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      • What's Your Pa$$word? Secure Your Organization by Securing Your Accounts

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:02 PM by Lesley Carhart

        About this Series
        There was a time in the not-so-distant past when personal and work lives were two separate things. A person worked at the office, went home, and usually had little to do with his or her employer until the next day. Since the advent of the home computer, the mobile phone, then telecommuting and social media, these lines have blurred. For better or for worse, our personal lives creep into our work, and we're often working during our "off" hours. What many people don't consider is the unprecedented security risk this poses to our employers. Our personal choices can impact the security of our organizations, and making the right choices can help deter attempts at theft and damage. With this series of blogs, we dig into current threats to cybersecurity for everyone — and for organizations.

        Read Part 1 here: Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself on Social Networks
        Read Part 2 here: Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself: Beware the Removable Device

        This is part three of a multi-part blog series.

        The topic of password security has been spoken about continually for the past two decades. However, passwords continue to be a problem for almost every organization, and "password" and "qwerty" are still among the most common passwords in the world. Let's go through seven basic facts about authentication and see if your accounts are as secure as they should be.

        1. Everybody should know the basics of how passwords are cracked. For your security, most passwords are stored and transmitted in an encrypted form. There are two ways a hacker can decrypt, or "crack" your passwords. The first is "brute force". This requires generating every possible combination of letters, numbers, and symbols, encrypting each one the same way, and checking if the result matches your encrypted password. For longer passwords, this can be very time consuming. The faster option is a "dictionary" attack, which means checking the encrypted password against the encrypted results of a large dictionary of known words or names. So, passwords which are words are generally significantly easier to decrypt than random strings or phrases.
        2. We've all been trained to think about password creation wrong. Years of password instructions have made us think of passwords in a faulty way. We've been brainwashed into creating one or two-word passwords containing a numbers and punctuation, like ‘P@55w0rd!'. Oddly, in most cases there is no longer anything that limits us to a single word. Most modern software allows for very long passwords, and it's more secure to use a passphrase, or a short sentence. A sentence is easy to remember, contains spaces and some punctuation, and can easily contain a number if required. I can't demonstrate this more succinctly than
        3. Hackers know all of your password tricks. Password-cracking software has evolved to the point where it can automatically check for words in which letters have been replaced by numbers. Numbers and punctuation at the end can be ignored as well (forget adding the month or year). Checking all these possibilities may take longer, but today the distinction is seconds or minutes, not hours or days. See if you can find any of your ‘tricks' in the built-in options in the password cracking software Cain:
        4. Hackers love it when you reuse your passwords. Nothing will make Jane Hacker happier than cracking the password to your home PC, then finding it opens your Twitter account and your work email, too. I'm not naïve enough to expect everyone to memorize long, complicated passwords. If you're having trouble, use a reputable password manager, like Keepass or Lastpass, which can generate strong passwords and store them securely for your use.
        5. Hackers also love it when you don't change your passwords. There are endless ways that your passwords could be stolen; both in and outside of your control. Presume that at some point, your passwords will be intercepted or stolen from a third party. It does take time for thieves to decrypt large numbers of passwords when they are stolen in bulk, or sell them on the black market. The bottom line is: Changing your passwords on a regular basis is a real simple thing that you can do to help protect yourself.
        6. The password really is dead. Michael Barrett of PayPal stated fittingly this year, "Passwords, when used ubiquitously everywhere at Internet scale, are starting to fail us". More powerful computers, easy-to-use hacking tools, and shared resources have made it a trivial effort for anybody to crack passwords. Organizations and developers need to find new ways to authenticate users. Which leads us to…
        7. Everybody should be using two-factor authentication. Most large social networking, financial, and email websites now support two-factor authentication. This means using a combination of something you know (such as your password or pin number), and something you have (a token, mobile phone, your fingerprint, or a smart card) to authenticate you. Checking a text message on your mobile phone to log into Gmail provides a drastic increase in your security in exchange for a small inconvenience.

        Over the next decade, it is very likely we will see more methods of authenticating users without passwords. Organizations are moving in the right direction. The Bank of Utah is monitoring the way users type, while Motorola Mobility has gone so far as to imagine a world where we take pills or use tattoos to log into computers. Unfortunately, it is also likely we will still see passwords in use at work and at home for many years to come. Good password practices and awareness can help decrease the risk associated with them.

        Lesley Carhart is a Senior Information Security Specialist in the Motorola Solutions Security Operations Center. She has 13 years of experience in information technology, including computer networking and tactical communications. For the past five years, she has focused on security, specializing in digital forensics.

        Read past blogs by Lesley Carhart here:

        Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself: Beware the Removable Device

        Secure Your Organization by Securing Yourself on Social Networks

        Log Monitoring and Cyberthreat Detection

      • Look Before You Leap – Make Your Mobile Device Investment Count

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:02 PM by Motorola Solutions

        For many enterprises, the decision to deploy mobile devices can be easy to justify. As technology improves and mobility becomes a means of differentiating customer service, improving productivity, and driving revenue, the logic of investing in mobile device technology can be hard to ignore. Industry analysts continue to report that enterprises across all verticals are deploying or expanding deployment of an increasingly broad range of mobile devices and technologies with the goal of improving their business performance and maintaining competitiveness. While the decision to make an investment in mobile devices is probably the right one, the assessment of the cost and implication of mobile device implementations is not always given the level of consideration that it should be.

        In our role as a provider of Mobility Services, we find that many enterprises, are challenged when it come to addressing all of requirements necessary to maintain the effective operation of their mobile device portfolios across the entire lifecycle of their devices. It’s typical to put a greater onus on the expressed need for a particular type of application, functionality or even device than on addressing how the full return on the device investment will be realized- that is, how long will it’s productive life be.

        Many of the clients we work with have problems with their mobile device implementations. Some of the more common issues are high return and no fault found rates, poor asset management, high percentages of lost devices, staff dissatisfaction with service desk support, lack of an understanding of how their device management practices compare with device management best practice and inadequate information on the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of the devices they own.

        Having a realistic view of what it takes to support your device investment across its entire lifecycle – from introduction to retirement – and an objective assessment of your current device management practices is key to evaluating the impact on your business operations. It is also essential to understanding how to address current problems and to maximizing device availability and optimizing TCO.

        An effective mobile device strategy should be measured on its ability to deliver the business goals and outcomes that devices are advertised to deliver. This requires a plan to address the broad set of essential tasks that complemented with device management assure that the overall performance expectations for your mobile device portfolio are met. The first step in that plan should include an assessment to benchmark where you are today, and provide recommendations and options on the best way to move forward.

        Ensuring that your financial goals for your mobile device investment are met requires that you take a close look before you leap.

        If you are interested in "looking" before you leap, see how we use Mobility Lifecycle Management to help you improve the odds of meeting the desired return on your mobile device investment.

        Chuck Roark is Director Client Principals for Motorola Solutions, Inc.

      • Warehouse Vision: What Will Your Warehouse Look Like in Next 5 Years?

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:02 PM by Motorola Solutions

        What will the warehouse of 2018 look like? One thing is certain: Technology will continue to drive the majority of changes over the next five years. Today we published our Future of Warehousing Survey, and the most telling statistic we found was 66 percent of warehouses are planning on expanding their technology investments by 2018.

        So what's driving this expansion? According to the survey, there's a shift from seeing technology as a tool to increase efficiency and decrease costs to seeing it as a business differentiator and a way to drive new business.

        The increasingly real-time, fully visible supply chain, combined with escalating customer expectations, is causing operations to re-evaluate distribution networks and supply chain practices. Omni-channel fulfillment is the most visible example of how far-reaching these trends are. Execution is a competitive battleground.

        Technology is enabling these changes across the board. Devices such as enterprise-grade tablets, handheld computers, barcode scanners, wearable devices and vehicle-mounted computers are increasing efficiencies and decreasing errors.

        All of this change is leading to a shift in how different industries across the supply chain currently view warehouse and distribution center operations, moving toward growth areas.

        Let's take a look at some other statistics uncovered in the survey as organizations look to the next five years:

        More or bigger warehouses:

        • 35 percent of organizations surveyed plan to increase number of warehouses and distribution centers
        • 38 percent plan to expand the size of warehouses and distribution centers

        Growing number of SKUs:

        • 54 percent plan on increasing order volumes and number of SKUs

        Warehouse management system trends shifting:

        • 23 percent plan to have a basic warehouse management system
        • 20 percent plan to have best-of-breed
        • 30 percent plan to have fully-featured warehouse management systems

        Added automation

        • 70 percent plan to have more automated processes

        Real-time cycle counts

        • 66 percent plan to take inventory with mobile handheld computers or tablets

        Increased task interleaving

        This five-year outlook shows change is closer than you think, and technologies available today can be a useful tool to transform your warehouse.

        Mark Wheeler is the Director of Supply Chain Solutions - North America for Motorola Solutions.


      • 5 Reasons to Migrate to Digital Radios

        Published Dec 09 2016, 9:02 PM by Motorola Solutions

        Government mandates and regulatory initiatives are speeding the need for conversion from analog to digital, but organizations have been slow to respond. The resistance to digital is certainly understandable – change is difficult, especially when you have a fleet of radios to manage. But the benefits of digital over analog are impossible to ignore.

        With digital technology, you can:

        1. Hear and be heard more clearly: With analog, every sound the microphone picks up is sent over. Digital gives you crisper, clearer audio with less noise, static or distortion.
        2. Get double the calls: With digital, you can immediately double the capacity of your existing 12.5 kHz channel, which means more of your people can communicate, and you can minimize your licensing costs.
        3. Communicate longer on a single charge: Digital technology is much more energy efficient than analog, delivering an increased battery life of up to 40 percent.
        4. Keep your voice strong and clear to the far ends of coverage: Digital radios have built-in error correction to eliminate static and make sure voice calls are heard clearly over a greater range.
        5. Protect your privacy: Digital encoding and scrambling make it harder for others to listen in on a frequency, so communications stay private.

        The graphic below shows how the audio quality difference between analog and digital emerges:

        cecchin_graphic 1.png

        While it's clear that digital offers significant advantages, migrating from one technology to another requires time and an investment. A long-term rollout plan could incorporate radios that can start out analog and change over to digital easily. Radios like the new MOTOTRBO™ CP200d Series offers both analog and digital capability, so you can start using them on your existing analog system and migrate to digital – with a software upgrade -- once you're ready. Learn more about the trend toward migration to digital voice here.

        Paul Cecchin is the Two-way Radio Market Development Manager at Motorola Solutions.

        Read additional blogs by Paul Cecchin here.

        For more information about digital technology and migration, visit And enter the Motorola Solutions contest for a chance to win up to $1,000 in radios and accessories.