Information security is an afterthought to most people left to the domain of nerds and professionals. This is a big mistake that could have major ramifications for your financial, social or emotional well being. Identity theft, financial loss, time wasted, and social/reputation stress are just a few of the potential problems awaiting if you fail to take information security seriously. Without any further buildup (as if any were possible) here are the Top 10 Information Security Lessons Everyone Should Know.
1. You are a potential victim – It isn’t just the rich and famous who are targeted for information security attacks. Everyone is a potential victim and must take adequate precautions to protect their systems and information. If you do not take the risk seriously you are more likely to become a victim.
2. Email and internet browsing are the two riskiest activities you do every day If you click on every email, open every attachment, and click on web sites of unknown quality you are at an increased risk for being compromised with malware or viruses. Once your machine has been compromised it may become unusable or worse it may be silently harvesting your important usernames and passwords.
3. Anyone you let use your system or device can put you at risk
Anyone you let use your system can spoil all of the careful planning you have done and create problems for you later. If you allow others to use your device be sure they have good judgement and set some ground rules around email and internet usage.
4. Do not reuse username/passwords especially for important accounts
Most people reuse username and passwords for their activities even for important accounts like email and online banking. This is a big mistake and it makes you susceptible to widespread problems if only one of the sites you frequent has a security incident. It is better to use unique strong passwords for all sites and use a free password manager such as LastPass to help keep track of your passwords in a secure manner.
5. Do not go without security protection for your pc, tablet or mobile device.
Going without some type of antivirus, personal firewall software, and security updates is just asking for problems. These are your last line of defense if you make a mistake and click on an infected attachment or website. If you do not want to pay for this there are high quality free security tools available to help.
6. It is easy to impersonate you
Anyone can create a Facebook, linkedin (insert any other social media site here), or email account pretending to be you. It is easy to find an image for most people using google or a variety of other sources to make the account look authentic. If you get reports from friends about any accounts that do not sound familiar do not dismiss them take action immediately.
7. Backup your important information
Always have a back up plan to restore documents, photos or other items you can not stand losing. If you do not have a backup your putting too much faith in never losing your device or having it become inoperable. Use a dvd, a backup system, or online available storage but use something.
8. Protect your mobile devices while out and about
Electronic equipment is most vulnerable to loss or theft when you are on the go. Take it with you but always keep an eye on it and make sure not to leave it unattended and visible or you may regret it later. Assume if you like it someone else might too.
9. Secure your wireless access point
Using WEP encryption is better than nothing but not totally sufficient since it is easily crackable with online tools. You should be using WPA encryption to make sure others can not cause trouble with your connection. Read this horror story of what normal people went through with their neighbor from hell if you are not convinced.
10. Anything you do electronically is forever
Many people post things in the spur of the moment thinking they can go back and delete it later. This is usually not the case since nearly everything is indexed, archived, and kept for posterity. Think twice before posting something (pictures, emails, social media posts) because it will endure and might be used against you in unexpected ways later on.
Some of these recommendations may sound a bit alarmist but awareness is most of the battle. Compute safely my friends
The Most Interesting Security Man in the World