Did you know November 30th is Computer Security Day? We take data security very seriously at Integrity Surety and thought we’d share with you some of our favorite tips to help keep your data safe. Remember, it’s never just YOU that’s affected – your company, your clients, your friends, and your family can all be affected by the security penetration of your computer.
- DON’T CLICK EMAIL LINKS! DON’T CLICK EMAIL LINKS! DON’T CLICK EMAIL LINKS!
- OK, maybe that’s a bit exaggerated, yet… it’s not. Phishing-based viruses, ransomware, and keyloggers are currently 80% of “hacking” attacks. These attackers know that YOU are the weakest link in the security chain, and they are getting VERY good at manipulating you. Learn how to “hover” over an email address, weblink, or attachment to confirm that the name matches the email, and the web address makes sense (for instance, why would “Martha” at Walgreens be using a @gmail and sending you a t.co.xxxxxxxxx.com link?). Call the sender on the phone to confirm they sent you a link to download something. If there’s nothing else you do for security, make sure you are diligent about training yourself, your staff, and your family on this risk! The average Ransomware demand is currently $600,000; last year Cybercrime was the third-largest industry IN THE WORLD.
- Keep everything updated. Turn on automatic updates whenever available. Browsers and computers especially, but programs, apps, and phones – let them all automatically download and install manufacturer security updates.
- Change your passwords monthly. It may be a pain, but at least prioritize some – computer, email, banking – and change them monthly. Consider using a password manager app, which can alert you if it sees any of your passwords “out there” being traded, sold, or involved in a data breach.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication (aka MFA or 2FA)! Some apps, websites, and programs will offer this independently, but use MFA on your computers, VPN, email, and anything that touches the internet. MFA will utilize a secondary factor to authenticate that person entering the password to log into the bank account, email, computer, or anything else protected by the MFA. You enter your password, hit enter, and then the MFA system asks your phone (text, call, or app) to confirm that it’s you.
- Encrypt outbound emails, especially if it contains sensitive information such as banking information, personally identifying information, passwords, or business information. Remember, if it’s not encrypted, anyone that intercepts an email (or text) can instantly utilize contained information.
- DO NOT ASSUME DEFAULT SETTINGS ARE SAFE! For instance, the Microsoft Office 365 suite, which is extremely flexible and can be easy to set up, gets that flexibility by setting defaults that are “open” to manipulation and possibly corruption. Pay a professional to set up and manage your Office, Outlook, Sharepoint, and OneDrive so your data is safe.
- HIRE A PROFESSIONAL! This is a wise business investment. Your whiz nephew may be sweet and generous to help you with your IT, but make the investment to hire a professional who can properly set up and protect your IT resources, set up backups that are hacker-resistant, and train and test you and your staff on risks and best practices.
We have many recommendations and resources and are happy to share our experiences with you. Please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions. Or you can reach us here. To follow our company, visit our socials.
Happy Computer Security Day!