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Unformatted text preview: aniz ations face, as well as the
resources, methods, and approaches that can help make firms more secure. Taking Action as a User
The weakest link in security is o f ten a careless user, so do n’t make yo urself an easy mark. Once yo u
get a sense o f threats, yo u understand the kinds o f precautio ns yo u need to take. Security
co nsideratio ns then beco me mo re co mmo n sense than high tech. Here’s a brief list o f majo r issues
to co nsider: Surf smart. Think bef o re yo u click—questio n links, enclo sures, do wnlo ad request, and the
integrity o f Web sites that yo u visit. Avo id suspicio us e-mail attachments and Internet
do wnlo ads. Be o n guard f o r phishing, and o ther attempts to co n yo u into letting in malware.
Verif y anything that lo o ks suspicio us bef o re acting. Avo id using public machines (libraries,
co f f ee sho ps) when accessing sites that co ntain yo ur f inancial data o r o ther co nf idential
inf o rmatio n.
Stay v igilant. So cial engineering co n artists and ro gue insiders are o ut there. An appro priate
level o f questio ning applies no t o nly to co mputer use, but also to perso nal interactio ns, be it in
perso n, o n the pho ne, o r electro nically.
Stay updated. Turn o n so f tware update f eatures f o r yo ur o perating system and any applicatio n
yo u use (bro wsers, applicatio ns, plug-ins, and applets), and manually check f o r updates when
needed. Malware to o lkits specif ically scan f o r o lder, vulnerable systems, so wo rking with
updated pro grams that address prio r co ncerns lo wers yo ur vulnerable attack surf ace.
Stay armed. Install a f ull suite o f security so f tware. Many vendo rs o f f er a co mbinatio n o f
pro ducts that pro vide antivirus so f tware that blo cks inf ectio n, perso nal f irewalls that repel unwanted intrusio n, malware scanners that seek o ut bad co de that might already be nesting o n
yo ur P C, antiphishing so f tware that identif ies if yo u’re visiting questio nable Web sites, and
mo re. Such to o ls are increasingly being built into o perating systems, bro wsers, and are
deplo yed at the ISP o r service pro vider (e-mail f irm, so cial netwo rk) level. But every co nsumer
sho uld make it a prio rity to understand the state o f the art f o r perso nal pro tectio n. In the way
that yo u regularly balance yo ur investment po rtf o lio to acco unt f o r eco no mic shif ts, o r take
yo ur car in f o r an o il change to keep it in to p running co nditio n, make it a prio rity to
perio dically scan the majo r trade press o r end-user co mputing sites f o r reviews and
co mmentary o n the latest to o ls and techniques f o r pro tecting yo urself (and yo ur f irm).
Be settings smart. Do n’t turn o n risky settings like unrestricted f o lder sharing that may act as
an invitatio n f o r hackers to dro p o f f malware paylo ads. Secure ho me netwo rks with passwo rd
pro tectio n and a f irewall. Encrypt hard drives—especially o n lapto ps o r o ther devices that
might be lo st o r sto len. Register mo bile devices f o r lo catio n identif icatio n o r remo te wiping.
Do n’t click the “Remember me” o r “Save passwo rd” settings o n public machines, o r any device
that might be shared o r accessed by o thers. Similarly, if yo ur machine might be used by o thers,
turn o f f bro wser settings that auto -f ill f ields with prio r entries—o therwise yo u make it easy f o r
so meo ne to use that machine to track yo ur entries and imperso nate yo u. And when using public
ho tspo ts, be sure to turn o n yo ur VP N so f tware to encrypt transmissio n and hide f ro m netwo rk
Be passw o rd sav v y. Change the def ault passwo rd o n any new pro ducts that yo u install. Update
yo ur passwo rds regularly. Using guidelines o utlined earlier, cho o se passwo rds that are to ugh
to guess, but easy f o r yo u (and o nly yo u) to remember. Federate yo ur passwo rds so that yo u’re
no t using the same access co des f o r yo ur mo st secure sites. Never save passwo rds in
no nsecured f iles, e-mail, o r written do wn in easily accessed lo catio ns.
Be dispo sal smart. Shred perso nal do cuments. Wipe hard drives with an industrial strength
so f tware to o l bef o re recycling, do nating, o r thro wing away—remember in many cases “deleted”
f iles can still be reco vered. Destro y media such as CDs and DVDs that may co ntain sensitive
inf o rmatio n. Erase USB drives when they are no lo nger needed.
Back up. The mo st likely threat to yo ur data do esn’t co me f ro m hackers; it co mes f ro m
hardware f ailure.C. Taylo r, “The Tech Catastro phe Yo u’re Igno ring,” Fo rtune, Octo ber 26,
2009. Yet mo st users still do n’t regularly back up their systems. This is ano ther do -it-no w
prio rity. Cheap, plug-in hard drives wo rk with mo st mo dern o perating systems to pro vide
co ntinual backups, allo wing f o r quick ro llback to earlier versio ns if yo u’ve accidentally ruined
so me vital wo rk. And services like EMC’s Mo zy pro vide mo nthly, unlimited backup o ver the
Internet f o r less than what yo...
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- Winter '14