With privacy a growing concern, it makes sense that an increasing number of people are turning to VPNs to protect themselves. VPNs are known for protecting users’ privacy by encrypting their computer traffic and routing the encrypted traffic through anonymous routers, hiding the user’s identity. Thirty percent of all internet users use a VPN at least once month, and those users aren’t just journalists or investigators or others who need to maintain privacy for professional or political reasons. With people of all kinds becoming more reliant on VPNs, we need to ask: do VPNs actually protect our privacy?
Former Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rossello’s leaked messages this summer raised many questions for us privacy junkies, including alarm bells about secure messaging applications. We wondered, in light of such a massive breach of supposedly secure messaging, what constitutes secure messaging today? What constitutes private messaging today?
Shortly after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife Mackenzie announced that they were divorcing, the National Enquirer published text messages that Bezos had reportedly sent to Lauren Sanchez, who he is currently in a relationship with. Bezos, like everybody else, is entitled to his privacy. These text messaging leaks, however, remind us that security is a must in order to protect personal information—whether business related, financial or private conversations with friends and family.
In this modern day and age, mobile business messaging—specifically, secure mobile business messaging—is a must-have for the transportation and logistics industry. Today, electronic data is a critical part of supply chains, making secure communications a necessity for both efficiency and security.
End-to-end encryption is often touted as the end-all be-all. When it comes to text message security, encryption is definitely important. End-to-end encryption essentially ensures that while a message is in transit—that is to say, from the time send it hit until it reaches the intended receiver’s device—it cannot be read by an outsider.
The DNC email leak in 2016 revealed just how insecure email communications can be. It should be no surprise that government officials have been turning to other, more secure mediums, to communicate. White House staffers have reportedly usedthe encryption app Confide to communicate, French president Macron’s inner circle has reliedonTelegram, and former Australia Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull turned to Wickr and Whatsapp. But as government messaging solutions go, such tools are limited, and in most cases not as secure as one might think. They may offer encryption but they fail to secure messages on devices and don’t address critical compliance issues related to government communication.
In emergency situations, speed is key for first responders. Law enforcement agencies need to have the tools in place to be able to communicate and coordinate quickly. Using old and clunky tools—like desktops and laptops—are simply not sufficient for teams to make decisions quickly and securely. And, the traditional radio system can present interoperability problems.
As we enter into cybersecurity month it makes me think a lot about my own privacy, and how elusive it has become in the 21st century. It seems that everything we do is now tracked; whenever we visit a web page, call someone on our smart phone, visit the doctor, change the temperature on our smart thermostat or simple talk about a specific subject in our own household, our actions get recorded as data – in theory to make our lives better and more productive. However, in an age when digital privacy is practically an oxymoron, what can people do to protect their privacy?
When it comes to dental health, there is a lot that dental service organizations (DSO) have to do to properly engage their patients; whether to remind them of a six-month check-up or to simply help patients keep on top of their dental care. Everyone who has visited the dentist is familiar with the postcards, phone calls and emails reminding them to schedule (and attend!) their appointments.
Being on the hook for free services to friends and family members is a well-known risk for many professionals. Doctors get called in the middle of the night to see sick nieces and nephews, attorneys advise their siblings on traffic violations and airline employees are hunted down by everyone for those free standby certificates. But as a technology professional, I can say that we have it arguably worse than anyone else; “Can you set up my Wi-Fi?”, “Do I have enough encryption?” And if you think that the barrage of requests is not bad enough, you haven’t heard the complaints! “That phone broke within three months!”, “I dropped my router while dusting and now my WiFi is out!”.
These days, it feels like everybody’s talking about encryption and privacy. Whether you work in healthcare, energy and utilities, financial services or some other enterprise—you’ve probably come across debates around privacy, encryption and how to securely communicate to maintain privacy. But with all the news reports and use of buzzwords being thrown around it’s easy to forget the basics. So what do terms like encryption, privacy and man-in-the middle attacks really mean?
Encryption. It’s a word we hear frequently in the media. Encrypted applications should have backdoors, insists one popular publication. No, it should not, insists another. But what is it actually and why is it so important? Below, are some thoughts. Simply put, encryption is the translation of data into a secret code.
In March 2017 the nation’s first cybersecurity regulation became law imposing strict cybersecurity measures on financial institutions operating in New York. The new rules specify everything from naming a Chief Information Security Officer, to risk assessments, event notification, encryption, penetration and vulnerability testing, training and monitoring and audit logs.
It seems that every day we have a slew of new sensational cases and revelations that make us stop and think “Is our privacy over? Does anyone even care? What are we to do to protect ourselves?” I say, relax, the situation is bad, but it is not as bad you might think and probably not for the reasons you might think so.
Quick – when was the last time you used your smartphone to investigate a health issue? If you are like most people you are probably a “connected patient” using smart devices to take more ownership of your health. A 2015 Pew Research Center (PEW) report shows 62% of smartphone owners use their phone to look up information about a health condition. And many of us now also use our smartphones to correspond with providers.
Communication and effective collaboration within the healthcare industry is not always as easy as it should be. Care teams – from doctors and nurses to the patients and their caregivers – need the ability to communicate efficiently, effectively, privately and securely to ensure the highest level of service. Unfortunately, this is an ongoing challenge, particularly when it comes to long term and home based healthcare.
“Whoever Wins the White House, This Year’s Big Loser is Email.” Thus, reads the headline in the NY Times on October 19, 2016. Indeed, in the current election cycle, month after month, the focus has been on hacked and released emails, on disappearing emails, on emails that reappear on various devices – not of the user’s choosing. It certainly seems that the people who sent those emails should have known better than to write what they actually wrote in the first place.
Welcome back from what we hope was a happy and relaxing July 4th. Happy Independence Day! For us, July 4th is a particularly meaningful holiday. It’s an opportunity to spend time with family and friends and to appreciate the freedoms and liberties we have living in the United States of America.
People engage in conversations over phones in public areas without a thought to who can overhear, or about the potential consequences. There is a blind faith that privacy is somehow granted by being surrounded by strangers. That privacy is often valid, however strangers don’t always equal safety.
We are seeing much discussion about encryption and encrypted communications in the news in the wake of the Paris attack. The intelligence community did not intercept the communication between the attackers leading up to the attack, and this leads many to believe that encrypted communications must have been used.