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 Protect IT!
If You Connect, You Must Protect: updating to the latest security software, web browser and operating systems
Three things everyone should know and accept:
- Protecting yourself and your family on the internet is your own responsibility
- Proper security is never “set-it-and-forget-it”
- Great security is always multi-layered, securing all possible points of attack
When anyone sends anything out over the internet it goes from them to a computer application running on an operating system that gets the information ready to travel at which time it is sent to the network interface card or device that connects to cabling leading to a router that ultimately connects to the internet. Once there, it hops around several other routers on its way and eventually lands at its destination where it runs back up through the cable to the network interface card or device in the computer that is running an operating system that hosts an application which presents the received data to another user.
It's a long trip, and every step along the path requires proper security. The security software protecting each of those stops must be kept fully patched and updated. If the application runs on a web browser then that, too, must be properly protected.
Remember that it only takes one weak link to defeat the whole chain of security, so equal vigilance must be practiced every step of the way.
Stay Protected While Connected: Wi-Fi safety
Wi-fi access points (AP) represent the most vulnerable door to your virtual home. So many users fail to establish a password for their AP meaning that anyone passing by in a car can connect and use internet access via their account. If they do anything nefarious and someone traces it back, the owner of that AP will quickly wish they had established a password.
Beyond having a password on the AP/router, many devices are emerging in the market that monitor all wi-fi devices to detect unusual activity. This represents a major new weapon in the war on hackers.
If You Collect It, Protect It: keeping customer/consumer data and information safe
The European Union (EU) took a major leap over others with the introduction of their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This sweeping legislation impacts anyone anywhere who maintains information about any EU citizen, making it clear that every citizen has “the right to be forgotten” meaning that any information about any EU citizen must be completely removed upon request. Implications of the regulation extend far beyond this simple example, but it is the clearest call for accountability yet.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which takes effect in January 2020 is the first American attempt to provide the protection of GDPR. Residents will have the right to see all information being maintained by any organization at least twice each year.
For organizations these advances represent a new level of accountability for the protection of consumer data. For consumers this represents the first steps on the road to greater confidence when conducting business with anyone.
From its inception 50 years ago, the internet has been a network of networks. Anyone and everyone who uses this conveyance must take responsibility and understand their role in keeping everyone’s information private and everyone safe