear: Whatever you do, do not provoke potential hackers. It is their job to make Swiss cheese of even the most robust security measures. So operate with trepidation. If you believe you are being targeted by a hacktivist group, discuss the risk with your cybersecurity provider.
Get Password Savvy: One of the easiest way for cybercriminals to crack your confidence is to exploit a weak password. Require your workforce to use stronger passphrases on all their account, use different passwords for each account and change their login credentials regularly.
Ignore Sketchy Emails & Links: The most common methods of digital incursion stem from spam emails. Attachments often hide malicious software and links often redirect to phony sign-in pages which fool employees into turning over their personal login information. Don’t let this happen to you. Avoid opening emails, links and downloads from sources you do not know well.
Block DDoS Attacks: DDoS is an external attack that floods your website or service with phony web requests until it collapses. It is a favorite tool in the hacktivist arsenal because it is easy to use and easy to deploy. Take advantage of DDoS attack prevention methods that detect, block or redirect malicious traffic before it damages your operations.
Keep an Eye on Social: Hacktivism is all about image and one of the most effective ways of catching attention is to infiltrate your social media accounts. Keep a close eye on your social pages for any hint of hacker activity. Mistakes are highly visible and unapproved messages coming from your brand can negatively affect customer relations.
Knowledge Is King: Finally, it’s vital to educate your staff about the risk of cyberattack. Teach them the techniques necessary to keep their information and your business safe from hackers. As the famous philosopher and war strategist Sun Zu said, “If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.”
How Will Roads Change As Logistics Become Automated?
There have been a lot of big developments to be found inside the automated vehicle space over the last few years. With countless car companies throwing their hats into the ring, it’s only a matter of time until cars that don’t need drivers are able to spend more time on the road. Of course, though, personal transport is only one side of this, and the automated driving scene is much more likely to impact logistics in the short-term. But how exactly will this change the way that transport companies operate, and how will the roads you use be impacted by changes like this?
Currently, many truck drivers have to push themselves to their limits to be able to get their work done. Long drives can easily be held up, but important deadlines can’t be missed without throwing off an entire schedule, and this leaves drivers having to miss sleep and drive long distances without breaks. A tacho card will usually be used to monitor this, making sure that drivers don’t break the law. Automated transport promises to solve problems like this, with digital machines never tiring and being able to work for days on end without having to take a break.
Many transport companies have to use the roads at the same time as normal drivers to make sure that they can make their deliveries without pushing drivers too hard. This sort of approach wouldn’t need to be taken with automated vehicles, instead giving transport operators the chance to choose the quietest times to have their machines on the road. Alongside this, route planning can be more dynamic, with plans being changed on the fly to make up for things like traffic issues. Of course, though, as a big part of this, normal drivers may experience some strange behavior from the automated trucks that they see, especially when they are first starting to hit the road.
While it may be something that changes in the future, transport companies are often more interested in systems that use convoys of trucks rather than simply sending trucks out on their own. This involves having a lead truck that is driven by a normal person, with several other trucks that tail safely behind it. This can make it much easier to have trucks follow specific routes without having to rely on GPS systems can lose signal or be disrupted in other ways. Of course, though, as a big part of this, many transport companies simply can’t afford the technology like this, and it could be a few more years until they start to be spotted when you’re out and about.
With all of this in mind, you should have a much better idea of how the automated logistics market is going to change roads over the next few years. The way that you drive will almost certainly change as time goes by, with more and more automated driving options becoming available all the time.
Matica’s CEO Sandro Camilleri speaks about security in digital payments
One thing is for sure: the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated many behaviors and trends that once were holding their pace. A great example can be found in digital payments and online shopping. According to Rakuten Intelligence, from March through mid-April, e-commerce spending in the United States increased more than 30% compared to the same period last year. When it comes to worldwide scores, it reaches the surprising increase of 74%.
Although books and cleaning products led the ranks mapped by Rakuten, specialists argue that digital payments and online shopping are here to stay, as much as it has already been observed in Asian countries. In this sense, securing financial transactions and protecting consumer data became a mandatory issue to be addressed both by companies and the government.
As a leading European company in the processing and printing of cards and identification documents for security systems, Matica Technologies is dedicated to granting safety and technological solutions to businesses dealing with financial transactions online. According to the CEO and founder of Matica, Sandro Camilleri, the advent of digital payments is a revolution similar to that which technology has caused and is currently causing in other areas, such as transports. “It is an inevitable revolution, which citizens will have to get used to, and which must therefore be managed in order not to risk unintended consequences, being the key issue obviously safety,” he argues.
Camilleri stresses that there are two different phases when it comes to digital payment security. A first one is about information and personal data storage, one of the greatest topics of our time and also a potentially enormous market sector. The second, less discussed though equally important, is guaranteeing strength and security for the financial transaction itself — and this is a purely technological issue. “The use of chips that are equipped with incredible memories, high precision lasers and holograms makes it extremely difficult, not to say impossible, for any attacker to clone a card produced by us. Secondly, the transaction must be secure thanks to specific and constantly updated software,” explains Matica’s CEO.
Now, when it comes to privacy, Camilleri states that people must be aware of what is at stake when data is leaked and why such occurrences are so alarming. With more and more appliances being automated and connected to computers and to the internet, such as is the case for cars and home security systems, cyberattacks could lead to consequences that are not only terrible, but tragic.
In such situations, Matica’s CEO believes that only biometric data could spare individuals from having their systems hacked, though this data must be filed with care and used only for strictly necessary purposes. In any case, Camilleri argues that using biometrics is becoming day by day more inevitable with the increasing rhythm of automation, and this is a feature that can already be found in some of Matica’s available systems, such as is the case of the passport series.
Are You Aware Of Your Children’s Online Activity?
There’s a big, wide, scary, often strange world out there, and it’s the task of any individual to grow into an adult and begin to contend with it. However, most responsible parents understand that showing the raw facts of life, or being introduced to bad influences is simply not suitable for a young child. They must learn slowly, with care, and appropriately to the degree we’re able to foster that environment. Parents cater to this by controlling what friends their children make, or what hours they may be allowed to spend time with them.
However, a growing cause for concern is the fact that many parents fail to keep their children safe online. The internet may as well be its own world, and it reflects our reality, both the good and the bad, the trustworthy and the terrible. This means that as a parent, it’s important to stay aware of your child’s online activity. If you can do that, you can better control the content they see, what they’re allowed to access, and the influences they are moved by.
Use Worthwhile Content Filters
It’s important to use the best content filters and parental controls you can. Some offer you access to limit internet time, while others help you block certain websites or content from being seen. With the best cyberbullying safety services, you can also ensure that your children are equipped to handle the unfortunate likelihood of encountering abuse online. The more you can engage in good habits now, and regulate their usage, the less likely they are to come to harm within the wild west that is the online world.
Understand The Trends
Understand the trends that occur and know how to deal with them. For instance, you might block access to certain apps or sites, but your child’s friend’s parents may not have the same philosophy. If you know the trends through paying attention to what they’re saying, you will be able to assess if they’re healthy or not. For instance, TikTok is now seen as a negative influence on many young children due to how poorly they moderate their content, and how limited content filters are in place. When you make decisions to help them stay secure, you are in effect limiting the vulnerable pathways in which they could become less safe.
It’s important to say, but stay alert. If you notice your child is finding it hard to engage with social media, or they follow a risky YouTuber, you are within your right to restrict access or to observe more closely. It’s a tough job, but ultimately you cannot completely banish your child from the internet for the entirety of their childhood. It’s best to help them build healthy habits now and also know how to stay safe online than to pretend it doesn’t exist. To that end, you’ll be making the right choices.
With this advice, we hope you can better stay aware of your children’s online activity, and manage it as appropriately.
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