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Artificial Intelligence Authors: Kevin Benedict, Jason Bloomberg, Dan Blacharski, Pat Romanski, William Schmarzo

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Five Lessons The League Can Teach Us about Cyber Security

Lessons from the hit show, The League

Internet Security and the Offensive Line

The 2013 NFL season kicks off tonight with the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens visiting the Denver Broncos. For many of us, the start of football season means lazy chicken wing and pizza-filled Sundays in front of the TV. But, it also means it’s time to scramble together and pick your fantasy football team. If you participate in fantasy football, you may be a fan of the hit FX television show, The League which premiered last night. Don’t worry – there are no spoilers here. The League follows a group of old friends in a fantasy football league that seems to bleed into every aspect of their lives. Even if you don’t like fantasy football, or football for that matter, this show is likely to have you either laughing or turning away from the television in disgust at their attempts to make each other’s lives miserable. Aside from football, pranks, and Yobogoya, the show happens to teach us some good, not so obvious, lessons about cyber security. Read on for five lessons The League can teach us about cyber security.

  • Always Monitor

  • In football, players are constantly getting injured, traded and let go. In order to have a successful team you should be monitoring these updates as much as possible to make sure you choose the right players every week. When it comes to monitoring his team, Taco, Kevin’s obnoxious yet lovable brother, is notorious for not doing it. In fact, his lineup is usually decided by Kevin or his wife (and brains of the operation), Jenny, who simply want to keep him in the league.

    Keeping up-to-date with your fantasy team is similar to keeping your antivirus software up-to-date. New viruses are being released at a staggering rate and if your antivirus is using outdated virus signatures, the chances that your outdated AV software will detect the new virus is unlikely. Comodo Internet Security software makes monitoring a synch – it’s as simple as pressing a “Fix It” button when an update or scan is necessary.

  • Research From Trustworthy Sources

  • Kevin is helpless without advice from his wife, Jenny. He knows he needs help making his draft picks and trades but he gets lucky when he runs into the infamous Matthew Berry, an [actual] ESPN fantasy sports analyst. He enlists Matthew Berry’s help because he trusts his expert advice, but in the end, he doesn’t get to benefit from Matthew Berry’s advice because Andre harasses him when he thinks Matthew is hitting on his date.

    Just like Kevin used a trusted source for his fantasy football advice, you too should only visit trusted websites, especially when entering personal data in order to make online transactions. Websites that securely process your credit card information will have and extra “s” in the URL. So, instead Comodo and Internet Security of “http” you will see “https” in the URL while visiting secure websites. That’s because these websites have SSL Certificates to prove their authenticity. An SSL Certificate ensures that the website (or company) is authentic and safe for online transactions. Another way to spot a trusted website is to look for a trust seal which usually looks like a lock.

  • Use Secure Passwords

  • Taco is about as sharp as a marble so it’s not a huge surprise that he named his team, “Password is Taco.” Knowing Taco’s team name and taking an “educated guess” as to what his password is, another player could easily hack into his account and make unwarranted trades on his behalf. Though, he may not have the best of players to pick from since he doesn’t see the disadvantage to picking a kicker first.

    “I like kickers. They’re the toughest.” – Taco

    A strong password is fundamental to keeping your personal data safe. While a strong password alone will not protect you from being hacked, it can certainly help deter an attack. With the amount of personal information we post online (name, email, kids’ names, dogs’ name, birthday, etc.), we make it a lot easier for cyber criminals to decipher our passwords. Hackers often attempt to break into accounts by employing a “dictionary attack,” which involves using words straight from the dictionary to guess your password. Instead of essentially handing over your password by using easy-to-guess words, create them from a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols that would not be associated with a word found in the dictionary (or on your Facebook profile).

  • Don’t Let Fake Websites Fool You

  • Taco is certainly no Mark Zuckerberg but he did create the world’s first offline social network called “MyFace” where your face if your profile Don't let Fake Websites Fool Youpicture. The concept followed Facebook’s layout complete with a physical face wall, covered with outdated and awkward photos of his friends. He even created a “link” symbolized by a jewelry chain and you could literally poke or write on someone’s wall. In order to leave a message for one of his friends, he would break into their house while they were sleeping and leave a handwritten note. When his friends complained about the break-ins, Taco suggested they create a MyFace group, “People who don’t like getting their houses broken into at 4 AM.” Even though Taco’s MyFace required you to carry a corkboard-bound offline social network with you no matter where you went, he got a couple of others to join in on the fun.

    While you certainly wouldn’t mistake “MyFace” for the real Facebook, the concept of tricking people into using fake sites to steal their information happens every day. Cyber criminals deploy phishing scams in emails that entice you to click on what appears to be a link to an authentic website but actually takes you to phony scam site or legitimate-looking pop-up window. The good news is, if you fall for the scam and click through, there are some signs that alert you that the website is phony. For instance, sometimes the URL will have one different letter or one missing letter, such as www.facbook.com where you wouldn’t necessarily notice the missing “e” in the URL. Once you’re on the page that looks just like the legitimate www.facebook.com, you login and the cybercriminal has access to your password and other personal information. The consequences can be far worse if you fall for a phishing scam that takes you to a fake banking website. That’s why it’s best to never click on a link within an email from an unknown sender or enter personal information on a website that isn’t “https.”

  • It’s Easy To Catch A Virus
  • Andre had no idea what went down in his loft while the rest of the gang were supposedly making their draft picks. His final punishment for losing to Taco in the previous season was being banished from the next season’s draft. Unbeknownst to him, his other final punishment came at the same time while his so-called friends organized an adult video to be filmed in his apartment by Rafi, Ruxin’s revolting brother-in-law, and Dirty Randy, a shady Liberian/adult film maker.

    The gang planned to reveal this surprise to Andre after he lived in the soiled space for a few days. Suffice to say, his furniture needed to be burned after the event; however, Andre didn’t know and ate crackers off the couch used for the main scene. Once the act was committed, the scene of the crime was cleaned up just enough so Andre wouldn’t notice. When Andre invited the rest of the league over, he still didn’t realize that everyone was disgusted to even enter the place. Andre only found out about the punishment days after he had mysteriously contracted thrush through “immaculate infection”, a play on football’s “immaculate reception.” The point is, Andre wasn’t even a part of the video, yet he still got a virus because it’s that easy.

    Just like Andre didn’t go out of his way to catch a virus, he still ended up with one. You may think you’re keeping your device secure by steering clear of risky websites, but that’s not enough. Thousands of new viruses are created every day so keep your device secure with the proper antivirus protection.

    There you have it. If you learn from the five lessons The League can teach us about cyber security, you’ll have a much better chance at keeping your devices safe and secure from cyber criminals. Oh yeah, don’t forget to make your draft picks before it’s too late so you have a chance at winning the Shiva Bowl this season!

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