Avast blog: How to add authentication to your Facebook and Google accounts

By now you have heard about the latest Facebook data breach that exposed private data from more than 500M accounts. You can follow the steps to take on my latest blog post for Avast here where you can walk through what you need to do to enable two-factor authentication on your accounts.

Unfortunately, Facebook (and Google) don’t make authentication particularly easy. And to make matters worse, both companies have the habit of changing their menu options to confound even those who have done it previously. My recommendation is to use a web browser, rather than mobile apps, for these activities. This is because you’ll want the additional screen real estate and some of the options are more difficult to find in mobile apps.


CSOonline: Identity and access management explained

Identity and access management (IAM) in enterprise IT is about defining and managing the roles and access privileges of individual network entities (users and devices) to a variety of cloud and on-premises applications. The overarching goal of identity management is to grant access to the enterprise assets that users and devices have rights to in a given context. That includes onboarding users and systems, permission authorizations, and the offboarding of users and devices in a timely manner.

However, part of the problem are the users and their love/hate affair with their passwords. We all have too many passwords, making the temptation to share them across logins – and the resulting security implications – an issue.

You can read my post for CSOonline here.

Avast blog: The rise of ransomware-as-a-service

Ransomware continues to be a blight across the landscape and has gotten new life thanks to the pandemic and a growing collection of capabilities to make malware operators more potent. While using both cloud computing (what is somewhat mistakenly called ransomware-as-a-service or RaaS) and extortion techniques aren’t new, they are being deployed more often and in more clever and targeted ways than ever before. This has brought a rise in overall ransom attacks and in demanded payouts. One report has average ransom demands increasing by a third since Q32019.

In this blog post for Avast, I describe what RaaS is and how it is being exploited by the Darkside crime group.

If you are compromised by Darkside, there is this decryptor tool available. Suggestions (as with other ransomware preparation): ensure your backups are intact and accurate, intensify phishing awareness and education, and lockdown your accounts with MFA.

Avast blog: Cybercrime complaints are up, according to the FBI’s IC3

It has been a bonus year for cyber criminals. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) received nearly 800,000 complaints about cybercrime last year, more than two-thirds of a jump from what was seen in 2019. About a third of these complaints are from phishing attacks. The report summarizes data submitted by the general public and businesses on its website portal and is produced each year. Over $4 billion in losses attributable to these complaints was calculated, the most ever for what has been seen in one of these reports.

In my blog post for Avast, I summarize what was reported to the IC3 in the past year and suggest some simple strategies that individuals and businesses can take to prevent them.

Network Solutions blog: How to Prevent a Data Leak within VPN Environments

It has been one of the first things that most remote workers learn: use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect your laptop when you aren’t in the office. And given that many of us haven’t stepped foot in our offices for months, using a VPN now is ingrained in our daily computer usage. But as VPNs have gotten popular, they are also getting harder to keep secure. Various reports document that private data from 20M users have been leaked because of poorly implemented VPNs, including email passwords and home addresses.

In this post for Network Solutions’ blog, I discuss ways to prevent data leaks from happening and to better secure your VPNs, along with links to the most trusted reviewers of these products.

Avast blog: Beware of your browser extensions

The not-so-dirty secret about web browsers is that browser extensions can be a major security weakness. But the problem with extensions deserves further treatment, especially as they can combine some very clever supply chain and obfuscation methods to make these kinds of attacks harder to detect and defend. These extensions are powerful tools: they have the same ability as your user account to obtain read/write access to any data in any browsing session you bring up, which makes exploiting them a big issue. Many extensions don’t require any special permissions to run on your computer or phone.

I write about how extensions can be exploited and what you can do to protect yourself in my latest post for Avast’s blog here.

Avast blog: An update on data privacy and protection legislation

Data privacy legislation is a difficult topic to get your head around. There can be multiple dimensions, sector-specific rules, and various national and, in some cases (such as in the US), local laws enacted to cover a multitude of issues. But the good news is that there are several US states which are on track to pass new data privacy laws during 2021. Some of these laws focus on consumer protection, while others concentrate on regulating data brokers or how ISPs should protect their customers’ data. Let’s review the progress and what is being proposed in my latest blog for Avast here. This could make 2021 the year that privacy laws become more pervasive in the US.

Nok Nok blog: Why Intuit picked FIDO

One of the long-time FIDO supporters gave testimony to its biggest benefits at the recent Authentication 2020 conference. The speaker was Marcio Mellowho is the head of Product for Intuit’s identity and profile platform. The benefits are saving money and time when users have to login to their SaaS financial offerings from Intuit, a company who has been interested in FIDO for years.

You can read more on my post for Nok Nok’s blog here.

Network Solutions blog: Best ways to manage a corporate domain portfolio

Domain names lie at the heart of a business’ online presence. They control how a company’s web and other resources will be identified to the world and reinforce the numerous brands and trademarks of a business. Domains represent a combination of virtual storefronts and billboards to promote the brand and identify a source of trusted information about the business. The right domain name makes it easier for online customers to find and purchase a business’ products and services and is also used to protect their intellectual property and complement their offline efforts.

Companies typically register their internet domain names to support new brands, product launches, marketing campaigns, corporate acquisitions and restructurings. The issue for many corporations is managing many domains. And while the attention is focused on some of the world’s largest corporations, such as Coca Cola and Unilever which are reported to own thousands of domains, even smaller businesses can have large domain name portfolios. It is not uncommon for large organizations to own and operate thousands of domain names [3], for example.

But managing these large domain collections isn’t easy and in this ebook that I wrote for Network Solutions, I discuss the various problems and offer some solutions.

Avast blog: Helsinki becomes the first city to employ new open-source data trust network

A novel experiment in deploying large-scale trusted data networks has begun in Helsinki, the capital of Finland. A variety of city services have been linked together using the open-source MyData Global solution, it was announced earlier this month. This puts city at the forefront of how it gathers data from its citizens and how it stores and uses the data. The goal is to give each person control over how their data is shared with various city agencies.

In this blog post for Avast, I  examine the announcement and its significance for the rest of us and what it means for our own data privacy.