Children model the behavior of their parents and this includes in the digital communities of Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat. When parents share posts about their lives, and then monitor these posts for likes and followers, children take note. While parents would never want to post anything that would be a negative influence on their children, there is little guidance to help them navigate parenting in the digital age. Below is a social media parenting guide for how to set a good example for your kids on social media.
7 Ways to Keep Your Campaign Safe from an Email Phishing Attack
Cyber security is an issue of critical importance to political campaigns at all levels in the wake of the hackings of the 2016 election. Both the Republican and Democratic parties have faced challenges and are making significant investments to help prevent hacking in the 2018 election cycle. Some of the most significant recent cyber security failures in politics were a result of an email phishing attack. These include the hacking of the Hilary Clinton Campaign’s Chief of Staff John Podesta’s emails during the 2016 election and the hacking of the Marcon campaign before the French Presidential Election.
While we’ve written about the importance of political campaigns securing their websites and provided tips for how to keep social media accounts safe, we think it important to provide tips on how to avoid an email phishing attack to your campaign.
What is phishing? Phishing involves the use of fraudulent emails and copy-cat websites to trick you into revealing valuable personal and organizational information — such as account numbers for banking, credit card and donation platform accounts and the key login IDs and passwords you use when accessing these accounts. When hackers go on phishing expeditions, they lure their targets into a false sense of security by hijacking the familiar, trusted logos of established, legitimate companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple. A typical phishing scam starts with a fraudster sending out millions of emails that appear to come from a high-profile company in the hopes of getting folks to inadvertently click. In some cases they are specifically targeting your campaign. Phishing is one of the most popular methods of attack for cyber criminals. There has been a tenfold increase in phishing campaigns over the past decade reported to the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG).
Here are some tips for how to avoid email phishing attacks:
Learn Common Traits of Phishing Emails: There are some common content traits to phishing emails that can help you in recognizing them. Many are poorly written and contain spelling errors. Phishing emails often use spammy words such as “free’, ‘profits’, ‘no fees’ to promote offers. Many contain urgent in the subject line and threaten the loss of an existing account. These emails often have no personalization field for the recipient and contain no email signature for the sender. Finally, phishing emails often contain fake logos and poor structure. Be weary of logos of poor quality or an email message whose header and footer content looks different from the usual content you receive from a company.
Pick Up the Phone to Verify: If you receive a request for personal or financial information over email do not respond. Pick up the phone and call the company yourself using a number in your rolodex, not the one the email provides. Hackers use pressure tactics and prey on people’s fears by noting the urgency of the matter. If you have reason to believe that a company needs personal information about you right away, pick up the phone and confirm it. As a general rule, you should never share personal or financially sensitive information over the internet.
Do Not Click : Do not click on the link provided in an email provided by a company requesting personal or financial information. Type the URL into your web browser yourself or use a bookmark you previously created. Hackers can mask the true destination of a URL, even though a URL may look real in an email.
Verify a Site’s Security: Before ever submitting any personal or financial information to a website make sure the site’s URL begins with “https” and there is a closed lock icon near the address bar. Check for the site’s security certificate as well. If you get a message stating a certain website may contain malicious files, do not open the website. Never download files from suspicious emails or websites. Even search engines may show certain links which may lead users to a phishing webpage which offers low cost products. If the user makes purchases at such a website, the credit card details will be accessed by cyber criminals. Be wary of pop-ups. Pop-up windows often masquerade as legitimate components of a website. All too often, though, they are phishing attempts.
Keep Your Browser Up to Date: Security patches are released for popular browsers in response to security loopholes that phishers and other hackers discover. When an update for your browser is available, download and install it.
Keep Anti-virus Software Updated: Use antivirus software and be sure to keep your software up to date and enable spam filters. Antivirus software guards against known technology workarounds and loopholes. Anti-spyware and firewall settings should be used to prevent phishing attacks and users should update the programs regularly as these updates are made to counter new scams. Firewall protection stops access to malicious files by blocking the attacks. Antivirus software scans every file which comes through the internet to your computer and prevents damage to your system.
Periodically Check Your Accounts: Be sure that you are reviewing campaign banking, credit card and donation platform accounts daily to check for irregularities in your online transactions.
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Arc 3 Communications recently conducted a content marketing and social media training program for the Georgia Movers Association as a part of their annual conference. The program was attended by hundreds of moving company executives from across the state of Georgia. The annual conference was held at the Idle Hour Country Club in Macon.
Arc 3 Founder Patrick Burns provided insights on what is content marketing and why it is important for a moving company’s marketing efforts. Participants were provided insights into how to incorporate a content marketing process inside their business and the fundamental elements for developing and implementing a content marketing program.
The Arc 3 Communications team also provided insights regarding the major platforms in digital marketing today – Facebook and Google. Session included strategies on how moving companies can utilize Facebook advertising to market their business using tools like the Power Editor for targeting and Facebook Pixel for re-targeting. Tips for sharing timely and informative posts and how to leverage Facebook’s live video feature were also provided.
Session attendees were also provided tips for “Keeping Google Happy”. Practical and helpful website tips in the areas of security, page speed, local SEO, caching, optimizing images, accelerated mobile pages (AMP), and inbound links were shared. Finally, insights into Instagram Stories and Snapchat and trends that may lie ahead in marketing were presented.
The training session on content marketing and social media stimulated conversation among the moving company executive attendees on the types of content and marketing tactics members were using to help them to achieve their business goals.
Arc 3’s content marketing and social media training seminars are customized for trade associations and have been very valuable to their members. Content marketing and social media are changing everyday with new platform updates, tools, shifting audiences and techniques. Through our research, lab work and networking we keep up with the latest trends in content marketing and social media.
Want to talk about a customized content marketing and social media training program for your association? Contact us here or via Facebook Messenger. Or sign up for our newsletter to get the latest tips here.
Happy Anniversary Arc 3 Communications! As we celebrate the 6th year of our agency, I wanted to stop and reflect on those things that I’m grateful for as its founder. My entrepreneurial journey has been an amazing ride of ups and downs, but I have so many things to be grateful for. Here are some of those things that I’m most thankful for:
1. I am grateful for our clients in the public affairs space that have entrusted us over the years to help with their content, digital and analytics needs. We have worked with clients ranging from government agencies to trade associations to political campaigns at the local, state and national levels. We have developed new websites, social media campaigns and all types of amazing content to help them accomplish their legislative, policy, electoral and civic engagement goals.
2. I am grateful for the talented team of designers, developers, social media, technical and public affairs experts at Arc 3. I am also thankful for our interns that breathe life into our agency with their new ideas and energy. Our current interns from Kennesaw State University, Paul McNally and Kirbe Bostick are doing an awesome job for us.
3. I am grateful to our trusted partners in helping us to carry out our mission. These knowledgeable experts in accounting, law, finance, human resources and technology are invaluable.
4. I am grateful to the great team at Ignite HQ who provide us with an affordable and innovative office space to work in that is filled with other startups. The shared learning from other entrepreneurs has been immeasurable. I’m especially grateful that its located off of historic Marietta Square and close to home.
5. I am grateful to the many innovators in digital, social media and technology that have transformed media and marketing to a world driven by content and sharing. This includes not only the creators of well-known platforms such as WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn; but the countless other innovators who developed lesser known platforms that have helped to create a competitive marketplace that produces amazing channels for communication and sharing. Most noteworthy of late are those who have made website hosting extraordinarily better such as Flywheel.
6. I am grateful to our agency competitors, who by their efforts in the marketplace, push us to do better and strive to be our best.
7. I am grateful for the digital, social media, creative and tech start-up community of Atlanta in which we are constantly learning new tools and tactics through shared knowledge and learning. I am most grateful to the WordPress community.
8. As Founder of an agency focused on the civic space, I am grateful for the many long-standing institutions in government, politics and civic life and the people and ideas that sustain them. While its been under siege by a time of technological transformation, the great civic life of our country depends upon engaged citizens, media, candidates, elected officials, association executives and government public servants at all levels.
9. I am grateful for mentors, friends and colleagues throughout my career in government, politics, academia and the agency world who have offered sound advice and encouragement. Many have also referred business our way and I’m thankful.
10. I am most grateful to my family for their constant love, patience, prayers and support throughout my entrepreneurial journey. My wife Mary and our four children have shared this experience with me every step of the way. Mary has been a sounding board, critic, and cheerleader. Her kindness, patience and love has been the rock upon which my successful agency has been built.
Most of all, I am grateful to God for these last six years and the opportunity to embark on my entrepreneurial journey. Without his love and my faith in him, nothing is possible.
As children seek to emulate their parents and acquire smart phones and join social media networks such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat, what can parents do to make sure their children are safe, secure and using social media responsibly? Below is an easy social media parenting guide with a few tips and parameters for discussing the issue of social media usage with your kids. Want more info? Check out our in-depth social media tips for parents here.
In the wake of hackings in the last election cycle of 2016, the issue of cyber security and political campaigns has come to the forefront. Both the Republican National Committee and the Democratic National Committees are making significant investments to help prevent hacking in the 2018 election cycle. However, every day new data breaches and hackings are announced. Just recently a Republican phone polling firm announced a hacking that involved the compromise of hundreds of thousands of GOP donors personal information. The hacking of the Democratic National Committee in the 2016 election is well documented in the media. Cyber security is an urgent issue for campaigns, parties and candidates at all levels. We’ve written about the importance of a WordPress Maintenance program for campaign websites. But equally important is the securing of campaign social media accounts which are often the gateway upon which hackers enter campaigns and cause havoc.
How can you keep your campaign social media accounts safe? Here are 4 security tips to implement now.
Strong Password Management
In analysis of passwords by security companies, “1234” and “password” remain the two most popular passwords. Strong passwords are one of the only things that stand between your campaign’s social media accounts and hackers. Weak passwords are often created and unchanged in order that they are easily remembered by staff. While this is understandable, investing in a password manager such as Last Pass or 1Password is critical to keeping your passwords strong, safe and secure. These tools make it easy to create strong passwords through a random password generator and stores them in an encrypted vault. They also take away the hassle of continuously logging in. A password manager ensures your passwords are strong and changed frequently and not misplaced. You want to keep the hackers guessing, and managing your passwords on a consistent basis is the best way to do it.
In addition to proper management of your passwords in a password manager, be sure that you use different emails than your campaign email to sign up and manage your social media accounts. If possible utilizing different emails for different accounts ensures, that if one email is hacked into, not all of your social media accounts are compromised.
Limit Access to Your Social Media Accounts
Controlling access to your campaign social media accounts is vital. Limit access to your social media accounts to as few people as possible. Manage your social media accounts through a management system like HootSuite or Buffer. These systems allow you to grant access to social media accounts to staff without disclosing sensitive account information such as security and privacy settings. You can also limit which social media accounts that they have access too.
If you have a large team posting for you, consider narrowing it down. Consider asking your social media team to send posts, written text and graphics to a special inbox or Dropbox and let one person have access to the actual accounts. In the rough and tumble word of politics and campaigns, don’t give full access to accounts to anyone without great consideration. Unfortunately, hackers don’t always come from the outside, but can be a rogue or disgruntled former staff member.
Be sure that you have a software such as LogDog that alerts you before a social media account is compromised through its scanning for a variety of unauthorized-access indicators. Its alerts allow you to take back control of your social media accounts quickly.
Two-step (two-factor) authentication protects your accounts by requiring users to provide an additional piece of information after they enter the password to get into your social media account. The most common method of two- step authentication occurs over text messaging via cell phone. After putting in the password correctly, the social media platform will send out a specific code to the cell phone number on file. That code is then entered to log into the social media account. By enabling two-step authentication and having a particular code and cell phone number on file for your social media account, it is less likely to be hacked even in the event that someone gains access to your password. When two-step authentication is in place, if a social media account is accessed from an unknown device or IP address, the administrator will automatically get an alert notifying them of an unauthorized attempt to access the account.
The most popular social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter offer two-step authentication and instructions for locking down the accounts. Most of the other social media platforms work basically the same way with a little nuance to each.
Two-step authentication is one of the best ways to make sure your accounts aren’t compromised.
Manage Your Privacy Settings
Be sure that you check the security and privacy settings for all of your social media accounts on a routine basis. These settings help you to manage your online experience on these platforms. For example, Facebook’s privacy settings allows you to control who sees what you post from your account and customize your default settings for posts. As a campaign, there may be posts you would prefer you weren’t tagged in. With Facebook’s Tag Review and Timeline Review options, you can decide if you want a post to be published prior to it showing up on your timeline.
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Arc 3 Communications Social Media Marketing Intern Kirbe Bostick is a third year student at Kennesaw State University majoring in communications with a focus in media and entertainment studies. Her interests include comedy, anthropology, digital marketing and all things social media. In the future, she hopes to be a creative director for a marketing firm or a magazine.
Kirbe developed an interest in marketing and communications well before college. During her time at Marietta High School she began a grassroots breast cancer awareness fundraising effort. The project entitled “Pink-y Promise” was created to honor her mother, who had previously fought with breast cancer. Kirbe created and sold several rounds of t-shirts to the local Marietta community. The campaign was spread by word of mouth and social media outreach. The entire campaign was able to raise $5,000, that was then donated to the American Cancer Society. The “Pink-y Promise” project was pivotal in Kirbe’s life, as it introduced her to the world of marketing and communications and the importance of an effective message.
In her spare time, Kirbe enjoys volunteering. “As a college student, I have a variety of volunteer experiences that have contributed to making me a motivated and passionate public servant,” says Bostick. She currently serves as a volunteer with the Marietta Square Art Walk that promotes local artists in the city and is an office volunteer with Bristol Hospice, which provides palliative care in the Vinings area. She also serves as a mentor to Kennesaw State University freshman and transfer students as a part of the university’s Odyssey Peer Mentoring Program.
Kirbe’s interest in the arts also finds her attending as many music concerts and comedy shows as her schedule allows! She’s been lucky to see some of her favorite acts this year such as Hannibal Buress, Hasan Minhaj, Chance the Rapper, and The 1975.
Her diversity in music is reflective of her own ambitions and experiences in marketing. Her goal is to gain as much marketing experience as possible. “I am grateful for the internship opportunity at Arc 3 where I can work on a diverse range of projects and gain comprehensive experience in social media marketing,” Bostick said.
Welcome aboard Social Media Marketing Intern Kirbe Bostick! Look for Kirbe’s upcoming posts regarding social media marketing on our blog.
Social media has created a brave new virtual world over the last decade with platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and Snapchat creating communities with hundreds of millions and in some cases, billions of users. Facebook with well over 2 billion users is larger than the world’s most populous countries. These virtual communities created by the social networks have become a powerful way to stay connected with friends, family and thought leaders around the world. According to the Pew Research Center for Information and Technology over 69% of adults use social media networks with the majority of usage occurring on smart phones. As children seek to emulate their parents and acquire smart phones and join social media networks, what can parents do to make sure children are safe, secure and using social media responsibly? As parenting shouldn’t stop as children enter digital communities, here are a few tips and parameters for parents when confronting the issue of social media usage with their kids.
1. Decide a good age for your kids to begin
As a parent you decide when it is appropriate and best for your child to have a smart phone and its no different with social media. Only you know when your child is capable of handling and managing social media accounts. Do not succumb to the pressure of your child’s peer group. Its your decision. Do some research on the platforms and see what may be best for your child. Many platforms have age requirements before you can open an account. For example Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat have an age requirement of 13 to set up an account. It is strongly advised to follow the age requirements for each platform.
2. Talk to your kids about the positives and negatives of social media
Social media has many amazing and wonderful uses for people of all ages, but it also comes with risks and negatives. Make sure to research and learn the negatives and then explain them to your kids in a way they can understand and know what they are getting into. For example, according to the Pew Research Center for Information and Technology, social media is the most common venue for online harassment, with over 41% of adults being harassed online. Over half of young women in the U.S. according to Pew have received explicit images that they did not ask for. In addition there have been multiple studies that have shown that social media use can result in heightened levels of anxiety, jealousy and anti-social behavior among frequent users.
3. Learn and teach your kids about online privacy
One of the biggest risks about all online use, especially social media, is privacy. From reputation to personal information there are many aspects that need to be discussed with your children to protect them. Children should be advised not to interact with people that they do not know online and be aware that there are adults who pose as children online through the use of fake account profiles. They also should never meet in public alone someone that they first met online via social media. Also use social media platform privacy settings and your browser settings to help control and protect your child’s online activity. Also it is highly recommended that you use parental control software to monitor you child’s online usage on all relative devices in your family household such as desktop, mobile and tablet.
4. Monitor and regulate usage
It is important to make sure your child isn’t spending too much time or engaging in inappropriate activity on social media. Limiting usage to a home computer that is central in the home so usage can be observed is a good idea. Also limiting time spent browsing social media is an important measure, as over usage can quickly become addictive. Setting time parameters with you children is critical. With online monitoring software, you can see what content your child is viewing and set as off-limits certain types of sites. You can also monitor how much time they are spending online. Many internet providers, are now allowing you to have the easy capability of turning off the internet for certain users in your home as well as placing time limits for usage.
5. Keep up with the latest trends in social media
As a parent it is always important to stay up to date with the latest trends in social media and learn about the new platforms that are experiencing fast adoption rates among children and teens. It is important to “know what the kids are dancing to these days” online. That means keeping up with changes and updates to the social media platforms that you know your kids are using, and learn about ones that they may soon ask to sign up for. Make sure you know all the ins and outs of these platforms and how they are being used by young people. If your kids are on a platforms such as Instagram and Snapchat – you should be too. Know how to use the many technologies that they have access to.
These are some basic tips to help parents with the seemingly overwhelming world of social media. If regulated, monitored, and used properly social media can be a great and fun tool for the whole family. Who doesn’t enjoy sharing funny, moving, timely or informative content with family members – such as breaking news events announced on Facebook or Twitter or a funny video from YouTube? So when it comes to social media, just make sure you and your children are on the same page. Your love, guidance and support for your kids doesn’t stop at the shore once they enter the digital ocean of social media.
Interested in learning more about this topic? Contact us here for information on our social media parenting seminars for schools, PTAs, churches and neighborhood groups.
Paul McNally is a Communications major in his senior year at Kennesaw State University. Passionate about writing, public relations, and marketing he is currently interning for Arc 3 Communications as a Social Media Marketing Intern. Prior to attending Kennesaw State University, Paul attended the Art Institute of Atlanta where he studied graphic design, drawing and animation.
One of Paul’s proudest moments in his marketing career was having the opportunity to team up with Sober Living America, a non-profit organization that helps provide information, support, and recovery options for people struggling with addiction. Paul created a media kit and marketing plan to raise addiction awareness among college students at Kennesaw State University. This included an on-campus event for the non-profit which raised awareness in the media and online about the growing addiction epidemic among students and millennials and how to combat it.
In his spare time, Paul is an avid film, video game, and book geek. He also has a passion for music and enjoys rocking out on the guitar, playing alternative music. His passion for writing goes beyond the communications realm as he writes poetry and short fiction on the side. He and his wife, Trish, an elementary school teacher for the Cobb County School District reside in Kennesaw with their dog Malcolm. They also enjoy traveling and spending time outdoors hiking or just taking in the beauty of nature.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to practice the marketing skills that I learned in school in a small agency environment where I can work with different clients on diverse accounts,” McNally said. “I think being a Social Media Marketing Intern at Arc 3 is a great opportunity for me to do that right in the heart of downtown Marietta.”
Welcome aboard Paul! Look for Paul’s upcoming posts regarding social media tips and tactics in our blog.
Since even before the movie War Games in 1983 with Matthew Broderick, cyber security has long been a concern for governments, corporations and small businesses. However, in the last election cycle of 2016, the issue of cyber security and political campaigns came to the forefront. With hacking of the Democratic National Committee in the 2016 election, the hacking of the Marcon campaign and release of emails days before the French Presidential Election, and the breach of millions of voters’ data by a contractor for the National GOP, cyber security has become a critical, timely and urgent issue for campaigns, parties and candidates at all levels. While education and training for staff regarding two-step authentication of third-party systems and avoiding phishing attacks are all important for a campaign’s cyber security, a WordPress Maintenance program is a vitally important way to keep local campaigns and county political parties from being hacked and is often overlooked usually to the peril of those organizations involved.
The majority of local campaign and party websites are built on the WordPress platform. In fact, over 28% of the world’s websites are built on WordPress. This includes big brands like Disney, Sony, and The New York Times just to name a few. There’s a reason for this – WordPress is simply the best content management system out there. Its ease of use, functionality and affordability make it of one of the best CMS systems for the fast paced world of campaigns and elections. There are so many themes and plugins for WordPress that enable folks to create awesome websites with little or no hard coding involved. The open source community of WordPress, which includes the developers of the many themes and plugins for WordPress websites, is a treasure trove of resourceful information and can serve as a guide for web designers through any questions and problems that they may encounter in creating a WordPress website.
However, new versions of WordPress and the plugins and themes integrated with the platform are constantly being issued. For busy political operatives, state legislators, and county party officers, finding the time to do routine WordPress website maintenance is not easy. In a preliminary analysis of local campaign and county party sites across the country, it was found that many have outdated WordPress versions and are vulnerable.
Outdated versions of WordPress core, themes, and plugins can result in potential hacking. According to quarterly reports from the security company, Sucuri, three out of four websites hacked in 2016 ran the WordPress platform with 25% of these sites having the plugins TimThumb, GravityForms, and RevSlider. According to Sucuri, a majority of these hacked sites were running outdated versions of WordPress and the popular plugins. The majority of Word Press core, theme and plugin updates have to do with patching security vulnerabilities. WordPress and theme and plugin developers are always striving to make their products better and improve their features with new versions, but security is a paramount issue and dominates new releases.
Political hacking is on the upswing and WordPress sites are the most vulnerable when not updated. A WordPress maintenance program that provides updates to your site on a routine basis is affordable and the best way to avoid hacking. A WordPress maintenance program is proactive, smart and provides peace of mind.
A safe, secure, and fast performing campaign website is vital to being able to raise awareness about your campaign’s message to voters, donors, and potential volunteers and grassroots supporters. It is crucial in achieving your subscriber, volunteer, fundraising and electoral goals. In today’s new paradigm of electoral hacking, a WordPress maintenance program is an easy way to keep your site intact, free from danger and a quick read for viewers.
What should a WordPress maintenance program entail? A couple of key things should be provided by your vendor. First and foremost your agency should be accessible by phone and email and provide customer service that answers technical questions, provides prompt bug fixes and enhancements, and is willing to communicate with your website’s hosting provider when there is an issue. The agency should also do daily backups of your website files and database that are independent of the back ups that are done by your hosting provider. WordPress core and your site’s plugins and themes should be regularly updated to the latest version. Real time up-time monitoring and security scanning should also be provided along with regular site speed and performance testing. Your vendor should also do regular site optimization through the cleaning of your database and any post revisions. Finally, a monthly analytics and performance report that includes minor design and content update recommendations to help you achieve your subscriber, volunteer, fundraising and electoral goals should be provided.
Interesting in learning about our WordPress website maintenance program for campaign websites? We have experts who have been tested in the crucible of political campaigns, public service, technology and digital. Our passion and experience in WordPress website development and maintenance makes us the right choice for any political campaign. Contact us here or via Facebook Messenger now.