Cyber security isn’t just for geeks and nerds anymore. From the boardroom to the bedroom, you need to start practicing good cyber security habits.  2017 was filled with news about cyber security breaches that impacted individuals, companies, and government organizations.  There are small steps you can take to protect yourself.

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Cyber Security applies to everyone

At Home

Home is a place where we want to relax at the end of the day.  It is a place to focus on our families. Home is also a place where we are very lax on cyber security.

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Good cyber security at home

Ensure your devices are password protected and that if you are using the same device with family members, that each user has a separate log in and password.  Different users may need different access to programs and many people keep their banking account applications on the same device they let their children use to play games.

Cameras on smart phones and laptops are a great way to capture life’s moments and video chat with friends and family.  Be aware of cameras in private settings like bathrooms and bedrooms.  It can be easy to accidentally press a button and share a lot more than you originally intended.

Set parental controls for your children.  Children are especially vulnerable and predators seek them out through the virtual means.   It is also a good idea to check browsing history after your child’s screen time is over.

  • Use a different password for each user
  • Be cognizant of cameras on devices
  • Set parental controls

On the Move

Whether eating out, going to a concert, or enjoying a hike, sharing your life’s events on social media is here for the foreseeable future.

It is recommended by many to wait to share your travel photos and other details of your trips, after the event is over.  Criminals have been known to follow a person on social media and break into their homes while they are traveling.  This is an example of how cyber crime and physical crime can cross.

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Cyber security on move.

GPS sharing on your phone is common and many people use fitness apps to track their runs and other activities.  The same apps that allow you to track your fitness routes, allow others to follow you.  Also many apps will ask for permission to access your GPS location that don’t require that information.  Think twice before hitting yes.

It is often tempting to log onto the local free network at a cafe, rather than max out your data plan.  Third parties can siphon information from these networks and gain access to your personal information.  With today’s growth of unlimited data plans, think twice before connecting to an unknown network.  Encrypting your data and using VPNs are also options.

  • Share after an event
  • Limit your GPS location sharing
  • Be weary of open networks

At Work

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Cyber security at work

It is easy to become complacent at work and to assume that all of your coworkers have the same values as you.  Insider threats were considered the major cyber security threat of 2017.  The threat of insiders using your account to access information is a significant reason to lock your screen when you are not at your keyboard.  It just takes an extra second to be cautious.

When you go to a new organization all of the changes can be pretty overwhelming.  You might not have found the network security awareness training as important as the information on your new 401k. Take the time after you have been working at an organization for a while to go back to the cyber security department and verify that you know your new organizations procedures.  Most cyber security professionals will be glad you are showing an interest.

When you see something strange happen to your computer, it might be a hacker and not simply a glitch.  Know the proper reporting procedure in your organization to report suspicious activity.  It is not just the IT departments job to keep the network secure.  Report suspicious network activity the same as you would suspicious physical activity.

  • Lock screens when not in use
  • Know organizational policies
  • Report suspicious activity
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Cyber security doesn’t have to be complicated

Cyber security habits can help protect you, your family, and your livelihood.  Take the few extra seconds to secure your data, just like you would buckling into a car.  Cyber security can be simple and easy.  Resources are available at the USCERT and the DHS – Stop, Think, Connect sites.

Life is a Project!

Teaser:   Love your project team