It’s not rocket science, in today’s society we are more connected than ever. With this new connectedness comes new risks. For today’s post we’re going over our top 10 easiest ways to make your network more secure and minimize your risks. All of the things require no money and can be implemented today!
This may be something that’s obvious for Windows users but many Mac users have there firewalls turned off because they think Mac’s aren’t susceptible to viruses or malware. Turning on your firewall takes seconds and can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. For Mac users navigate to System Preferences > Security & Privacy > Firewall > Click the lock to make changes > Turn On Firewall.
An email from an unknown source that sounds too good to be true? Chances are it is. Opening emails from unknown senders is very risky and can result in malicious code being injected into your network. Delete these emails immediately and train to staff to recognize them.
Even the strongest password can get hacked, the only truly safe way to login is with two factor authentication. If you are thinking, ‘What is two-factor authentication?’, hang tight I’m about to explain. Two factor authentication is when you login with your password and your phone. After you login with your regular password a notification is pushed to your phone and you have to confirm that you were the one that logged in. The great thing about two factor authentication is that it will automatically time your session out after a certain period of time, so no need to worry about ever forgetting to logout. There are some great two factor authentication systems out there. Among our favorites is Duo and another great one is Clef.
Most people do have this enabled but if you don’t turn on a pop up blocker. Most modern browsers (i.e. Chrome, Firefox, Safari) have an option under the settings where you can turn off pop ups.
In most cases you shouldn’t change the default security settings on your browser. Generally, the security settings chosen by default are the best choices to give you maximum security. The only thing you may want to consider changing is your cookie settings, for instance blocking third party cookies.
You always here the tip: “Use a strong password”, but what does strong exactly mean? A strong password has at least 12 characters, includes a mix of numbers, special symbols, and capital and lowercase letters. Don’t use obvious substitutions like CLA55 or LOV3. These are easy to solve and not secure. Try to come up with as random a password as possible. If you cannot think of a truly random password (most people can’t) then there are plenty of websites that will generate random passwords for you. For memorable strong passwords, try turning a sentence into a password. Something like “Willy_Wonka Chocolate Costs $457,943.67” would be a strong 39 character password and memorable since it’s so ludicrous.
Only make purchases from reputable websites using secure payment methods like Paypal. There are a number of sites you can visit that will tell you how ‘legit’ a website is and if it is safe to buy from it.
We know it can be annoying to stop what you are doing to restart your computer to apply system updates but it is essential for your computer’s security. Often times updates fix security glitches that were discovered.
The downside of clearing your cookies often is that you will have to login to some of your favorite websites instead of being already logged in as soon as you visit the site. The upside is it makes your browser run better and clears certain cookies that have the potential to stay for YEARS. Most people are surprised at how many cookies are tagging along watching their browsing history and subsequently recording the personal information that is entered on those sites. It is an especially good idea to clear your cookies before and after things like online banking and online shopping.
Okay, so maybe you can’t implement this today but at least start thinking about some policies that can make your network more secure. This may include educating you staff on cybersecurity or buying email software for automatic spam and malware filtering. Whatever decision you decide to take, every business needs a cybersecurity game plan customized to fit your company’s needs and vulnerabilities.