For those who are not familiar with the H-1B program, it is a process that allows non-immigrant workers to be temporarily employed by a U.S. based company. Ohio-based companies such as Nationwide and Sherwin Williams rely heavily on this program to aggregate top level talent from other countries. The Google's, FaceBook's, and Apple's of the world are no exception. The volume of information that these top tech companies hold is being managed by small pool of talent which is already being fought over. This could potentially undermine their Cyber awareness initiatives and by extension you as a user. If highly intelligent foreigners aren't allowed to work in the US, what will they do instead? Find employment with competing companies outside the U.S., become state-sponsored hackers, or turn possibly to cybercrime. The possibilities are endless, but none benefit us as users.
Aside from the political ramifications of the new program, here are some statics to keep in mind about how these changes will affect you as a user.
- In 2016, over 200,000 people applied for the H-1B visa program for the fiscal year 2017.
- The companies taking advantage of these programs are the very SaaS applications, Search Engines, and Social platforms we use daily.
- Computer programmers are the third largest category of H-1B visa recipients, after computer systems analysts and software developers.
Cyber security is an evolving landscape with hackers constantly looking to exploit an organization's vulnerabilities. How can we as users, raise our security awareness?
Where to start?
Cyber security is no longer just the responsibility of your IT dept; we must all be cognizant and fight this battle. Here are a couple of easy steps to implement in your daily routine, which requires minimal effort on your part:
- Protect your usernames and passwords with a password manager such as 1Password, LastPass, or a similar vendor. Don't store them on your phone or on a piece of paper that your carry. The higher the complexity and length of your password, the more difficult it will be to use a brute-force method to crack your password.
- Utilize two-factor authentication features when available. Two-factor auth is an additional step that is designed to ensure you are the only one accessing an account.
- Publicly available WiFi can compromise your sensitive information. Hackers can set up a fake access point access point to capture and filter your traffic. It is advised to utilize a trusted VPN service when sending sensitive information over a public network.
- With the recent increase in malvertising tactics and attempts, adblocking at the DNS level or at least in browser can help protect you from remote code execution bugs that can hijack your browser without so much as a mouse click.
- Verizon’s 2015 Data Breach Report proved that when a hacker sends out ten phishing e-mails, there is a ninety percent probability that one person replies. Similarly , when 150,000 test phishing e-mails were sent out, half of the receivers opened the emails and clicked on the phishing links in the first hour.
Take a cyber security training class. It will take ten minutes, and there are plenty of free online courses available.