Tag: online security

When Everything is Going Your Way, You’re In The Wrong Lane

When Everything is Going Your Way, You’re In The Wrong Lane

Yesterday some one from Viet Nam was trying to access my gmail account.  Google alerted me several times that someone not from where I live was doing this.  I changed my password and it stopped, for now.  Why should you care?
I use that account for Video conferencing and online platforms.
Some VTC software companies may not have the user’s best interest in mind.  I just heard that a  well-known VTC company is currently being sued for allegedly selling user data to third parties, including a popular social media company. According to the lawsuit, a VTC company has provided the third-party with customer information, including details of the device used.
Like all online accounts, it’s important to use complex passwords coupled with two-factor authentication, even though it is a pain. The majority of online platforms offer two-factor authentication in the form of SMS text messages or even through the use of an Authenticator App. Additionally, it’s important to never use the same password for all your accounts.
I am not sure which company my friends were referring to but if you are using a FREE service to broadcast, stream or post, those companies may sell your information.  Nothing is really free my friends.  The threat is real.
Remember, when everything is coming your way, you are in the wrong lane.
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Protecting Your Church Online

Protecting Your Church Online

Using Zoom, YouTube and Facebook

Early adopters and tech savvy pastors I know have allowed or started to use tech like Zoom, Youtube and Facebook Live,  to reach their congregations recently.  I applaud that.  Some are fighting it with the tenacity of a Luddite.  Our elders are also having a tougher time deciding if they will finally join that Space Book or not.  
For those in the ministry, we don’t have a choice if we are true to our Call.  We are to serve,  to preach, reach and teach the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We are charged to “feed My sheep.”  The method is not in the Book.  
The internet is a beautiful thing. It is bigger than America Online.  With the entire web, it’s possible to access almost any information, communicate with anyone else in the world, and do exactly what we are called to do globally.  It is also full of darkness, dangers and predators. 

Online Security

People use the same platforms to steal personal information, sell and send us things contrary to God.  Using tricks that prey on our psychology they can socially engineer our responses through “phishing, 
Phishing is when the anonymous attacker attempts to trick you into giving them your credentials or access to your system. Phishers attempt to play on your emotions, often including disturbing or enticing information in their emails in an attempt to provoke you to act. They may try to create a false sense of urgency by saying “your account will be deleted” or that “you are over your email storage space.” They often urge you to act immediately to “update” or “verify” your account information. 
Often, the goal of a phishing attack is to get you to provide your login credentials or other sensitive information like your social security number or financial institution information. This information could then be used to gain access to your private accounts or to steal your identity. You should be suspicious of any email that asks you to provide personal information or that directs you to a webpage that ask for this information.
Another goal of phishing is to trick you into downloading malicious code onto your computer. This can occur when you click a link or open an attachment. The malicious code can then do any number of very bad things to you, your computer and your contacts. 

Zoom 

Zoom has sharply risen in popularity since the spread of coronavirus ended group gatherings forced many to work from home.
I am hoping to issue a warning to the Church that there are predators in this space too.  Taylor Lorenz of the the New York Times  wrote and article about “zoom raiders” that have begun infiltrating meetings with malicious intent. The New York Times this month reported multiple instances of online abuse, ranging from unwanted pornographic images to instances of verbal harassment.
As Zoom’s user base has grown in recent weeks, reports of “Zoombombing,” or “Zoom raiding,” have spread across the internet.
Public school classes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, yoga sessions and other virtual gatherings have been derailed by participants. Some of the these Zoombombers have been students, frustrated by online schooling and eager to escape the virtual classroom by any means. Others have weaponized the platform’s security flaws to harass specific populations using racial slurs, sexist remarks and pornography.
It’s nearly impossible to prevent these attacks, especially when an event is public by design but I can help the administrators secure it with some tips if you contact me.  I will be posting a list of recommendations later. 
Rev. Kenn Blanchard 
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