Two-factor authentication comes to Amazon Ring, why upgrading Windows is important and big drama at MGM hotels.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Friday February 21st . I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for ITWorldCanada.com.

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One of the worries about Internet-connected home surveillance systems is that they can be hacked, giving strangers a view of the inside or outside your residence. Poor product security and bad password choices are to blame. Well, this week Amazon said it is now making two-factor authentication mandatory for buyers of its Ring home security system. So anyone who wants to log into their Ring account and access video feeds will be sent an extra code called two-factor authentication to their smartphones or email. They have to enter that code, in addition to a username and password. This comes after several users complained that strangers were accessing their Ring video cameras and microphones and harassing them. It’s important for people who connect any device to the Internet — computers, smartphones, smart speakers, surveillance cameras — to find out if the device allows two-factor authentication. If so, sign up for it. And remember, if the extra code is sent to a smartphone add a PIN number to your carrier account. That’s extra protection to prevent someone from hijacking your phone.

Some think data theft is a quick in and out once a hacker gets into a system. Nope. Criminals need to look around to see what’s worth stealing. The bigger the company the longer they take. The latest example emerged this week. A big technology supplier to businesses called Citrix has told some employees that hackers had access to its systems over five months before stealing personal and financial data about employees, contractors and job applicants. Security reporter Brian Krebs, who broke the story, noted Citrix has said the attackers broke in by finding weak employee passwords.

Security costs money. It costs to upgrade Windows. However, newer versions of the operating system come with better resistance to attacks. Evidence of this comes in a report released this week from a security company called Webroot. Systems running Windows 7 are nearly three times as likely to get infected as those running Windows 10. The good news is that 82 per cent of consumer PCs ran Windows 10 last year. The bad news is that 63 per cent of business PCs were running it. More than 25 per cent of business PCs were running Windows 7. You may recall me telling you that Microsoft stopped issuing patches for Windows 7 last month, which is the best reason people still using it should upgrade or buy new computers. The other is the evidence that a newer operating system is just safer.

Another hotel chain has been hacked. MGM Resorts, which runs hotels like the MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, New York New York, Luxor and Excalibur and Bellagio in Las Vegas as well as hotels in Atlantic City and Detroit, was victimized. Personal data like names, dates of birth and email addresses on over 10 million people are now available for sale on the dark web. If you’ve recently stayed at one of these hotels watch your email carefully for suspicious messages.

Finally, if you use Adobe After Effects for graphics and Media Encoder for making audio and video files make sure they are patched. This week Adobe released updates that plug serious holes.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at ITWorldCanada.com. That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening. I’m Howard Solomon



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