If you’re like most Americans, you’ve become increasingly concerned about online security and privacy. When we see huge corporations like Anthem Insurance and Sony Pictures getting hacked, it definitely raises concerns. Let’s not forget the breaches that happen every day and affect average people. Intivix offers clients many IT security solutions as part of our services, but we have additional tips for people to protect themselves at work and at home.
Best Practices for Work
Here is what we recommend for secure computer and internet use while at work:
- When you’re away from your desk, always lock your computer. Use a screensaver lock, which clients typically receive as part of their Intivix service.
- Choose complex passwords that are at least 9 characters long, and combine letters, numbers, and symbols. This makes it harder to guess, unlike the common “1-2-3-4-5-6”.
- Regularly patch 3rd party and Windows software, which is a service included for Intivix clients.
- Do not use the same password for more than one account or on multiple computers. Once criminal figures it out, they can get access to everything. Come up with different combos for different computers.
- Never give your password to anyone, no matter how much you trust them.
- Beware of emails with links and attachments that are unfamiliar. Even if it looks like a vendor you recognize, the email may be forged to look legitimate. Notify IT before clicking, and go to that vendor’s site and manually logon instead of going through email links.
- Never run or download any new programs without IT approval. This goes for installing new software as well.
- Your business should invest in security awareness training. Training programs from experts will educate your employees on the best practices for end-user security. Programs include simulations of phishing attacks, live demonstrations, case studies, and videos. Whether you access the training via software-as-a-service in the cloud, a fully managed service, or by loading training modules into your own Learning Management System, the end result will be the same. Your employees will be up to date on the latest scams and show you who needs more security training.
Best Practices at Home
You can improve your security and internet safety at home with the following tips:
- Install antivirus software on all personal devices. Take advantage of free subscriptions, whether you think they slow down your computer or not. You can upgrade if it needs to go faster.
- Always keep your software and operating systems up to date. Set aside a time to let them reboot to keep everything current and secure.
- Firewalls should be installed, whether it is personal or an operating system type. They are a great way to combat malware that tries to connect out of its home server.
- Never click on pop-up windows telling you your computer has a virus. That is not how antivirus software works, and it is just a scam looking for money.
- Avoid downloading pirated software. Usually, there is malware included, as well as being an illegal practice.
- Avoid using public wi-fi hotspots unless you use an encrypted VPN connection.
- Don’t overshare on social media. Companies can scan your profile and collect information on you that they use later to deliver malware to your devices.
- Be aware of Social Engineering. This is a practice used by criminals to get you to give up personal information. They try to get passwords and other personal info by pretending to be an email from a friend, tell you you’ve won something, ask for donations to a charity, pretend to be a friend stuck in another country looking for money to get home, and more. Think twice about every email you receive that looks suspicious and trust your gut.