IT Security For Libraries

Are your mobile apps spying on you?

Are your mobile apps spying on you?
Why is this a big deal? Because phone numbers are some of the most personal information available about anyone. They are a semi-permanent unique identification number that also serves as a direct way to reach you at all times. Giving someone else your number means you trust them to not abuse it, call you at 3 a.m. for no reason, or spray paint it on a restroom wall.

But can you trust these Web apps -- especially those that grab your numbers without asking -- to not abuse it? The answer is that we shouldn't have to. Maybe now, thanks to the Path debacle, we won't.

A Research Agenda Acknowledging the Persistence of Passwords

A Research Agenda Acknowledging the Persistence of Passwords
Despite countless attempts and near-universal desire to replace them, passwords are more widely used and firmly entrenched than ever. Our exploration of this leads us to argue that no silver bullet will meet all requirements, and not only will passwords be with us for some time, but in many instances they are the solution which best fits the scenario of use. Among broad authentication research directions to follow, we first suggest better means to concretely identify actual requirements (surprisingly overlooked to date) and weight their relative importance in target scenarios; this will support approaches aiming to identify best-fit mechanisms in light of requirements. Second, for scenarios where indeed passwords appear to be the best-fit solution, we suggest designing better means to support passwords themselves. We highlight the need for more systematic research, and how the premature conclusion that passwords are dead has lead to the neglect of important research questions.

The secret stalker within your phone

If you've ever wondered just what's going on inside some of those apps on your phone, you'll want to take a look at this!
Secret iOS business; what you don’t know about your apps
Developers can get away with more sloppy or sneaky practices in mobile apps as the execution is usually further out of view. You can smack the user with a massive asynchronous download as their attention is on other content; but it kills their data plan. You can track their moves across entirely autonomous apps; but it erodes their privacy. And most importantly to me, you can jeopardise their security without their noticing; but the potential ramifications are severe.

Keeping Current In IT Security

I have almost 300 feeds in my feed reader dedicated to security now. You probably don't need to read that much about security! If so, here's an OPML file: http://lisnews.org/files/blakes-security-subscriptions.xml

If that's too much (and it almost certainly is) here are some recommended sources I think you'll find will keep you up to date in the field, and won't overwhelm you with too much information!

Recommended - Easy To Follow:

SANS Newsletters http://www.securingthehuman.org/resources/newsletters/

Schneier on Security : http://www.schneier.com/blog/

Naked Security – Sophos : http://nakedsecurity.sophos.com/

Security FAQs : http://www.security-faqs.com/

SANS Information Security Reading Room : http://www.sans.org/reading_room/

Scurity Now Podcast : http://grc.com/securitynow.htm

Recommended - More In Depth:

TechRepublic: IT Security : http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/security/

Lenny Zeltser : http://blog.zeltser.com/

Threatpost: http://threatpost.com/en_us/frontpage

Packet Storm : http://packetstormsecurity.org/

MOREnet Security News : http://www.more.net/content/security-2

Root Secure : http://www.rootsecure.net/

Security Bloggers Network : http://www.securitybloggersnetwork.com/

This was part 10 in my 10 part series on IT Security In Libraries. I'm also presenting this a few times this fall, I'll post those PPTs sooner than later.

15 tips for social media security in libraries

This is part Nine in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries.
Part 8 was the first half of this post, Social Media Security In Libraries
In Part 7 I listed many lists full of practical advice that covered just about everything dealing with IT security in libraries.
Part Six was really the first part of this post. I dealt with security in libraries, mostly theory, while this post is more practical, and is mostly lists.
In part 5 I covered 20 Common Security Myths, and how to defeat them.
Part 4 was a general "How To Stay Safe Online" post that covered topics like patching/updating, watching links and downloads, and using good passwords.
In Part Three I covered passwords.
In part 2 we talked privacy.
In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security.

It is important all users understand there are real threats posed by social media sites. I'm not trying to scare you into hiding in a cave here, but you should know places like Facebook and twitter are infected with bad guys who are working hard to cause trouble for all of us. Those bad guys will try to connect with as many people as possible, creating a sense of trust that makes it easier to use people to carry out their plans. Common schemes include things like social media identity theft, taking over of a brand's social media presence, phishing, viruses, worms, and just about any other common online risk. I've collected 15 common and easy tips to make your social media sites as secure as possible.

  1. Understand and adjust your privacy settings
  2. Be sure you know what apps have access to your accounts
  3. Be very cautious about how you handle your account credentials
  4. Know how to recover accounts if they are compromised
  5. Whatch those emails that look like they come from facebook/Twitter
  6. Use HTTPS
  7. Use good passwords
  8. Think about what you're sharing
  9. Be skeptical of everything, especially ANYONE asking you for money
  10. Watch out for downloads
  11. Watch out for short links
  12. Just assume anyone can read everything you post, AND every post is
    permanent
  13. Choose unique logins and passwords for each of the websites you use
  14. Make sure your OS, browsers and Plugins are all updated
  15. What if one day twitter/facebook/whomever just takes it away?

Social Media Security In Libraries

This is part Eight in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries. In Part 7 I listed many lists full of practical advice that covered just about everything dealing with IT security in libraries. Part Six was really the first part of this post. I dealt with security in libraries, mostly theory, while this post is more practical, and is mostly lists. In part 5 I covered 20 Common Security Myths, and how to defeat them. Part 4 was a general "How To Stay Safe Online" post that covered topics like patching/updating, watching links and downloads, and using good passwords. In Part Three I covered passwords. In part 2 we talked privacy. In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security. Libraries and librarians are fully embracing social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIN and Facebook. Our libraries use them to connect with and engage our patrons, increase library visibility and communicate information. We each use them to connect with old friends, sell ourselves, stay up to date with the world around us, and keep in touch with family. There are serious security risks involved with most social sites that can be avoided by following some very simple rules. The bad guys are finding it very easy to use these sites to cause trouble. Scammers, stalkers, phishers, spammers, hackers and every other kind of evil doer on the internet are finding new ways to get into our social networks every day. They are using links to spread malware and spam, and they're always one step ahead. They're using it to fill social media sites with evil, e.g. chat bots, captcha crackers, malware, spam, control botnets, blackhat SEO, etc…

Practical IT Security In Libraries

This is part Seven in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries.
Part Six was really the first part of this post. I dealt with security in libraries, mostly theory, while this post is more practical, and is mostly lists.
In part 5 I covered 20 Common Security Myths, and how to defeat them.
Part 4 was a general "How To Stay Safe Online" post that covered topics like patching/updating, watching links and downloads, and using good passwords.
In Part Three I covered passwords.
In part 2 we talked privacy.
In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security.

Let's face it, security is tough in libraries. We have no shortage of access points. We deal with any number of vendors, who may or may not be secure. Threats come from within the libraries (patrons), and from external sites anywhere in the world. Our patrons are bringing in all sorts of Wi-Fi enabled things. And any new security stuff we want to add will get push back from our coworkers, and cost money that's not in the budget. In this post I've created a bunch of random, though related, lists that can be used to help get started with security in your library. It's a follow up and companion to Integrating IT Security In Your Library and should help put some of that theory into practice. You probably won't need every point from every list, but I'm hoping presenting them in this way will save you time, and start you on the path to increasing security. I hope to expand each list into a full length post in the future.

What are the biggest mistakes you can make in your library?
Not preparing
Not training
Ignoring it and thinking you're safe
Not having a good understanding of what keeps you safe
Not knowing what your vendors are doing or will do when something goes wrong

In general, your security preparations should...
Help prevent or detect an intrusion
Help stop nefarious code from being executed
Help stop trouble from spreading
Helps stop data from being stolen
Build in accountability (Everyone should have a defined role, and this should include both staff and patrons)
Be specific and practical when presented to help ensure buy in
Clearly explain consequences to help ensure buy in
Cover what to do when things go wrong, how to handle specific troubles, who to call, etc..
Include behavior and acceptable use policies for both staff and patrons
Security training for both staff and patrons should answer WHY
Remember, Bad security policies cost time, money, reputation and trust

Integrating IT Security In Your Library

This is part Six in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries. In part 5 I covered 20 Common Security Myths, and how to defeat them. Part 4 was a general "How To Stay Safe Online" post that covered topics like patching/updating, watching links and downloads, and using good passwords. In Part Three I covered passwords. In part 2 we talked privacy. In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security. Today's post is long on theory. I'll argue that most any library can be a target, and present some ideas on how to make things more secure in your library.

20 Common Security Myths

This is part five in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries. Part 4 was a general "How To Stay Safe Online" post that covered topics like patching/updating, watching links and downloads, and using good passwords. In Part Three I covered passwords. In part 2 we talked privacy. In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security.

Today's post is short and sweet, 20 myths I've run across while working on the series. I've tried to include a link on most of them that explains why something is wrong.

Staying Safe Online

This is part four in my many part series on IT Security In Libraries. In Part Three I covered passwords. In part 2 we talked privacy. In Part One I tried to lay the foundation for security.

Today's post is a big bunch of tips (in convenient list form) on how to keep yourself safe while surfing the web. A bundle of easy practical tips you can take anywhere to make your computers safer. This is a pretty long list that can be boiled down to three important bullet points:

  • Keep everything patched and updated
  • Never trust anything
  • Use good passwords

On your computer:

Keep that OS patched and updated. Related: Don’t use Windows XP
Disable hidden filename extensions
Make sure ALL those programs are updated. Especially don’t miss anything made by Adobe (e.g. Flash & Acrobat)
Never install things you’re not sure are safe. Especially don’t trust anything from Torrents or P2P sites. Avoid downloading programs from unknown sources
If you're not using something, just remove it. Every program installed on your computer opens a potential new hole.
Make sure your firewall is turned on
Make sure file sharing is turned off
Use a reputable virus & malware protection software program, keep it up to date and run it often
Make sure that the Macro Virus Protection feature is enabled in all Microsoft applications
Never trust any links, attachments, short links, or anything else from anywhere or anyone unless you are SURE what’s inside
Have a recovery plan - Is your stuff backed up?
If it's a laptop, use something like Prey Project
Advanced: Consider changing up your hosts file and/or using something like OPEN DNS.

Your Wi-Fi At Home:

Make sure you set a good password and use WPA or WPA2
Be sure to change the default Administrator Passwords (and Usernames)
Change the Default SSID and also disable SSID Broadcast
Turn off DHCP and set a fixed IP address range instead
Use MAC Address Filtering
When you're not using it, just turn it off
Be sure to keep the firmware upgraded
Change your passwords every so often

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