BetaNews Staff

Shadow IT in the 'Age of Coronavirus'

Shadow IT

"May you live in interesting times!" This is one of the expressions that has received a lot of airtime in recent months. Clearly as a society we weren’t prepared for a pandemic and all the collateral impact that has resulted. But spare a thought for the IT and security teams that have recently dealt with perhaps the "most interesting" times. Everything they knew and trusted about their environment changed overnight. Think: remote workers, new insider threats and challenges associated with shadow IT.

To be fair, shadow IT was already a problem before the pandemic; our research shows the typical organization is aware of less than 50 percent of the digital assets that exist in their environment. However, in their race to ensure access to data and systems needed while sheltering in place, many end-users (inadvertently perhaps?) added significantly to the shadow IT problem. All of this is occurring as attacks have escalated with adversaries trying to take advantage of the chaos. So, what’s a security team to do about it?

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Pro tips for writing better code

Developer at work

Beginning coders often learn quickly that the ability to simply code in a particular language is only half the battle. The ability to write clear and reliable code is a different story -- one that requires knowledge of best practices, attention to detail, and experience with reviewing and editing code to optimize it.

Typically, when code is completed for a certain portion of a project, it gets passed on to another person (or multiple people) for review, revision, and extension. With this being the case, keeping your code clear and logical is essential to allow other team members to work efficiently. So how do you write better code? While certain programming languages have their own unique best practices, there are some general guidelines that you can follow no matter if you write with Python, Ruby, JavaScript, or your own preferred programming language.

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Upgrade to Windows 10 Professional for just $39.99 and use Group Policy Editor to tweak and secure your computer

Windows 10 Home offers you a number of personalization, customization and tweaking options, but Windows 10 Professional takes things even further. Thanks to the inclusion of Group Policy Editor, not only can you tweak the hell out of the operating system, but also lock it down for ultimate security.

Group Policy Editor is unique to the Professional edition of Windows 10, and it gives you access to hundreds of settings that are either simply not available in the Home edition, or have to be implemented through awkward registry edits.

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LibreOffice 7 lands with a new look, better compatibility, Vulkan acceleration and more

LibreOffice has long offered itself up as a free alternative to Microsoft Office, and today a major new version has been released. LibreOffice 7.0 sees a number of key changes and improvements, not least of which is greatly improved compatibility with Microsoft's suite.

Performance improvements come courtesy of Vulkan GPU-based acceleration which lands in LibreOffice following a switch from Cairo code to Google's Skia Library. For fans of aesthetic change, there is a new look in the Sukapura icon theme -- which is the default theme for macOS users. But these are just a few of the changes in this major update.

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How to manage remote teams and keep your company secure

remote work

The shift to remote work has brought on a new set of operational and security challenges for many organizations. A majority of employees will not be returning to the office anytime soon, evidenced by Google’s recent expansion of its work from home (WFH) mandate until July 2021, along with the current state of the world in general. With the future of work now a reality, it is pivotal that organizations learn how to effectively manage remote teams securely.

There are many steps managers and organizations can take to ensure their remote workforce is operating at its best while remaining secure. The key to this whole practice is treating offsite employees the same as in-house by implementing new endpoint management, IT, and security processes that lead to the same end results that were achieved when folks were in the office. But what are the key steps managers should keep in mind to navigate these unchartered waters? What can organizations do to better manage and secure their remote workforces? 

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COVID-19 apps: Social responsibility vs. privacy


The growth of coronavirus cases in a number of countries has led to talk about a second wave of the pandemic. According to WHO, disturbing news is coming from China, the US, Israel, South Korea, Iran and other countries. At the same time, privacy problems are arising with new force in COVID mobile apps.

It is a common opinion that Android app users don’t know how exactly their personal data and the information transmitted by the apps are actually used. Alarm signals of privacy breaking are coming from different places around the world. If you add to that the shortcomings and even errors on the part of developers -- the threat of unauthorized access to personal information increases even more.

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Microsoft updates Remote Desktop app for Android with Virtual Desktop support

Microsoft has released a key update to its Remote Desktop app for Android. The app, which allows for the remote use of computers running Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise, Windows 8.1 and 8 Enterprise and Pro, Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate, and Windows Server versions newer, now features full support for Virtual Desktops.

The update also brings the Android app in line with the iOS and macOS version, so all three versions of the app now use the underlying RDP (Remote Desktop Protocol) core engine. The latest version of the app also brings support for Android TV devices, but there's even more to look forward to.

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iOS 14 privacy labels are not enough

Apple pays more attention to privacy protection issues than its competitors. Well-defined privacy policies and rather severe restrictions on what user information an app or extension can get make Apple products more secure for users.

However, from the perspective of transparency, everything was not so obvious for Apple. The latest announcement shows that the corporation is ready to take a few more steps towards increasing transparency in the field of privacy protection.

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e-voting can solve the voter fraud concerns plaguing US elections

Ballot box

In just four months, the United States will head into one of the most important Presidential election cycles of its history. Ensuring that eligible citizens are able to participate in the voting process will be critical.

Understandably, as COVID-19 continues to grip the nation and the world around us, American citizens are wary about turning out to vote in person, for fear of being in a crowd or lengthy line. Some startling facts drive home this point when you look at the state of Pennsylvania, for example. This year 1.8 million people have requested absentee votes, up from just 107,000 in 2016. This is further supported by a recent report commissioned by Okta, which found that 67 percent of Americans support mail-in voting to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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The power of enhanced WebRTC

With more digital communication tools available than ever before, enterprises and end users have started to demand more tailored options that can improve their experience and make it even easier to connect.

Web Real-Time Communication (WebRTC) is one such tool that can enhance deployment of voice and video and tools within browsers and apps. 

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Will automation rule over human interaction thanks to the coronavirus?


Thanks to advancements in technology, the need for human interaction -- when you shop for groceries, book a taxi, order a takeaway or watch the latest blockbuster -- has gone from necessity to nice-to-have, with self-service checkouts, apps to order cabs and kebabs, and streaming services all examples of automation that have everyday use.

Despite its influence on consumer behaviors, one of the perceived downfalls of automation is the limit it has on the reliance for humans to carry out certain tasks and jobs. A debate that has, and will, rage on for quite some time. But, with the current coronavirus pandemic, will automation become more of a necessity as we come to terms with social distancing and what life might be like in the future? Here we look at the role automation could play in the fight against COVID-19 and beyond.

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Three industries benefiting from biometrics to fight COVID-19


The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of biometric technology across industries. From touchless payments at shops and restaurants to reduce the use of cash transactions to biometric-based contact tracing efforts, virtually every industry has had to readapt to meet the shift in customer and regulatory requirements.

The widespread adoption of biometrics was already underway when the coronavirus began to spread in early 2020. Now, companies are moving ahead with the installation of this technology to offer better safety, security, and efficiency to their customers. These three industries, in particular, are well-suite to see their operations advance as a result of biometric adoption.

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The questions to ask to avoid cloud trade-offs

There is an old saying that there are no perfect solutions, only trade-offs. We have all experienced this trade-off situation in our lives at some point, when we must make a decision knowing that there is no perfect solution available and that we will be forced to compromise in some way.

This is one of the reasons why some people choose to put money in the stock market, they’re prepared to take a risk, while some people prefer to put money in savings accounts, where the payback is more predictable. The trade-off in this example is that you cannot put the same money in both places at the same time. You need to make your decision based on the existing trade-off of higher risk and return (stocks) or lower risk and return (savings account).

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4 ways that HR teams can use Identity and Access Management (IAM) for secure remote working

remote work

As businesses start to take tentative steps out of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still understanding what our 'new normal' is.  In the backdrop of an ongoing pandemic, we’re taking a heightened risk-based approach to living our lives and working.

Businesses and departments that were unable to work remotely shutting down during the lockdown led to a negative impact on businesses, industries, and the economy as a whole -- you only have to look at the retail and hospitality sectors to see this.  A paradigm shift has occurred, particularly with technology and its use in a post-pandemic world.

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How to defend against hackers

As damaging as security threats can be, they’re also easily avoidable when you have the appropriate safeguards in place. For businesses in particular, investing in the right methods is essential.

Here are my top 7 tips for keeping your data secure.

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