If there is anything to take away from the recent security breaches related to top officials such as Hillary Clinton and John Podesta (and this past year with releases from WikiLeaks and Guccifer2.0) it’s this: no one is completely safe when it comes to cyber security.
Disregard the politics and bring it down to a real level.
These individuals that have been targeted are government officials which have access to some of the toughest security in the world. Now imagine what that wrath could bring if these same types of individuals directed their attention to your personal information – or that of your business.
There is no such thing as 100% security but there is a great importance to trying.
Often you can deter a cyber-attack simply by creating a barrier to entry; these individuals have the skill to penetrate just about any system but they rather seek those which have weak points because it allows for a greater return on their investment.
The general thought process is “why waste my time going after this individual that has security when I can do twice as much damage focusing on those that don’t”.
The name of the game is to create these roadblocks to stop would-be attackers and send them on their way. The process of creating the blocks is far easier than you’d think if you have a bit of time, money, and energy to invest in the security measures.
· Encrypted Hardware – It’s not enough to rely solely on software solutions for your privacy; hardware solutions should also become one of your investments. A great starting point for anyone serious about their security is with a secure USB flash drive which is built on the same concept of what you may already use daily but with additional layers of encryption (on the hardware level with actual PIN combinations and with software). If you are able to at least keep your most vital information on this type of device, alone, you are already one step ahead of the game. From there it’s a matter of locking down the other areas such as with a router firewall and secured locations for hardware.
· Secured Smartphone – Smartphones are very prevalent in society which makes them a perfect target for the malicious types. We use our phones for online banking, social media, private conversations, and so much more which makes them a prime target. Besides the general set of locks and security features built in to our devices – it’s wise to be proactive and explore mobile security apps for your phone which will add an extra layer of protection.
· Password Policies – Passwords are easy to guess because people are liberal with their information. Sometimes it’s as easy as reading a post-it note on a computer screen or using security questions which are directly tied to information (like mother’s maiden name) found on our social profiles. Best practices in passwords means not only using uncommon phrases and characters but also readily updating them every few months; plus, the use of two-factor authenticators when available.
· Software Updates/Patches – Individuals that ignore software updates and patches because they are annoying or will take away “precious” time are setting themselves up for an attack. Patches and updates don’t just add features – they’re often bundled with security updates which are vital to combat rapidly evolving techniques. Click ‘Accept’ the next time you’re prompted for an OS, app, or software update as it may be crucial to your security.
· Regular Backups – Since security isn’t 100%, it’s best to have a fallback plan in the event of a set-back or full-on disaster. When disaster strikes, you will be thankful you have conducted regular backups to your important information. Backups can be automated which makes them a no-brainer. A combination of online and off-site backups will provide the best fallback; this not only goes for your main workstation but other devices like your phone and storage devices.
Security is a very real topic that needs to be part of your normal routine especially as more of the world is connected. You could be a squeaky-clean individual that posts very little information online, but due to the amount of information that’s collected from different agencies and shared by close individuals, you may never know the true extent of what can happen if someone were to gain access to your private information. It’s better safe than sorry in this case; there’s no excuse for putting security to the aside, considering how easy it is to deter many individuals that may target you.
What are you doing to keep your personal information secure?