Cyberbullying of Children is a Heartbreaking Problem that Parents Have a Role in Preventing

Cyberbullying — like plain “old fashioned” bullying — is a heartbreaking to see, especially when it is directed at innocent children. There are many things that can lead to it and there are many things that can help minimize it. I do not pretend to have all of the answers and, you can bet, if I thought I did, I would share them with the world.

See these Tips for Parents to Help Keep Kids Safe Online

But, there is one thing I do know and that is that parents have a very big role in helping to keep kids from bullying others and in helping to protect their own children from bullying. I use the words “helping to keep” and “helping to protect” as recognition that there is no single solution to this problem — but if we can help make it better, than that is a good place to start.

In this interview with Ken Molestina @cbs11ken on DFW CBS 11 @CBSDFW, we discuss some of the issues surrounding cyberbullying and you will notice that my advice keeps coming back to the parents, for a reason: We as parents are the first line of defense when things involve our children and there is no technology, service, app, or other person who can take our place.

How Parents Can Help Prevent Cyberbullying of Children

Here are several helpful resources to learn more about cyberbullying and how to help protect against it:

CyberBullying.gov provides extensive resources for parents and answers to questions such as:

  • What is Cyberbullying?
  • Cyberbullying Tactics
  • Preventing Cyberbullying
  • Warning Signs a Child is Being Cyberbullied or is Cyberbullying Others
  • What to Do When Cyberbullying Happens
  • Digital Awareness for Parents
  • Establishing Rules
  • Tips for Teachers
  • Reporting Cyberbullying

The Cyberbullying Research Center provides a very nice .pdf graphic listing these 10 tips for teens to preventing cyberbullying:

  1. Educate Yourself
  2. Protect Your Password
  3. Keep Photos “PG”
  4. Never Open Unidentified or Unsolicited Messages
  5. Log Out of Online Accounts
  6. Pause Before You Post
  7. Raise Awareness
  8. Setup Privacy Controls
  9. “Google” Yourself
  10. Don’t Cyberbully Others

Texas Bar Journal 2018 Year-End Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Update

The Texas Bar Journal’s year-end update on Cybersecurity & Data Privacy law was once again provided by Shawn Tuma and addressed the following issues:

  • Lawyers’ Cybersecurity and Data Breach Obligations that are required under Texas law and the ABA’s Ethics Opinion 483 titled Lawyers’ Obligations After
    an Electronic Data Breach or Cyberattack
  • Whether an IT service provider’s locking a customer out of its computer violates the Texas “hacking” law
  • Whether a woman viewing pictures on her boyfriend’s iPhone violates the Texas “hacking” law

The Most Important Lesson You Are Not Hearing About Apple’s iOS FaceTime Glitch

 The most important lesson about Apple’s iOS group FaceTime debacle that you are not hearing about should be a wake up call for everyone (Tuma explains this glitch on WFLA in Tampa, FL):

  • If Apple, through a programming glitch, has the ability to allow someone to use your iOS device as a microphone to listen to your conversations without you even touching the device or knowing it was in use, then Apple can do the same thing through purposeful programming.
  • If Apple can use programming to access your microphone, then it can also access your camera the same way.
  • If Apple can do this, so too could nation states with sufficient access to the programming (If you doubt this, read this story of UAE hackers).
  • If Apple and nation states can do this, so too can criminal hackers, with sufficient access. (Tuma explains more about this on WIOD in Miami, FL)

For decades our whole society has enjoyed the benefits of technology without accepting the responsibility of guarding against the privacy and security risks that go along with it. We have taken those things for granted and now it is time to pay the piper and become more responsible by being more cyber aware and using good cyber hygiene.

This is not just for the companies that provide this technology and collect and use our data. This is for all of us — we the people must learn to protect ourselves against these risks. (Tuma explains more about this on WJIM in Lansing, MI)

Here are a few points to consider to think about how we can do this:

  • There is no such thing as 100% security when it comes to technology or data. There is always some measure of risk involved in the cyber realm.
  • As you go through your day, imagine someone is listening and watching you through your telephone and think about what aspects of your private and business life you are unecessarily exposing through the technology and data we use.
  • This isn’t intended to be alarmist and suggest that you purge all technology from your life, however, there are ways to minimize unnecessary risk:
    • Do you really need your telephone in the private places you go, like your bedroom or restroom?
    • Do you really need to share your company’s deepest, darkest secrets in an email when it could have been done in person?
    • Do you need to have your telephone sitting on the table when you are discussing extremely sensitive private personal or business information, or, would that conversation go just as well (or even better) without the telephones?

 

Protect Your Company Against W-2 Business Email Compromise Attacks During Tax Season

The most likely “cyber attack” that your company will face will come in the form of an email. One of the most common forms of email attack is the business email compromise (BEC) and the most popular time of the year for the W-2 version of BEC is right now — tax season.

Read the full blog post to make sure you and your company are equipped with answers to:

• What is a W-2 BEC Attack?
• How Do Attackers Use the W-2 Information?
• Why Do So Many of These Attacks Happen During Tax Season?
• What Can You Do Now to Protect Your Company?
• What To Do if Your Company is Hit by this Attack?

READ MORE

Cyber Insurance – A Better Way to Help Small Businesses Manage Cyber Risk

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, The Case for Protecting Small Firms from Cyber Lawsuits, the authors argue that, because smaller companies lack the resources of larger companies when it comes to protecting data, smaller companies should have legal protections to exempt them from facing the consequences of these laws.

While it seems this argument is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the purpose of these laws, it does offer some productive suggestions and I found it interesting for another reason. The reasons the authors gave for arguing that smaller companies should be exempted from the laws are some of the same reasons I give to smaller companies when I explain why it is so important that they have appropriate cyber insurance coverage:

  1. Small businesses have the same obligations to protect data that larger companies have.
  2. Breach notification laws may have penalties of a certain cost per record breached, regardless of fault.
  3. Breach notification laws may require notifying those individuals whose data was breached, that their data has been breached.
  4. Breach notification laws may require providing identity theft protection services to the individuals whose data was breached.
  5. Individuals whose data was breached may sue and seek recovery of damages and legal fees.

Cyber insurance coverage that is appropriately tailored to meet the needs of a small business will provide them with protection against the risks listed above, and many more, such as the legal fees and costs of having an experienced attorney serve as their breach guide to advise them through the process of managing a cyber incident (see Why You Need a Cyber Attorney) and properly respond to the incident.

I have been practicing in the cybersecurity and data privacy areas of law for nearly two decades and have served as breach guide to hundreds of companies — one of the biggest lessons that I have learned in all of these years is that in many cases, it is not the initial incident that causes most of the harm, it is the failure to properly respond to the initial incident after learning about it that causes it to escalate.

Incident response is expensive. The legal fees, the fees for security services, forensic services, remediation, public relations, and identity theft protection, notification of consumers, and reporting to regulatory agencies — all of these things are very expensive but they are mandatory to properly respond to an incident, in most cases. When a business does not have the resources to pay these expenses, it is not able to properly respond to an incident and that is what can be most devastating of all for small and midsize businesses. That is why it is so critical that small and midsize businesses have appropriate cyber insurance coverage to step in and provide them with the resources needed to help manage and properly respond to such incidents.