Sunday, September 30, 2018

Data At Risk

Even the intellectual property law blogs are talking about cyber security!  Authors ought to be especially careful, because authors tend to have to publish and distribute a lot of information about themselves as part of marketing and promotion.

Authors have websites, social media pages, newsletters, domains, trademarks, memberships in a lot of reader-friendly sites, and if they advertise--on Facebook, for instance-- there may be financial information held by the site.

In the Facebook situation, there is particular vulnerability for persons who like to write one news item and have that one piece of prose automatically distributed to several other sites. That's "cross posting", and although it is a great time saver, it means that a breach in one place might lead to a breach in all the other places.  Moreover, if one stays logged into Facebook, and uses the Facebook login to login to all the other sites (ie same user name/email address and same password) there is great convenience.... and great potential for contamination.

Tech Crunch explains such issues very well.

Personally, this author is very suspicious of the idea that one can log into ones Facebook account by clicking on ones' own photograph.  What bright spark thought of that?  If you haven't disabled the ability to do that, disable it.

That use of one's photo might work for readers, friends and family, but most authors have their photos in the back matter of their books. So beware.

Last year when there was the credit rating agency breach, a person had to pay $10 to each rating agency to put on a credit freeze.  Now, credit freezes are free.

For details, look here:

Another possible vulnerability for authors is their newsletter mailing lists, if any anonymous website visitor can sign up to be on the mailing list, and go unnoticed. Perhaps they hope that an automated mailing error will occur, and the subscriber address list will be revealed.

The FBI warns that student data is at risk. Legal blogger Craig A. Newman writing for the law firm Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler LLP explains.

The warning is about data held by high schools, but could apply to colleges and universities also.  As Craig A Newman writes:
In one attack, student contact information, education plans, homework, medical records and counseling reports were compromised by hackers and used “to contact, extort, and threaten students with physical violence and public release of their information.”
Cyber crime also affects sports data, apparently. Patterson Belknap Webb and Tyler LLP discuss the value of all the medical data collected by sports teams (from the sensors worn in the athletes clothing and other wearable technology) to those who would like to improve their chances in online sports betting.

One would think that it ought to be a violation of an athelete's privacy for punters (in the betting sense) to be able to place their bets based on how much he is perspiring inside his clothes.

Do authors need cyber insurance?  Perhaps, if they are small business persons.  Cyber Insurance does not cover European fines for violating the GDPR  (for instance by sending promotional newsletters to persons who have not affirmatively asked to be sent emails by authors.)

Legal blogger Ted Claypoole writing for the law firm Womble Bond Dickinson US LLP provides some useful information.

A helpful guide to what cyber insurance policies cost and what they cover can be found:

Thanks to William C. Wagner writing for Taft Stettinius and Hollister LLP

One firm that insures authors is Insureon, but there must be many.

Finally, there is the annoying problem of cryptojacking, which is a good reason to clear ones cache and cookies (often), and to turn off one's wifi from time to time.  If your PC or Mac seems unusually slow, and if the cooling fan runs more often and for longer than usual, you might not be writing scenes that are so steamy that they overheat your very computer. Instead, consider that your machine could have been cryptojacked.

Malwarebyes explains about cryptojacking.

On that happy note...

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

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