Under the overarching theme of ‘Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.’, the 16th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is focused on encouraging personal accountability and proactive behavior in security best practices, digital privacy and draw attention to careers in cybersecurity. This week we discuss what is meant by Own IT!
One question that is often asked is “Who is responsible for data and network security?”
The answer is simple. If it’s your data, you are. You may have products from multiple providers involved in your security measures, or you may have one or many cloud providers keeping out the unauthorized, but responsibility for the data will always rest with the company or person owning the data. You have the most to lose!
NCSAM lists three subheadings under the “Own IT” heading:
Never Click and Tell: staying safe on social media
The first thing you must banish from your mind is that “this will never happen to me.”
Rest assured, everyone who has had their data stolen or viruses dropped onto their computer or their bank accounts emptied has said the same thing. Then it happened.
The upside is that social media has connected everyone to everyone. The downside is that social media has connected everyone to everyone. When you announce online that you’re going on a vacation, bad guys note that information and plan to pay a visit while you’re gone. Fraudsters know exactly what to scan for, information that could lead to your bank account info, social security numbers, personal information about your job, your friends, and everything you do. They’re not targeting anybody in particular. Anyone will do.
The national education campaign dedicated to helping people learn how to stay safe online is called STOP.THINK.CONNECT. The name itself contains a great message. Instead of mindlessly conversing online, responding to every post, or just posting anything that occurs to you, STOP. THINK about what you’re about to say and how bad-actors could use that information against you. Only after you’ve thought this through should you CONNECT to any social network.
Owning IT means the solution begins with you.
Update Privacy Settings
Nothing valuable is ever “set-it-and-forget-it.” Make it a habit to visit your social network privacy settings. Things change constantly and you may need to make some changes to protect yourself from emerging threats.
It is not a crime to block certain people. Anyone you find unstable, or who tends to make personal attacks, or who regularly offends you online should be blocked. Who needs them? Visit each setting and think through what it’s meant to protect you from. Prefer the high setting over the low.
The same is true for all other personal and business accounts. Your bank account, insurance, anything else you manage online. There’s plenty of information in those that could expose your money, your home, your family, and you. Take all the privacy settings seriously. Change your passwords regularly. Use strong passwords that cannot possibly be guessed. Don’t share them with anyone.
Keep Tabs on Your Apps: best practices for device applications
Myths remain that certain device platforms and operating systems are immune from being attacked. You are best served to completely disbelieve that. Maintain a constant and passionate skepticism about every device and every network. It’s all vulnerable. None of it has sufficient security. Approaching everything with this level of skepticism (or paranoia) protects you by forcing you to examine everything closely. Diligence is the foremost enemy of cybercrime.
Before you install any app from any app store onto your mobile device, make sure that app comes from a reputable source and that it has been tested and evaluated to assure that it is safe and appropriate to download.
Focus on Safety
Next post we’ll discuss how best to Secure IT, whatever it may be. Remember that every device you power up opens a potential door for attackers to come through. Every device you own requires that you carefully assure that it is as completely protected as it can be. They are your devices, and their safety and security are your responsibility. Own IT!