Digital Security Best Practices

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link

Hi everyone!  Each of us need to exercise healthy security habits to keep our systems and information safe.  To help, we put together some tips for you and your team. I’ll keep them short and sweet; I promise.

TIP #1

The bad guys are out there: ready to take advantage of any vulnerabilities they can find. Trying to trick you into giving out your password. Thinking they can fool you into providing an entry point for our company’s critical data. Exploiting any openings.

The good news is that no one expects you to be a security expert.  I’m here to help, and we’re all on this journey together.

In this post, we’ll be reviewing some good security habits and signs of danger to watch for.  But anytime you aren’t sure about what to do, reach out and ask your IT group.  Whether it’s an email that seems a bit off or a link that took you to a web site that looks sketchy, reach out and ask about it.

If you see something, say something!

TIP #2

123456 or Password1?

Silly passwords like the ones above  are favorites for those who don’t know a better way to protect their online accounts. Weak passwords like these make it easy for someone with bad intentions to break into your accounts and steal your identity and data.

It’s not difficult to create and use a strong password. Mix upper and lowercase characters and mix in special characters and numbers. Avoid choosing personal references that others can easily discover, such as your birthday or the names of pets or relatives. Don’t select a word from the dictionary.

Keep your password safe. Make sure you use a unique password for each system. Never tell anyone else your password. Don’t store your password on a sticky note attached to your device or an unencrypted file.

You know how to keep yourself protected. Be safe out there!

TIP #3

Email is the most common way that cybercriminals try to break into accounts and systems. Almost 500 million phishing emails are sent each day. Every 60 seconds, 250 computers are hacked.

A phishing email pretends to come from a friend, colleague, or familiar organization. The email may ask you to click on a link, open an attachment or go to a specific website. You will probably regret taking the action requested, as it may allow download of a malicious program that can do all sorts of mischief and badness to your data and computer.

We have controls in place to spot and stop these mails before they get to you. But that doesn’t mean we can catch them all—and here’s where you come in. Be suspicious. Be especially suspicious of any email that is not a response to one you’ve sent. Hover your mouse over any links to verify a link’s actual email location, even if the link comes from a trusted source. And if the mail contains an attachment, all your alarm bells should sound. Do not open it. If in doubt, call the person you believe sent it to you, or check with our team before opening it.

You know how to keep yourself protected. The more you know.

TIP #4

Not only is there no free lunch, there’s no free, safe, password-free public Wi-Fi.

Public Wi-Fi hotspots are a quick and easy way to get online when you’re out and about. Unlike your Wi-Fi at work or home, not all public hotspots are password protected. That means anyone, even hackers, can connect to the hotspot and use it to infect your device with malware, steal your online usernames and passwords, access files on your computer, and even steal your financial details.

There are ways to access the internet more safely using public Wi-Fi. Configure your devices to connect to prompt you before connecting to any unknown Wi-Fi networks. Don’t install updates or programs on your devices while using public Wi-Fi. Verify with the provider that you are logging onto the correct network. Use a trusted VPN service to secure your traffic. Double check that no one can see your screen or “shoulder surf” when you work with sensitive information. Wherever possible, avoid public Wi-Fi altogether by using mobile data services such as 5G.

TIP #5

Hackers are clever and they’re always coming up with new ways to fool us. Malware—or malicious software—comes in many shapes and sizes. A common form is ransomware, which encrypts the victim’s data storage drives so data is inaccessible to the owner unless the owner pays a ransom for the encryption key. There are also many other kinds of malware: worms, trojans, rootkits and other similar evils.

You have the power to head off malware with some good habits that are already familiar. Start by installing software updates and security patches promptly. Back up your data regularly. Maintain strong passwords and change them frequently. Be smart about email. Be savvy about entering information only on secure sites (look for the closed padlock next to the address and an address that begins with https://) Log out at the end of the day.

Questions? Reach out to me or any member of our team.

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