Best of the Web: September 2017


Our social media feeds are jammed with news about information security right now.

There’s Equifax, the SEC, and new revelations about the Yahoo! breaches. Also, the FCC is “considering” repealing 2015 net neutrality rules, which would loosen the restrictions on how internet service providers can use customer data. And even if you have your data in your hands, border control agents are increasingly confiscating devices and downloading the data without a warrant. (The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU are suing the Department of Homeland Security over this issue.)

It has been a long, slow awakening, but it’s clear now that nearly everyone’s personal data is out there and being used against them in some way. Our identities and financial lives have never been less secure.

The question is: Will knowing this change us? The price of being online is sharing our data, but it’s less like a transaction and more like a hostage situation—for many people, it's your data or your work/social life.

Unfortunately, there are no easy answers, but the WNYC show Note to Self has a lot of insight and a few ideas for how you can take back some control of your data. And for information that can help you keep your nonprofit more secure check out posts from TechSoup, SINU, Krebs on Security, and more.

Remember, perfect security might not be possible, but there are a lot of practical steps you can take to protect your data. Closing your eyes and hoping isn’t going to help! Check out this month’s stories—there are even a few that aren’t about security.


Best of the Web: September 2017

This Phish Got Away (SINU)

The average person sees thousands of chat, email, and social media messages every day. The spammers and phishers know that and are counting on their message being the one that you click without thinking. This post from SINU shows that even the experts can get caught on the hook if they don’t stop, take a second look, and think about who is sending the message and what it really is. We at Idealware had a similar experience when what looked like a Google Doc came from a longtime contributor. No one clicked, but we exchanged a lot of chat messages to get to the bottom of it.

Security Researchers Discover Spammer List of Over 711 Million Email Accounts (Gizmodo)

Like Santa Claus, the spammers have a list and they’re checking it twice. Unlike Santa Claus, you don’t want what they’re trying to give you. And worse, the list is being used to send out spam email in your name. What can you do to stay off this list? Change your password to something stronger is a good start—especially if you're running your own server.

Twitter Bots Use Likes, RTs for Intimidation (Krebs on Security)

A study from USC and Indiana University earlier this year claims that there are 48 million bots on Twitter. How many of those bots are used to obfuscate or intimidate? That’s hard to say, but as Brian Krebs found out, if you criticize Putin you’ll likely meet quite a few. Why? Krebs believes the goal is to make his account seem illegitimate so that Twitter will suspend it.

Invisible Manipulation: 10 Ways Our Data Is Being Used Against Us (Privacy International)

You know that companies, politicians, and governments want your data. But what are they doing with it once they get it? This article breaks down the most likely uses of personal data.

Data, Trends, and the Value of Written Foundation Policies (PhilanthroFiles)

Good policies lead to wise decisions. Exponent Philanthropy shared its survey data on how many members had created formal, written policies, and in what areas. The post makes the case for everyone to write their own comprehensive policy documents and suggests organization leaders start with the most popular policies and work their way down the list.

Virtual Meetings: 5 Tips for Nonprofits Working Across Time Zones (Beth’s Blog)

How do you schedule regular meetings that include participants in multiple time zones? Beth Kanter has some tips.

Tell Tale Signs You Need a CRM Upgrade (Tech Impact)

It’s easy to get frustrated with your CRM system. But does that mean you need to switch? Tech Impact shares some tips for recognizing when enough is enough.

For Privacy’s Sake: What to Know About VPNs (Idealware)

There’s a lot of interest in VPNs right now and dozens of options available. Kyle Andrei makes the case for why you need one and offers a few words of caution.

Topics: Insights
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