Online Social Circles are becoming riskier

 by Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft Chief Online Safety Officer

Bullying, unwanted contact and receiving unwelcome sexual images and messages were the most prominent risks in our latest digital civility research and, while strangers still pose the majority of online threats, data show a distinct rise in risk-exposure from people’s own social circles.

According to preliminary results from our latest study, 63 percent of online risks were sourced from strangers and people whom respondents knew only online – largely unchanged from the previous year. Meanwhile, 28 percent of online risks came from family and friends, up 11 points. In addition, findings revealed a relationship between risk-exposure and familiarity with the perpetrator: respondents who had met their abuser in real life were almost twice as likely to experience an online risk. More disheartening were indications that people were targeted because of their personal characteristics, namely gender, age and physical appearance.

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Securely connecting while on vacation

It's winter and everyone wants to get out of town to somewhere warm. While it's easy to stay connected to your office, it needs to be done securely. Some guidance for you and your staff.

The snow gently falls outside as you kick back in your Snuggie, ready to conquer that Netflix backlog. You’ve earned it! During the months leading up to winter, you vanquished any and all network security vulnerabilities threatening your digital kingdom, and now, your office is more secure than the Fortress of Solitude.

But then, you look at your watch and realize the minutes are melting away, even though the outside world is freezing over. Days are getting shorter, and the seasons are changing. While you’ve admirably confronted office security head-on, cold weather heralds more travel, as employees seek to escape the freezing temperatures for warmer paradises. More travel means more devices outside your newly secured office.

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Deep Web & Dark Web basics

Occassionally we get asked about the deep web and dark web. They are two very different places. Norton by Symantec has done a good job of explaining the differences as well as talk about the basics.

Believe it or not, accessing the deep web is easier than you think. In fact, you probably already have. The media hasn’t done a great job of differentiating what’s considered the deep web and what is the dark web — two similar names for two very different things.

What is the deep web? 

The deep web is just like it sounds — below the surface and not completely dark.

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo are able to search and index websites because of links. They use links to rank search results according to things like relevancy, inbound links, and keywords. Browsers search the so-called “surface web,” but that’s where the search stops.

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Predictions of future office environments

It’s truly challenging to keep up.  More is changing in the world of technology than is remaining the same. Our friends at HP (think mainstream computing, rather than bleeding edge companies) takes a look at wearables, what’s going to happen to your office (think of a rudimentary holodeck) AI assistants and translators.  Hang on – it’s going to be quite a ride!

Wild things are coming your way

There’s so much changing in the IT world at this very moment—from transitioning to Device as a Service to managing the security of an increasingly mobile workforce—that it’s hard to look beyond next month, much less the next decade. So we did it for you. (You’re welcome.) Here are five burgeoning technologies that we think will radically change the way you work.

HR-monitored wearables

The idea: Not feeling well? Don’t worry about calling in sick—HR will do it for you. The office of the future will use a Device-as-a-Service model that includes wearable tech that your company will use to keep tabs on your health. It could be as simple as a smart watch or as sophisticated as “earables”—in-ear devices that can monitor temperature and heart rate as part of their wide range of features.

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Empowering your remote workforce

You probably know at least a few friends working from home these days. The trend is on the upswing, despite what headlines about companies pulling employees back into the office may suggest. Survey guru Gallup swizzled the numbers and found 43 percent of American workers were already part of the remote workforce, a number expected to hit 50 percent by 2020.

It’s thanks to mobile office technology that this swing toward offices without borders is even happening. Former desk jockeys are tapping into smartphones and laptops to access email, group chat apps, remote printing, instant messaging, screen and file sharing, videoconferencing, and VPNs—all from their kitchen tables or their beach houses.

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