When it comes to securing your technology are you doing enough? How much is enough, and how do you know when you’ve reached that threshold?
When it comes to IT security, I’ve always held the belief that you can spend as much or as little as you like based on the level of risk you’re willing to accept. This still hold true today. You can run unpatched systems, ignore firewalls, provide open WiFi access and do any number of things that make your environment insecure if you don’t have any concerns about the consequences.
Having been in IT for a while now, I’ve lived through some of the biggest attacks from Code Red and Nimda to CryptoLocker. The exploits continue to come, and some don’t give security the attention it deserves to prevent the next attack or recover from the last.
Have you been ignoring the nag prompt that says you’ve got updates that need to be installed? Do you know the last time your anti-malware software was updated or scanned your system? If you’re not an IT admin, you probably don’t think that is your job or your responsibility and you may be right. But what we all need to realize is that people are one of the weakest links in the security chain. It takes diligence on everyone’s part to be secure.
So here are 10 quick user tips for users to help make things more secure:
- Check for updates and if they are available take the time to let them install and reboot.
- Take a look at what is running on your computer. Do you know what all those little icons are? Check them out and see, some are probably Adobe and Java nags about updates and maybe you’ve tried to install them and don’t have rights on your work computer. If you can’t install them, it doesn’t mean you don’t need them, put in a trouble ticket and remind IT they need to patch your computer.
- Make sure your anti-malware (anti-virus) software is in working order and that it is running the latest definitions.
- Don’t walk away from an unlocked computer (especially in a public place). If you need to get up, lock your computer first: Windows Key + L (make sure you’ve set a password) or on a Mac read this.
- When you join a new network that isn’t work or home, make sure you choose not to share on the network.
- Do not open attachments or click links that come in an email unless you are certain it is legitimate. Just knowing who it came from isn’t enough. These things can be spoofed or the sender’s machine might be infected as well.
- Just like in the real world, if you see something that isn’t right in the technology world report it.
- Make sure your phones and tablets are set to lock themselves so that they don’t give away all your personal information when stolen.
- Make sure you’ve got backups of your data. If you’re using a work device, make sure that it is syncing to your organizations servers or cloud service. If there is a message that says, can’t connect to something report it. If you have personal devices use an online backup service because odds are really good one day you’ll need it.
- Don’t use the same password for everything. Hackers are constantly hacking sites and trying to discover login credentials. If you use the same password in multiple locations, rather that just having one thing compromised you’ll have many. Check into two-factor authentication too. Many online services allow you to enter a mobile number that a text message can be sent to to confirm that the person logging in is actually you. It only takes a minute and it can save you a bunch if someone does get your password.
These are some basic tips to help secure your technology. As I said at the beginning you can spend as much or as little on security as you want, but if everyone did these 10 things it would make a big difference.