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Tips to keep passwords and accounts secure

With a lot of people doing online transactions due to social distancing restrictions, unscrupulous persons also relentlessly attempt to steal passwords and other important information to commit fraud, access financial accounts, damage reputations or even destroy lives.

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“It’s my 30th birthday.” “We’re celebrating our 10th anniversary today.” “Call me on 12345678,” “My address is…” “I love Blackie, my dog”. These statements might seem harmless but hackers are constantly on the lookout for any information posted online which can help them answer security questions and gain access to passwords.

With a lot of people doing online transactions due to social distancing restrictions, unscrupulous persons  also relentlessly attempt to steal passwords and other important information to commit fraud, access financial accounts, damage reputations or even destroy lives.

The situation becomes more alarming as 32% of Filipinos surveyed continue to reuse five or fewer passwords across all their accounts while 29% still write down their passwords, according to a study conducted by FICO, an analytics software company based in Silicon Valley.

“As a company which provides consumers with connectivity, we also want to keep them safe from malicious activities especially at this time when many are staying at home and are relying more than ever on apps and online services for various reasons. Passwords are the keys to our accounts, making it imperative to ensure that our passwords are well protected to ensure the safety of our accounts,” said Anton Bonifacio, Globe Chief Information Security Officer.

SplashData’s analysis of millions of passwords leaked on the internet showed that among the most common passwords in 2020  are the following:  123456, 123456789, qwerty, password, 1234567, 12345678, 12345 Iloveyou, 111111, 123123, Nothing, Secret, Password1, and Admin.  To check if a password can be hacked in six seconds or in six trillion years, visit www.howsecureismypassword.net.

32% of Filipinos surveyed continue to reuse five or fewer passwords across all their accounts while 29% still write down their passwords, according to a study conducted by FICO.

Thus, Globe continuously reminds its consumers to use different passwords for multiple accounts as well as turn their password into a passphrase.  This passphrase must be a combination of uppercase, lowercase, symbols and numbers; does not contain personal information such as names, birthdays, and addresses;  and has to be a weird phrase that can be easily remembered. Even better is to use a free password management software that generates strong random passwords and integrates to browsers or even the phone for ease of use.

As an added layer of protection, Globe recommends setting up two-factor verification on accounts that allows it.  On top of the password, this requires a code that can be received via SMS, a phone call or a separate authentication app, in order to log in. However, app-based One-Time PIN  generators must be the user’s first choice while SMS OTP should be avoided and be considered as a last resort.

When possible, Globe also pushes the use of new technologies like biometrics with fingerprint, retinal or facial scan for added security.  In fact, FICO said 76% of those surveyed are willing to use fingerprint scan while 40% and 23% are amenable to facial and eye scan, respectively.

Aside from hacking,  people also have to be wary of scammers who directly get in touch with their target victims through social media or mobile phones.  According to Globe, there are those who pose as company personnel offering products, services, or assistance but with the intention to defraud consumers.  Globe said it will never ask for passwords or OTPs and customers should never disclose this to anyone.

“The strongest of passwords is only as secure as the person that keeps it. Almost all account takeover, based on our experience, happens due to social engineering. So always be vigilant,” said Bonifacio.

For mobile-based scams, Globe encourages customers to report mobile numbers responsible for these types of messages to https://www.globe.com.ph/stop-spam.html#gref.

While doing its best to protect the data of its customers, Globe stressed that the conscious involvement of the public is also important. Through its Digital Thumbprint Program and #MakeItSafePH campaign, Globe continues to promote proper online behavior and responsible internet usage among consumers to keep them safe from numerous threats present on the internet. To learn more about Globe Telecom, visit www.globe.com.ph.

Tech & Innovation

Work-from-home cybersecurity tips

Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fact that people are working from home and using that to their advantage. They are using ransomware, phishing scams, malware, and more to gain access to companies’ systems for profit.

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Since the pandemic began and the majority of people’s lives was forced online, cybercrime has soared. The Cyber Division of the FBI recently released to incredible statistics on what they are seeing during the pandemic. At one point, the division was getting up to 4,000 complaints of cyberattacks a day. That number is a 400% increase from the number of complaints before the pandemic started.

It is not just a US issue either. The European-based international police organization, Interpol reports that “with organizations and businesses rapidly deploying remote systems and networks to support staff working from home, criminals are also taking advantage of increased security vulnerabilities to steal data, generate profits and cause disruption.”

The global pandemic has forced people to work from home and criminals are taking advantage of this with a growing number of attacks.

These statistics and statements both point to the same thing. Cybercriminals are taking advantage of the fact that people are working from home and using that to their advantage. They are using ransomware, phishing scams, malware, and more to gain access to companies’ systems for profit.  

Who are Cyberattackers Targeting?

The short answer is, ransomware attackers will attack anyone with a computer and an internet connection without thinking twice about it. Big companies, small businesses, nonprofits, municipalities, and even individuals are all seen as potential targets. This is a crime designed to make the criminals money so the more people and organizations they attack, the more chances they have that their ransom will be paid.

That said, there are institutions that these criminals are attacking at a much higher rate and with much more intensity than others. Right now, because of how hectic these organizations are due to the coronavirus and how many people they have – many of whom are working from home – these places are more susceptible to attacks than others. This includes large, multinational companies, the healthcare industry, schools, and local governments.

Recent Attacks

No one can be sure from the outside that all the recent, major cyberattacks are due to working at home. Only when a skilled cybersecurity company like MonsterCloud reviews the attack can the true source of the attack be found. However, the sheer increase in successful attacks paired with the COVID-related stay-at-home orders makes it a good bet that the two things are related.

Here are some tips to deal with (possible) cyberattacks:

Tip #1: Make Sure Systems are Up to Date

Still hitting “Remind Me Tomorrow” on that system update prompt the computer has been reminding about since the pandemic started? If so, it’s way past time to install any updates that are needed.

Tip #2: Make Sure Anti-Virus Software is Up to Date

The tip is to keep anti-virus software up to date, but that is assuming the software is being used. If not, stop reading this right now and go install one. Anti-virus software is the easiest way to protect from hackers. Like in most situations, the criminals will always be ahead of the people trying to stop them but anti-virus software will catch the majority of attacks before they harm the system.

Tip #3: Watch Out for COVID-19 Phishing Scams

When MonsterCloud reviews the ransomware attacks that have happened during the pandemic, the company has found that many have started with pandemic-related phishing emails. These emails are designed to take advantage of people’s curiosity and thirst for knowledge about pandemic-related topics.

Tip #4: Watch the Wireless Internet 

Whether logging onto the internet-based cloud or a company’s in-house servers to access the company’s systems, chances are people are using WiFi to do so. Securing WiFi is of critical importance when working from home. If the home WiFi is not password protected, that is something that needs to be done. If it is, make sure that the password is a strong password and not the default one the router came with. Using something like an address or “password1234” is also not a good idea.  

Conclusion

Cybercrime, especially ransomware is a huge problem right now. The global pandemic has forced people to work from home and criminals are taking advantage of this with a growing number of attacks. By following these few simple tips though, everyone can be better prepared to work from home and have less of a chance of being the cause of a cyberattack on their company.

Unfortunately, even if people follow all these tips and more, cybercriminals are so good at what they do these days, someone may still find themselves the victim of a ransomware attack no matter what they do. If this happens, don’t panic. Don’t pay the ransom. Don’t leave it to an in-house IT department. Call the cybersecurity experts.

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BizNews

APAC SMEs adapting well to new realities of remote-first business environment – SAP

APAC SMEs are well positioned to adapt to a remote working environment by taking swift actions to implement and adjust remote work arrangements for employees in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 77% reported that they adjusted remote work arrangements for employees in response to COVID-19, as compared to respondents in Europe (75%) and the Americas (71%).

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SAP SE unveiled findings for the study Digital Resilient, and Experience-driven: How Small and Midsize Organisations Can Prepare for the New Economy. The study highlights how small and midsize enterprises (SMEs) in Asia-Pacific (APAC) are uniquely positioned to adapt and thrive in the dynamic and distributed post-COVID-19 business environment.

Conducted in collaboration with Oxford Economics, the study also delved into the priorities, challenges, and digital maturity of SMEs in the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Of the total 2,000 respondents, 832 respondents were from the following APAC markets: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, and South Korea. A section detailing answers from 240 respondents on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was also added to the survey mid-fieldwork.

Adapting To The New World Of Work

According to the 240 that responded to the series of COVID-19 questions, APAC SMEs are well positioned to adapt to a remote working environment by taking swift actions to implement and adjust remote work arrangements for employees in response to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 77% reported that they adjusted remote work arrangements for employees in response to COVID-19, as compared to respondents in Europe (75%) and the Americas (71%).

Additionally, 61% of APAC SMEs surveyed created remote work set-ups for employees during this period, while 69% invested in IT and collaboration solutions to support remote access and/or online learning. Interestingly, 10% of APAC SMEs reported that the pandemic has no impact on their ability to accommodate remote work and maintain employee productivity.

On top of supporting business continuity during this period, many APAC SMEs are also actively exploring new channels to get their products and services to customers (66%, vs. 64% in the Americas and 59% in Europe) and developing new products and service offerings (46%, vs. 40% in the Americas and 49% in Europe). 

“SMEs across the region—like their counterparts around the world—have certain advantages over larger competitors in terms of agility and closeness to the customer,” said Edward Cone, Editorial Director of Thought Leadership and Technology Practice Lead at Oxford Economics. “Yet even before the pandemic, SMEs in APAC also faced meaningful challenges in keeping up the pace of digital transformation.”

Lastly, it was revealed that COVID-19 has significantly impacted APAC SMEs’ ability to compete with larger companies within the same industry, with 45% of APAC SMEs reporting that the pandemic has had a significant effect on their operations and strategies in this area. COVID-19 has also affected the ability to operate at full capacity (45%), the ability of the supply chains to keep up with demands (40%), and the ability to keep existing customers (40%). Some respondents reported that they had to completely restructure business strategy and operations in these areas to mitigate the impact of the pandemic

Anticipating The Road Ahead

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, SMEs in the region reported being optimistic about their long-term prospects. Many APAC SMEs expect that over the next three years, their market share (62%), budget/revenue (76%), number of full-time employees (59%), and profitability (78%) will increase somewhat or substantially.

61% of APAC SMEs surveyed created remote work set-ups for employees during this period, while 69% invested in IT and collaboration solutions to support remote access and/or online learning. Interestingly, 10% of APAC SMEs reported that the pandemic has no impact on their ability to accommodate remote work and maintain employee productivity.

Looking ahead to the next three years, APAC SMEs are prioritising improving the customer experience (40%), growth (38%) and attracting new customers (28%). APAC SMEs believe that the key to providing high-quality customer experience lies in high-quality products and/or services (70%), fast and convenient delivery (64%) and competitive pricing (62%), with the customer-service business function bearing the most responsibility for delivering those experiences (cited by 70% of APAC respondents). Upgrading analytics on customer data is viewed as a go-to strategy to improving customer experience:  28% already have done this across the organisation, and 52% have started to. 

Staying The Course On Digital Transformation

With technology set to play an increasingly critical role in helping APAC SMEs achieve business success in the new digital environment, the study also took a closer look at digital maturity levels of these businesses across the region. Many APAC SMEs say they have made moderate progress toward digital transformation (39%), and 21% have made substantial progress or completely transformed; within three years, 19% expect to have completely transformed. In terms of technological adoption, HR/Talent management software is furthest along (66%), followed by Governance and Cybersecurity software (63%) and Finance and Risk management software (59%). Respondents reported that these technologies are either in use in some applications/projects or are already in use at scale.

Mobile devices and mobile business process enablement, and business management solutions (ERP software) share the top spot in terms of pilot implementation, and APAC SMEs are actively considering emerging technologies, AI/ML and Internet of Things (IoT) as their main investment priority.

Obstacles To Overcome

The road to success does, however, bring challenges. Today, APAC SMEs consider the upskilling/reskilling of the current workforce (30%), lack of coordination between different departments (29%), and inability to gain insights from data (28%) as key internal challenges. In terms of external challenges, APAC SMEs cite changing customer wants and needs (40%), competition from larger organisations (39%), and adapting to a rapidly changing marketplace (27%) as obstacles to their business success.

“Today’s new normal requires businesses to pivot and adapt with speed. SMEs in the region seem to understand that the sense of urgency to digitally transform their businesses will give them an advantage through the pandemic and beyond,” said Claus Andresen, SVP & Head of General Business (SME) and Emerging Markets Growth, Asia Pacific & Japan. “With the adoption of an intelligent enterprise strategy, SMEs can establish a digital core that will power the entire organisation, embedding data-driven insights and decision-making processes across the business. This is crucial in enabling business agility, further strengthening the ability of SMEs to adapt to dynamic market conditions.”

“I am confident SMEs in the region will be able to emerge stronger, having forged closer bonds with customers and employees while developing innovative services and products that will put them on a strong growth trajectory as the world economy recovers,” concluded Andresen.

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Tech & Innovation

Globe partners with Secureworks to help businesses secure their digital transformation

Globe Business will support customers with Secureworks’ integrated portfolio of automated and intelligent solutions, featuring built-in flexibility that scales to a customer’s changing needs. Secureworks Red Cloak Threat Detection and Response (TDR) is a Software-as-a-Service application available with or without a managed services wrapper (MDR), providing rapid threat detection and response along with threat hunting.

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Globe Business, the enterprise arm of Globe, has partnered with Secureworks to help customers strengthen their security posture against cyber threats in a digitally-connected world.

When organizations embrace digital technologies, they expand their attack surfaces and create new gateways for both opportunistic and targeted cyber threats. To help customers secure their progress, Globe Business will offer software and solutions that leverage the Secureworks Red Cloak Analytics Platform to prevent, detect and respond to threats, wherever data moves into, out of, and through customer environments.

“Now, more than ever, businesses need partners who can provide modern security solutions that enable digital transformation while also protecting their data, reputation, and revenue,” said Maureen Perrelli, Secureworks Chief Channel Officer. “We’re pleased to welcome Globe into the Secureworks Global Partner Program so together we can help organizations close their cybersecurity gap with industry-leading software and solutions.”

Globe Business will support customers with Secureworks’ integrated portfolio of automated and intelligent solutions, featuring built-in flexibility that scales to a customer’s changing needs. Secureworks Red Cloak Threat Detection and Response (TDR) is a Software-as-a-Service application available with or without a managed services wrapper (MDR), providing rapid threat detection and response along with threat hunting.

Secureworks, a software company with security at its core, continues to enrich its analytics and solutions with market-leading visibility and threat intelligence gleaned from protecting more than 4,000 customers worldwide. The company processes more than 310 billion cyber events per day and conducts more than 1,000 incident response engagements per year. Its cloud-native platform is complemented by a deep bench of security analysts, researchers, and incident responders.

Globe Business will support customers with Secureworks’ integrated portfolio of automated and intelligent solutions, featuring built-in flexibility that scales to a customer’s changing needs. Secureworks Red Cloak Threat Detection and Response (TDR) is a Software-as-a-Service application available with or without a managed services wrapper (MDR), providing rapid threat detection and response along with threat hunting. Adversarial Security Testing and Security Consulting help customers test security defenses, while Incident Response services help organizations prepare and respond to cyber incidents to help manage the risk of a breach.

“Teaming up with Secureworks allows us to come up with a defense-in-concert strategy, which recommends solutions with fewer security layers but more efficient systems that communicate, act more intelligently, and detect and respond to threats faster,” shared Peter Maquera, Senior Vice President for Globe Business. “We believe that cybersecurity should also be supported by a community. It’s never a battle won by one team alone. Our experience using Secureworks’ services enables us to not only bridge businesses to cybersecurity experts and cyber threat intelligence but also provide predictive, continuous, and responsive protection.”

With Secureworks, Globe Business alleviates the challenges of handling cybersecurity by empowering teams to focus their resources on effective strategies, enabling them to safely promote initiatives that cement their digital presence.

You don’t have to drain your resources to have proactive cybersecurity in place. Backed by expertise and round-the-clock solutions, we can help you secure any outcome. Talk to your dedicated Globe Business Account Manager or visit our website to find out more about Secureworks and the rest of our Cybersecurity Solutions.

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