The cover story, “‘Cause We Are Living in a Digital World,” in the Spring 2017 issue of Security Smart Newsletter has a great refresher of six security tips to keep in mind every time you go online.
These are worth repeating and sharing because “the more devices, apps and online services you use on a daily basis, the more you expose yourself to security risks.”
1. Look for the green padlock
Look in your web browser’s address bar for HTTPS and the green padlock icon. They indicate that all your web traffic is encrypted on your device as it passes over Wi-Fi, via the ISP, through the internet (and various countries) and then finally arrives unencrypted on the server of the resource you are accessing. Otherwise, web traffic between your device and the information you’re trying to retrieve on the internet may be viewed at any number of points.
2. Join the grammar police
Poor grammar, off-looking branding, and a sense of urgency are hallmarks of a phishing message. When you see these, or you get a “phishy” vibe, don’t click on a link, or open any attachments in it. Just delete it.
3. Lock your devices
Mobile devices contain details of where we’ve been, who we’ve called, images of loved ones, and they’re often where we receive password-reset text messages. At the very least, lock your mobile devices with a PIN. For more security and ease of use, opt for biometric authentication (such as a fingerprint).
4. Be unique … with passwords
Use strong, random (not guessable) and unique passwords. Not just for websites, but also for those everyday gadgets that are now connected to the internet. Baby monitor cameras being hacked, and other stories of IoT breaches often occur when consumers don’t change manufacturer-set passwords.
5. Evaluate app permissions
Take a look at the requests for app permission when you go to download a mobile app. Does that QR reader, for example, really need access to your calendar and contacts? If not, don’t install it. And always use official app stores, like Google Play or Apple App Store.
6. Maintain maintenance
With mobile devices and many PCs, you can set and forget automatic updates to your applications. With any in-home connected devices, read the user manual to learn how to check for updates. Without software maintenance, you may be exposing yourself to major security vulnerabilities the manufacturer has now patched.