The most recent SANS Institute Security Awareness Tips
Updated: 22 min 9 sec ago
Do you plan on giving away or selling one of your older mobile devices? Make sure you wipe or reset your device before disposing of it. If you don't, the next person who owns it will have access to all of your accounts and personal information.
Virtual Private Networks (VPN) create encrypted tunnels when you connect to the Internet. They are a fantastic way to protect your privacy and data, especially when traveling and connecting to untrusted or unknown networks, such as at hotels or coffee shops. Use a VPN whenever possible, both for work and personal use.
Ever wonder just how much information is publicly available about you? Ever wonder how cyber criminals harvest information and customize attacks for their victims? The technique is called Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) and it is far simpler and more powerful than you think.
Privacy settings on social networks can be confusing to configure and change often. Ultimately, if you do not want your parents or boss reading one of your posts, do not post the message or photo.
More and more scams and attacks are happening over the phone. Whenever you get an urgent phone call pressuring you to do something (such as a caller pretending to be the tax department or Microsoft Tech Support), be very suspicious. It's most likely a scammer trying to trick you out of money or pressure you into making a mistake. Protect yourself, simply hang up the phone or tell the person you can't help them. You are not being rude, the person on the other line is trying to take advantage of you.
Turn off Bluetooth if you are not using it on your computer or mobile device. Not only does this make it more secure, but it also saves battery life.
When shopping online, always use your credit cards instead of a debit card. If any fraud happens, it is far easier to recover your money from a credit card transaction. Gift cards and one-time-use credit card numbers are even more secure.
Be aware of all the devices connected to your home network, including baby monitors, gaming consoles, TVs, appliances or even your car. Ensure all those devices are protected by a strong password and/or are running the latest version of their operating system.
Companies you do business with should never ask for your account information, credit card numbers or password in an email. If you have any questions about an email you receive that supposedly came from your financial institution or service provider, find their number on their website and call them.
Bad guys are targeting your social media accounts. One of the most effective ways you can protect them is with a unique, strong password called a passphrase. Enabling two-step verification (if your social media site offers it) is even better.
Every plugin or add-on you install in your browser can expose you to more danger. Only install the plugins you need and make sure they are always current. If you no longer need a plugin, disable or remove it from your browser via your browser's plugin preferences.
Some of the most common indicators that you may have been include the following. Your friends tell you that they have received odd emails or messages from you, messages you know you did not send. Your password no longer works for one of your accounts, even though you know you never changed the password. Your anti-virus informs you that one of your files or computer is infected. You receive a pop-up message informing you that the files on your computer have been encrypted and you must pay a ransom to recover them.
When hosting or attending conference calls, only record the call if you have prior permission, a work related need to record the call, and you make sure everyone on the call knows it will be recorded.
If you have children visiting or staying with family members (such as grandparents), make sure the family members know your rules concerning technology that your kids must follow. Just because your kids leave the house does not mean the rules about what they can do online change.
The Dark Web is a network of systems connected to the Internet designed to share information securely and anonymously. These capabilities are abused by cyber criminals to enable their activities, for example selling hacking tools or purchasing stolen information such as credit card data. Be aware that your information could be floating around the Dark Web, making it easier for cyber criminals to create custom attacks targeting you..
Ransomware is a special type of malware. Once it infected your computer, it encrypts all of your files and demands you pay a ransom if you want your files back. Be suspicious of any emails trying to trick you into opening infected attachments or click on malicious links, common sense is your best defense. In addition. backups are often the only way you can recover from ransomware.
Eventually, we all have an accident or get hacked. And when we do, backups are often the only way to recover. Backups are cheap and easy; make sure you are backing up all of your personal information at home (such as family photos) on a regular basis.
Fake news is a false narrative that is published and promoted as if it were true. People (and organizations) create fake news to control and manipulate your thoughts and actions. Be skeptical of what you read on the Internet, use trusted sources that are vetted, check their motivations and funding.
The first step to creating a cybersecure home is to start by securing your Wi-Fi Access Point. Change your Wi-Fi Access Points default administrator password to something only you know. Many Wi-Fi Access Points or Wi-Fi routers are shipped with default administrator passwords that are publicly known and posted on the Internet.
You may be aware that cyber attacks will try to trick you over the phone or through email using phishing attacks, but do you realize they may try to attack you also over social media channels, such as Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn? Just like in email, if you get any social media messages that are highly urgent or too good to be true, it may be an attack.