Accidental risks in the home and on the road

Hi. Craig Peterson here with a blink into accidental risks in the home and on the road.
Some of the things we may not be thinking about when we’re working at home, or out of the office.
 There’s the physical dangers:
  • Children and pets can be a surprising threat. 
  • Cats have a habit of jumping on computer keyboards 
Data exposure:
  • Inquisitive minds might press a few keys when a laptop is unattended.  
  • Don’t use the family computer for work especially if children are using it.
  • Home computers are often accessed by multiple people who visit various websites and execute many different pieces of software. And the next time your computer connects back to the office, you may have made it easy for a hacker to attack your business.
  • Home computers usually use weak passwords or no passwords at all, making it easy to gain access to your machine, which can then be used to access your office data if you remotely connect to your business’s network.
  • Most consumer-ready antivirus products won’t stop sophisticated hackers targeting your organization – which is what most home computers are running.
  • Systems are typically not backed-up, creating a big risk for Disk failure
  • Email “spoofing” protection is usually not available for home users. It’s easier to trick the user into making a damaging statement or releasing sensitive information (such as passwords) when they’re working at home.
  • Home systems are typically not encrypted, making theft particularly hazardous

Steps to Keep Your Devices Safe on the Road

Keep Your Software Up to Date

One of the most critical cybersecurity tips to mitigate ransomware is patching outdated software, both the operating system and applications.

Use Anti-Malware Protection & Firewall

Your firewall is defensive hardware/software that screens out hackers, viruses, and other malicious activity from getting into your system from the internet.  

Strong Passwords & Password Management Tools

  1. Strong passwords are critical to online security. The truth is passwords are essential in keeping hackers out of your data! 
  2. Look up the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) 2017 for the new password policy framework.
  3. Manage your passwords using a password management tool like 1Password.

Two-Factor or Multi-Factor Authentication

Two-factor or Multi-factor authentication is an additional layer to your security to the standard password method of online identification.

Watch Out for Phishing Scams – suspicious of emails, phone calls, and flyers.

Phishers pose as someone with the ulterior motive of tricking the recipient to giving away credentials, opening attachments, or getting them clicking on malicious links that infect their systems, and these often lead to ransomware attacks.

  1. Bottom line – Don’t open any email from those you don’t know.
  2. Check all links to be sure they go where you think they do. Read carefully — sometimes there may be only a single character change. 
  3. Be suspicious and always check who the sender is and where it came from and if there are grammatical errors.
  4. Malicious links can come from infected friends. So, be extra careful!

Protecting Your Sensitive Personal Identifiable Information (PII).

Keep all your Personal Identifiable Information (PII) safe and secure. Cybercriminals use this information to identify or locate an individual. Personally, Identifiable Information includes names, addresses, phone numbers, dates of birth, Social Security Numbers, IP addresses, GPS data (location details), or any other physical or digital identity data.

Securely Use Your Mobile Devices

  1. Create a long and robust mobile passcode – Strive for 16 characters in length. 
  2. Only install apps from trusted sources.
  3. Update all your Devices – Cybercriminals love to use unpatched vulnerabilities in older operating systems.
  4. Never send sensitive information through electronic means. 
  5. Use the apps Find my iPhone or the Android Device Manager to prevent theft and ease recovery.
  6. Conduct regular mobile backups using iCloud or Enabling Backup & Sync from Android

Backup Your Data Regularly

  1. Proper Backup, your data is often an overlooked step in personal online security. I recommend that you follow this simple rule called the 3-2-1 backup rule. 
  2. Primarily, that means keeping three copies of your data on two different types of media (local and external hard drive) and a minimum of one copy in an off-site location (cloud storage).

Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi

I recommend using your cell network if you don’t have a Private VPN when security is essential.

Watch for Changes: Review Each of Your Online Accounts & All Credit Reports Regularly.

  1. It’s more critical than consumers safeguard all of their online accounts and monitor their credit reports. 
  2. Almost all the credit bureaus offer a credit freeze. It is one of the most effective ways for you to protect your personal credit information from getting into cybercriminals’ hands.