TechComplyButtonMatt Gunn, Managing Editor | TechComply

With the end of the year fast approaching, and the promise of 2014 ahead, TechComply would like to take a moment to reflect on some of the highlights of 2013. In the eight months since Safe Systems launched this blog, we’ve covered a wide range of news, events, advice and analysis spanning the financial services IT industry.

From operating systems to malware, social media to Microsoft Office, our readers have been interested in a wide range of topics. With nearly a year of TechComply posts under our belt, we look forward to covering the many interesting stories that are sure to affect the industry next year. Until then, let’s take a brief look back at the year that was.

The following is a collection of the top-five posts from 2013, ranked by number of pageviews. 

5: Three Free Tools to Help Banks Monitor Social Media Activity

Since the FFIEC first proposed new guidance in January, social media has been a hot topic both among banks and credit unions and the many industry publications and vendors that serve the industry. As with any other industry, some financial institutions have adopted various social channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube, for marketing and communications efforts over the past several years. Many others haven’t engaged, but are still curious about these interactive sites and services. When interest sparked over the proposed guidance, I wrote this post to illustrate some of the free services out there that can help an institution new to social media begin to explore and monitor some of the activity already out there in the social world. While it’s no means an endorsement of these services — or even a comprehensive list — the post went on to be among the most-read articles on this site. Read more. 

4: Infographic: Key Differences Between Windows 7 and Windows 8

Microsoft is ending its support of Windows XP on April 8, 2014. I know because I’ve probably started to come across sounding like a broken record telling our readers all about it. This infographic illustrating the key differences between Windows 7 and Windows 8 was among the many pieces we put together on the subject of Microsoft operating systems this year. Why? Well, at some point those institutions looking to migrate off Windows XP will have to make a decision. And part of that decision might come down to features and familiarity. Cutting edge as it may seem, Windows 8’s design features some bold changes that be a surprise for those users who have become accustomed to Windows’ traditional functions, such as the Start menu. Microsoft has addressed some of the big changes highlighted in this infographic since we published it in June, and will continue its support for Windows 7 through 2020. Read more.

3: Know Your Threats: Birele File Encryption Malware

Malicious software is no stranger to a seasoned IT professional. We see it all the time. New malware threats continue to pop up with each passing year, whether they’re variations of existing viruses or altogether new ones. The bad guys are getting smarter, and awareness goes a long way to help prevent infection. Well, that and a layered approach to security that includes critical application patching, monitoring, antivirus and other techniques. One particularly nasty piece of malware we became aware of this year, Birele, is capable of locking up and encrypting files and holding them ransom until the user or institution pays a fee. You can read more about it here.

2: OpUSA Hackers Threaten May 7 DDoS Attack on Banks

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have been en vogue with individuals or organizations who want to disrupt an organization’s website or use a website outage as a diversionary tactic to hide other efforts to infiltrate — and possibly steal from — a company or other organization. Whether intended as an inconvenience or a serious threat, these DDoS attacks have captured the public’s attention and caused more than a few headaches in the information security world over the past couple years. One of the biggest headline grabbers in our industry this year came from the so-called hacktivist group, Anonymous, and was aimed squarely at financial services. We published the news of these threatened DDoS attacks shortly before they were to have hit on May 7. And while OpUSA’s attack ultimately didn’t cause widespread outages, the story certainly captured a lot of attention. Read more.

1: How to Disable SkyDrive in Office 2013

Microsoft is moving more of its services into the cloud, and wants its users to follow suit. Case in point, Office 2013 came with a default setting for all files to be saved in Microsoft’s proprietary cloud storage service, SkyDrive. But it’s not for everyone. Especially for security minded businesses, such as financial institutions that cannot allow potentially sensitive documents to evaporate into someone else’s cloud. Since we published this how-to in July, it’s been the single most popular TechComply post on SafeSystems.com. Read more.

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