As computing power increases and cyber threats multiply,

we'll see big changes...some very soon, others down the road.

The end of passwords

> The average employee has 191 passwords, and 80% of breaches are the result of stolen passwords. Your phone’s biometrics — particularly face scans —  will replace passwords, allowing you to more securely access email, bank accounts, websites, and apps.

More control of your personal information

> Apple is about to give users more choices in how apps like Facebook and WhatsApp treat their personal information. And Congress may eventually enact privacy laws similar to those in Europe that allow anyone to be “forgotten” by search engines.

Streaming video crackdown

> This year, another 27% of cable TV users will switch to streaming apps like Netflix and HBO Max. Those networks aren't profitable yet, so some streaming networks will merge and raise rates, and most will follow Netflix, which has announced a crackdown on users who share passwords.

Massive computing power comes home

> “Quantum computing,” with computers that deliver far more power than today’s home PCs, will eventually deliver supercomputing to the home. The size of hard drives will also increase dramatically: a Japanese company has just unveiled an 80 terabyte drive, which is enough to store four million hours of movies.

Smarter watches, earbuds, and glasses

> Smartwatches and earbuds will add important functionality, monitoring blood sugar, sleep patterns, blood pressure, and heart health. New computerized eyeglasses will display turn-by-turn directions and view information about nearby restaurants and stores as you move.

5G wireless begins to deliver

> Super-fast wireless internet will allow vehicles to communicate, adjusting to approaching traffic conditions, and reducing the number of auto accidents. 5G will also replace your home Wi-Fi, securely tying together smart appliances and apps, allowing you to work from home much more securely.

The rise of "zero trust"

> Many organizations will use technology to limit the types of websites, apps, files, and emails that employees can access online. This “zero trust” approach is a response to today’s fastest-growing cybersecurity problem: ransomware, where crooks lock computers and networks so the owners can’t access information. A ransomware attack occurs every 14 seconds.  

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> Chinese hackers have gained access to as many as 250,000 Microsoft Exchange email server accounts used by governments, hospitals, schools, and corporations across the US. While this is a serious cyber breach, it does not involve consumer versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook

> T-Mobile is about to begin tracking its customers’ web browsing and app usage habits in order to serve up targeted advertising unless the customer opts out. The company says it will not be able to identify individual customers’ habits, but ZDNet says privacy advocates disagree.

> Working with states, the FTC has shut down a fraudulent robocall operation that requested donations to help firefighters, veterans, and children. The crooks placed over 1.3 billion automated calls and collected $110 million in donations. Some victims were called 500 times, twice an hour. Only .01% of the money collected was distributed to charities. 

> What’s the future of social media? Perhaps it’s virtual reality, as in the 3-D headsets used in online gaming. Facebook has 10,000 employees working on VR. TheVerge says that accounts for about 1 in 5 Facebook employees.

I often get emails that look fake or do not look trustworthy. I usually delete without opening the email but sometimes I open to check to see if it is a valid sender. Can my account get hacked by just opening a fake email or only if I follow a link? — Maria M.

You should be OK just viewing a suspicious email, as long as you don’t click on a link or download an attachment. But it's wise to install and subscribe to a reputable anti-virus application like McAfee, Malwarebytes, Norton, or Avast in case something gets through.

If you never use public Wi-Fi, is it still a good idea to use VPN? — Margaret L.

You never use public Wi-Fi, Margaret? Smart! A VPN prevents anyone from tracking what you do on the internet or seeing where your computer is located. So, you get better privacy when using a VPN. On the other hand, a VPN may slow down your internet connection, particularly when talking on Zoom or other videoconference platforms.

Is there a way to get rid of something on the internet completely? — Mia H.

Generally in the US, once something is posted to the internet, it’s there forever. Companies that claim to fix someone’s negative online reputation do it by posting lots of positive things designed to push the bad stuff further on down search engine results.

The CPS Cybersecurity Team is dedicated to keeping you and your family safe online. If you think you've clicked on a phishing email, an urgent text message, or received a suspicious voice mail, alert your supervisor right away so we can check it out. 

Have a cybersecurity question? Let us know!

Aware Force Cybersecurity News • March 2021 b • Edition #116

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