Ahhh December 2016. It is that time of year again. Christmas and other holiday celebrations are just days and weeks away.
However you celebrate, whether you are planning the festive feast, travelling to a far-flung location, or madly getting your gifts ready, you’re likely to be with others: your family, your pals, your in-laws, your friends or work associates.
So we have a proposal for all you IT security-savvy types out there…Join TBG Security’s
Here is our plan: let’s flex that IT security muscle and expertise to help better protect our fellow holiday makers, so the less cybersecurity savvy be a wee bit safer in the new year: 2017.
Not only will you get that gorgeous, cosy, feel-good feeling, this is a clever way to sneak away from the crowds, should you be feeling a little overwhelmed with the giggling, singing, gobbling, squabbling, gossiping, nagging, and story-telling that is invariably present at this time of year.
So, without further ado, here are TBG Security’s top tips to better secure your aunt’s, boss’s, dad’s, friend’s, brother-in-law’s or granny’s digital stuff. Even if you implement just one of these suggestions for a single person, you get the TBG Security’s nod of respect.
I’d argue that even the most security-savvy users are not on top of the legacy app problem.
I am referring to those apps that have intrigued us enough to get us to download them onto our devices, be it a phone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer.
The problem is these apps is that they are no longer used. Not only are they sitting there taking up space on your systems, they also pose a significant security risk.
Many of these are attached to a social media account that we might still use and value; the passwords might be easy to hack (many users think that apps that aren’t tied to financial accounts needn’t be properly protected behind a fortress of a password).
Worse, these might not have been updated regularly. Deleting the accounts and removing the unused apps completely from a device resolves the problem.
Most people have some form of IT security, such as anti-virus or a firewall, already installed or available on their devices. But having someone with IT security nous review the settings and ensure that everything is running properly can significantly strengthen your family member’s security posture.
Check that firewalls and encryption settings (especially within apps) are installed, running and up to date.
Run a full anti-virus scan, ensuring the security software is up to date. You can use the Security Features Check from AMTSO to test whether it is working properly.
Ensure security updates for both the system and its installed applications are set to occur automatically where possible.
We in the security industry know how hard password management is, but we also know its intrinsic value, and we have access to the techniques and tools that make passwords harder to crack.
One is to ensure that all passwords are unique, long, containing many characters, and not associated with anything personal in our lives (many a hacker troll social media accounts for password clues).
I am not convinced this is possible without keeping a record of these passwords somewhere. So, if suitable, introduce your family member to a reputable digital password manager. You can find a good review of the top performers in this TechRadar article.
Now, having tried to introduce digital password managers to my own family, I am not convinced digital passwords managers are for everyone. The purpose and usage of an online safe can be difficult to convey, especially for those who find navigating across various apps baffling.
For these people, I’d recommend you teach them how to create complex passwords. They can either use an algorithm known only to them, or get write them down in a special book and keep it somewhere secure, like a physical safe. This approach, to my mind, is much safer than using just a handful of easy-to-remember passwords across all sites and apps.
Social media account settings, such as those in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram, are often changed by the providers of these community-driven applications, but rarely reviewed by the user.
Finding out where your loved one has accounts and offering to strengthen these settings is a great way to better protect them against a cyber attack. Turning off all features that are not used is great. And perhaps take a second to review privacy settings too, ensuring the account is sharing information with trusted contacts and friends only.
And that’s it. Job done. A huge thank you for taking part in the TBG Security’s IT Security Holiday Lock Down.
TBG Security is a leading provider of information security and risk management solutions for Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 companies. TBG designs and delivers cyber security solutions to work in harmony with existing operations. Companies depend on TBG services in areas including risk management, penetration testing, security policy development, security strategies for compliance, business continuity, network security, managed services, software and service integration and incident response.
For more information on how TBG Security can help your organization with your information security initiatives please visit https://tbgsecurity.com.