Perspectives

Yahoo was hacked in 2014.  Shamefully, the news was released only in September 2016.  It was one of the biggest data breaches in history and even encrypted passwords were stolen. So, firstly, if you have a Yahoo account, change your Yahoo password now.

But the breach may impact you beyond just your Yahoo account.  When Integrated Media Strategies builds websites for clients or helps them with their small business email accounts, we create long, randomized passwords like s0cnZS)XD'H[4RmkL. We'll get grumbling that they are impossible to remember.  We usually spell out the cost of a site brought down by malware or that's been hacked because of poor security practices.  "Username: Admin Password: Admin" is something we've seen too often.  Clients will also entrust us with access to their hosting and other accounts, and when we see their passwords, it's often a variant of their children, dog or something like "Passw0rd".  They reuse that same password everywhere to save the hassle of remembering multiple passwords, unaware of how a breach in one place can have a cascading impact on all their accounts.

One area of the work we do is helping small and micro businesses as a digital communications service provider and coach.  Having been involved in more than a dozen startups over my career, I know that money and resources are usually tight at startups. So nothing irks me more than getting the type of call I did recently from a client saying they were going to work with a 'SEO specialist' who had told them the web platform their site was built on was unsuitable for SEO, which stands for Search Engine Optimization, and that it needed to be redone and then they could get them page one rankings in a week. 

The platform on which their site was built is a leading open-source solution well-suited to the application for which it was built. For small business owners, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

So let's look at the changing landscape of SEO and whether a technical solution will produce the results promised.

In a 48-hour period, I received a series of Friend requests on Facebook, all from people I didn't know or with whom I hadn't done business. The requests were out of sync with my marketing, and statistically were unlikely. This blog looks at ways to protect yourself from requests to connect from fake accounts.

My first thought was that in the run-up to the U.S. elections, this was probably part of parties and candidates building up fake account portfolios to be able to bolster support for positions by using these bots as a kind of greek chorus. These are the accounts that shout the talking points and jump on naysayers.  If you have enough of them, their point of view becomes overwhelming.

But these are not the only source of fake accounts. Fake and malicious connections on social media are used to put together pieces of data needed for ID theft and other scams.