As part of our celebration of National CyberSecurity Awareness this month, we are following along with the National CyberSecurity Alliance's weekly themes. This week we are reminding everyone that CyberSecurity is your job too! We are proud National Cyber Security Alliance Champions and STOP. THINK. CONNECT. partners! Cyber safety at work is just as important as cyber safety at home!
The way I practice cyber safety at home and cyber safety at work differ a bit, but the practices are just the same. This week I am talking about what I do and how you can do it too!
Keep A Clean Machine
I work for a small company and I am also quite tech savvy. When I take care of my personal laptop, I do a few things differently than you might. I have an old laptop and a new laptop at home. When I first got the new laptop it was quite fast and I loved it. After I let my friend borrow it, I noticed it had slowed down quite a bit. I ended up restoring my laptop (from a backup I made before lending it out) and I also installed anti-virus and anti-malware software on my computer. Although the notifications can get annoying, it's better to keep it protected and be annoyed by notifications than risk having another problem with my computer. I usually use the Chrome browser, and I like to sign into the browser. So I created a guest login for the next time my friend needed to borrow my computer so that my settings and preferences would stay the same, and everything she did would be associated with a different login.
I work for a Cybersecurity company, so the work laptop that I use is super secure! I hardly ever notice the tools that are installed and monitoring my computer, but I do notice when my computer installs updates, and it tends to go faster when it's done! Updates are very important because they combat new findings that may compromise your security. Even if you are not responsible for the updates, software and maintenance on your work computer, be sure to check in with the IT department if you have any problems or notice anything different on your computer. You may not consider the chances that someone could hack your phone, but they sure can! Make sure you are installing the updates there too.
Lock down your login
If you have a newer computer, phone or tablet that allows facial recognition, enable this as it is the strongest possible security you can put on your device. If your device isn't quite that new, use the fingerprint option if you can. If you don't have those options, like me, be sure to always put a secure password on your computer or phone. I change mine every month or so. Never leave the swipe to open feature unlocked. I was recently traveling for a business trip and my business laptop was stolen. I could not believe this happened to me, I had the laptop in my immediate care every moment except when the airline had it. Luckily, the laptop is encrypted, backed up and protected with a password. It was a super bummer event, but I could rest assured that everything was protected, no one could ever access what I had on that laptop. Features like two factor authentication offer a second layer of protection in case your device is lost or stolen, don't skip these options. These security measures should always be in place at work. Be sure to lock your workstation when it is not in use and log off at the end of each day. If you are taking devices home, be sure to check with the IT department about encrypting any drives and always ask about your security policy to make sure you are following it.
When in Doubt, Throw it out
I am sure we have all seen the emails from someone claiming we have money waiting for us, just waiting for us to share our personal information. I hope you have never fallen victim to a scam like this. Just a tip, if you get an email telling you that you have won a free Starbucks gift card, THROW IT OUT! Many companies, like our own are purposefully sending these fake emails out to employees as part of their Cybersecurity Awareness. Never open attachments or click links in a suspicious email. These phishing emails aren't the only method to fool you and steal your data. By falling victim to one of these scams you could be jeopardizing your company's information. That's how hackers get in! Phishing is the leading cause of ransomware - don't become the company's weakest link!
Remember, Cybersecurity in the workplace is everyone's business
IT staff has a hard job to do, they set up, maintain, fix and support hardware, software, logins, networks, backups and take care of CyberSecurity. If you have a question, or if you see something suspicious, always let your IT staff know first. Talk to your co-workers and superiors about CyberSecurity at home and at work. We need to be sharing this information with our family and friends. I think it's time for you to take the Cyber Hygiene Pledge!