Social Media Phishing Soars

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jun 6, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Employee training is key to any business's defense against cyberattacks. According to PhishMe, an estimated 91% of cyberattacks start with a phishing email -- an attempt to secure personal or sensitive information by posing as a legitimate actor. It makes sense then that many businesses focus cybersecurity training on recognition of email phishing scams. However, recent studies show that cybercriminals are increasingly turning to social media to bait their prey. In 2016, social media phishing increased by an estimated 500%, and victims are more likely to fall for these scams. Cybersecurity training needs to adapt to this fast-growing form of attack.

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Topics: cybersecurity, cyberthreats, social media

6 Password Tips to Protect Your Data

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

May 9, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Happy World Password Day! Actually, it was last week, on May 4th. Did you celebrate? It's not too late. The purpose of the day is to bolster cybersecurity by reminding people to update and strengthen their passwords. A good idea given that a new report reveals that 81% of hacking-related data breaches can be traced to weak and/or stolen passwords. Are you doing what you can to protect yourself and your business?

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Topics: cybersecurity

Don't Fall for a Tax Scam

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Apr 11, 2017 8:30:00 AM

It's tax time, and it's not just the government that wants your money. There are plenty of scam artists who view the annual ritual of filing tax returns as an opportunity to trick and defraud taxpayers. Criminals can make good money selling W2s and tax information, and identity theft provides even more ways to make a buck. Using fraudulent emails as a lure -- or phishing -- is a popular tactic among these opportunistic thieves.

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Topics: taxes, cybersecurity, phishing

Is Shadow IT Lurking in Your Office?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Mar 28, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Shadow IT, also called rogue or stealth IT, exists in most offices. It refers to technology that employees use for business purposes, but which is not sanctioned by the IT department. In fact, the IT department may not even be aware that it's being used. Employees are likely utilizing shadow IT for laudable purposes:  to make their jobs easier and improve their productivity. But for those who are responsible for a company's IT strategy, it makes their jobs harder. Worse, it can pose compliance and security risks to the business.  

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Topics: small business, technology, cybersecurity

Your File Is Saved, but Is It Safe?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Feb 28, 2017 8:30:00 AM

If you've ever spent hours of time, effort and intellectual brilliance creating the perfect document, just under deadline, only to lose it because it wasn't saved, you've learned your lesson. You are now hyper-diligent about clicking your save button, and the existence of a document recovery function provides little comfort. However, you should know that all "saves" are not equal. Your hard work may still be lost if your saved document is stored in the wrong place.

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Topics: technology, cybersecurity, data loss

The Promise and Problems of the Internet of Things for Small Business

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jan 31, 2017 8:30:00 AM

The Internet of Things (IoT) offers exciting new technologies that provide solutions of efficiency, convenience, and cost savings to businesses of all sizes. These connected devices that utilize the internet to communicate represent another tech revolution. Whether it's smart security cameras, lights and thermostats or equipment sensors, credit card readers, and smart labels, small businesses are incorporating IoT devices into their day-to-day business. Yet, with each new device that's connected to the network comes new security risks that hackers can exploit. 

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Topics: internet, cybersecurity

Law Firm Cybersecurity Threats:  More Risk, More Responsibility

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jan 24, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Law firms are one of the most attractive targets for cybercriminals. They have a treasure trove of information that has value and can be sold for financial gain. Whether it's corporate secrets, business strategies, intellectual property or personally identifiable and payment information, there is a market for this information that can line the pockets of criminals. The high risk should elicit a serious response from law firms, especially given the ethical obligations they have to protect clients' confidential information. Meeting these obligations by continually ensuring that efforts to secure information are effective in an threat environment that is evolving is especially challenging.

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Topics: cybersecurity

Cybersecurity Insurance Protection for Small Businesses

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jan 17, 2017 8:33:00 AM

Cyberthreats loom large, and businesses of all sizes are at risk.  Small and medium-sized businesses are the victims of 62% of cyberattacks, and while the costs of recovering are significant for large businesses, they can be devastating for small companies. Insuring against that risk is one solution. Cybersecurity liability insurance is a relatively new product, but given the statistics noted above, both the demand and the market are rapidly growing. Offering a new product in an evolving market presents challenges, but that should not necessarily dissuade businesses in need of a backstop from buying.

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Topics: small business, cybersecurity

A Survival Plan for a Cybersecurity Event -- NIST Recommendations

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jan 10, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Last week, TECHPol reported on the ominous trends for increased cyberthreats in 2017. We encouraged businesses to review their cybersecurity strategies and bolster their defenses. Still, no matter how strong those protections and given the craftiness of cybercriminals, it's probably wise to assume your business will be the victim of a breach. And, in that case, it's imperative to plan your recovery as well. That's also the advice of the Federal government's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).  The agency recently published a guide for how to plan an effective recovery plan in response to a cybersecurity event.  Here's a summary of the agency's advice.

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Topics: small business, cybersecurity, cyberthreats

2017 Cybersecurity Threats:  Are You Ready?

Posted by Lori Salley Ring

Jan 3, 2017 8:30:00 AM

Stories of high profile cyberattacks were plentiful in 2016.  Experts predict those threats will grow in 2017. While we may hear more in the news about the big targets and massive breaches, small and medium-sized businesses remain the victims of most attacks and the least likely to recover. In 2017, small firms should resolve to bolster their defenses and prepare a response plan in the event of a breach.

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Topics: cybercrime, cybersecurity, small business IT, cybersecurity

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FocusData: TECHPol is a blog on technology and business policy issues affecting small and mid-sized companies.  TECHPol’s primary author, Lori Salley Ring, spent 20-plus years working on Capitol Hill, including as the top staffer on the House Committee on Small Business.  FDS is an IT consulting firm providing managed services, office tech relocation, network security, and IT support for businesses in the Washington, DC and Northern Virginia area.

Technology Policy Small Business


About the Author

Lori Salley Ring

Lori Salley Ring

Lori serves as Policy Advisor and Communications Specialist for Focus Data Solutions.  Lori spent more than 20 years working for the U.S. Congress, including as Chief of Staff to a member of the House leadership and as the Staff Director for the Committee on Small Business.  Lori also ran a Washington-based non-profit organization between stints working for the Federal government. 

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