In Memoriam – Sam Bennardo

SamBennardo

It is with a heavy heart and our deepest sympathy that we announce the sudden passing of our dear friend, Sam Bennardo. On February 7, 2017, Sam peacefully passed away while surrounded by his family. Sam touched many lives and will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

After 23 years as President of AUMA-USA, Sam Bennardo retired on December 29, 2015. Throughout his Presidency, Mr. Bennardo created a family like atmosphere for his employees, grew market share and was dedicated to business goals and customers.

7 CYBER RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR TO KEEP YOU SAFER ONLINE

  1. Stop using the same password for all of my accounts: With Yahoo! disclosing the hack of over one billion emails just behind us, this resolution is more important now than ever. One of the first things a hacker does after they manage to crack an account is to see how many other accounts that username and password will give them access to.  Therefore, if you use the same password for all accounts and you are unfortunate enough to have one of your accounts compromised, you have just given the hacker access to every online account that you have.  Any time that there is a hack of a major company, incidences of fraud rise at other online retailers because many people use the same username/password combination.  Use a separate password for all of your online accounts.  This will stop a hack of one account from affecting you as badly.
  2. Make sure that the passwords that I use are considered to be secure: Do you want to guess the most common passwords that people use? Unfortunately, they happen to be:
  • 123456
  • password
  • 12345678
  • qwerty
  • 12345

Most people think that hackers have to sit at a console all day, trying combinations of passwords and usernames to break into your account.  The reality is much scarier.  They create a program that runs through a list of email addresses and tries different combinations of commonly used passwords at multiple retailers at hundreds of guesses per second.  This is called a dictionary attack because they use a dictionary of common passwords and combinations of common words to try as passwords.  Don’t fall victim to this attack by applying the following 6 rules to create your password

  • At least 12 characters long
  • Use an uppercase letter
  • Use a lowercase letter
  • Use a number
  • Use a symbol (i.e. $,%,&)
  • Don’t use words found in the dictionary

Sometimes, it is helpful to think of a phrase that you are familiar with and turn that into a password by using the first letter or two of every word and then doing number and symbol substitutes.  For example, you could use the phrase “Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain” and turn that into the password “0h84S$,4@wofG”.

  1. Choose a password manager: With a person having an average of 90 online accounts, it’s becoming more and more difficult to remember separate passwords for all of them. Enter your password manager!  It helps your create and remember super secure passwords for all of your accounts. On top of that, you can set a reminder and it will let you know when it is time to change your password for a particular account.  The main requirement for selecting a password manager is to make sure that it will encrypt your password database.  Some examples of good password managers are KeePass and Dashlane.
  2. Stop using the free wifi without protection in place: Have you ever walked into your favorite coffee shop and used their “Free Wifi”? Did you type in a username and password or check a bank balance?  If so, you may have just given all of your online activity information to a person sitting in the store with you.  When you use wifi with no password (unsecured), all of your online activity is unencrypted.  This means that anyone on the network with you (with the right knowledge and tools) can easily see what you are doing.  To remedy this, sign up for a VPN service (most cost under $50/year).  A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, service will encrypt your traffic activity and make it virtually impossible to spy on you.
  3. Protect myself on social media: Social media makes it easier and easier for people with malicious intent to gather information that they want. Have you ever posted vacation pictures to Facebook while you are on vacation?  If so, you have just let a whole host of people know that you are not at home or work.  The Cloned CEO Email Scam takes advantage of executives that are on vacation by waiting until the CEO is likely to be busy/detained and then sends a fake money transfer request to the finance department.  Before the real CEO is aware of what happened, the money has been transferred.  Make sure that your personal social media profiles are set to private and be aware of the information that you post.
  4. Update my computer regularly: You know who you are. You wait to update your computer until you see multiple messages that tell you that Microsoft has 100 updates waiting, Adobe has 25 updates and your antivirus definitions are old.  Stop doing this and set up all of your software to update nightly.  These daily downloads normally contain security updates and patches that will help make your computer less vulnerable to attackers.
  5. Make sure that my company website has an SSL certificate: Do you gather information on your company website via a contact form?  If so, you need to protect the data that you collect with an SSL certificate installed on your website.  It will encrypt the information being sent to your server by the website user.  You can tell that an SSL certificate is installed by looking at the web address bar.  You should see a lock icon that indicates the presence of an SSL.  For less than $100/year, you can establish great trust with your online users and protect your collected data as well.

 

This is a guest post by Stacey Ivol, President of Integrity First Technology Solutions, Inc.  Her company designs websites and applications as well as performing security consulting.  Follow IFTS on Twitter (@IFTSdesign) for helpful information about cyber security and website design.

SOUTHPOINTE CEO ASSOCIATION ENCOURAGES WALKING AND WELLNESS IN PARK

In June of 2015, the Southpointe CEO Association added three new areas for programming among those already in place.  Those new topics include diversity and inclusion, ethical leadership, and wellness. The Association now also encourages member organizations to include internal programs for employees in these special areas to help create the most diverse, ethical, and healthy business park in the state of Pennsylvania.

As a way to address the issue of wellness, the Association has partnered with the Southpointe Connector Trail and the Canonsburg Houston Southpointe Rotary Club to present a series of “Walking Wednesdays” for the Southpointe business community.  On the second Wednesday of each month, volunteers from sponsor and partner organizations distribute bottled water to walkers (or runners) on the park sidewalks, if weather permits.

Association member organizations and others in the business community were invited to participate by becoming a “sponsoring organization” to provide the bottled water and volunteers to help with distribution.  Along with volunteers from the partner groups (Southpointe CEO Association, Southpointe Connector Trail, and Canonsburg Houston Southpointe Rotary Club), company volunteers identify a prominent and convenient spot within the park to locate the distribution tent.  Locations are typically positioned along Southpointe or Town Center Boulevards.  Volunteers distribute water and other ‘give away items’ between the hours of 11:30am and 1:30pm to all who walk, jog, run, stroll, or even drive past the tent.

Sponsors to date have included Champion International Moving, Waynesburg University at Southpointe, Auma Actuators, and SingleSource Property Solutions.   In addition to sponsors and partner companies, several other businesses have joined the activity and hand out tee shirts, caps, visors, key chains, and other promotional items to walkers.  The Southpointe locations of Community Bank and WesBanco have provided give-away gifts as part of the experience.

Tracy Vidnovic, Sales Adminstrator and Wellness Coordinator for Champion International Moving, thought the event worked so well in August that she volunteered the company to sponsor again in November.  “Champion plans to have a big group participate [each time],” said Vidnovic.   “I love the way Walking Wednesdays promote health and wellness in the Southpointe Community. “It’s easy to get consumed with the day-to- day grind and these park events serve as a nice reminder to get up and get moving,” notes WesBanco Banking Center Manager/AVP Nick Beresh.  Beresh also serves as the 2016-2017 President of the Canonsburg Houston Rotary Club.

The Walking Wednesday program, which launched in July of 2016, will occur on the following dates through the end of the year:  October 12 – Fall Fantasy Trek sponsored by Auma Actuators, November 9 – Black ‘n Gold Hike sponsored by Champion International Moving, and December 14 – the Holiday Jingle Bell Walk sponsored by SingleSource Property Solutions.  Only extremely inclement weather will cancel a Walking Wednesday event.
Due to the popularity of these community events, more Walking Wednesdays will be scheduled for 2017, beginning with the month of April. If your organization would like to sponsor a 2017 Walking Wednesday, contact the Southpointe CEO Association at sptceo@verizon.net or by phone at 724-747-5055.  If you’d like to help promote your own wellness, just get your walking shoes and join in the fun—no registration necessary.

Dr. Stephanie Urchick is CEO/Executive Director of the Southpointe CEO Association, and Owner of Doctors At Work LLC, a leadership, communication, and customer delight consulting company.  For more information about the Southpointe CEO Association, visit the Association website at www.southpointe-ceo.org