SANS Tip Of The Day
The most recent SANS Institute Security Awareness Tips
Updated: 8 min 27 sec ago
Malware is software--a computer program--used to perform malicious actions. In fact, the term malware is a combination of the words malicious and software. Cyber criminals install malware on your computers or devices to gain control over them or gain access to what they contain. Once installed, these attackers can use malware to spy on your online activities, steal your passwords and files, or use your system to attack others.
One of the most effective ways you can protect your computer at home is to make sure both the operating system and your applications are patched and updated. Enable automatic updating whenever possible.
A password is only as secure as the computer or network it is used on. As such, never log in to a sensitive account from a public computer, such as computers in a cyber cafe, hotel lobby or conference hall. Bad guys target public computers such as these and infect them on purpose. The moment you type your password on an infected computer, these cyber criminals can harvest your passwords.
Only install mobile apps from trusted places, and always double-check the privacy settings to ensure you are not giving away too much information.
If you have kids with mobile devices, create a central home charging station in your bedroom. Before the kids go to bed at night, have them put their mobile devices there so they are not tempted to play with them when they should be sleeping.
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.
Make sure each of your accounts has a separate, unique password. Can't remember all of your passwords/passphrases? Consider using a password manager to securely store all of them for you.
Two-step verification is one of the best steps you can take to secure any account. Two-step verification is when you require both a password and code sent to or generated by your mobile device. Examples of services that support two-step verification include Gmail, Dropbox and Twitter.
Review your bank, credit card and financial statements regularly to identify unauthorized activity. This is one of the most effective ways to quickly detect if your bank account, credit card or identity has been compromised.
Be careful with email auto-complete. This is an email feature that automatically completes a name for you when you begin typing it in the TO field. However, your email client can easily complete the wrong name for you. If you are emailing anything sensitive, always be sure to check the TO field a second time before hitting the send button.
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 (such as family photos) on a regular basis.
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.
Never share your passwords with others, including your supervisor or coworkers. Your password is a secret; it only works if only you know it. If anyone else knows your password, you may be responsible for their actions.
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.
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.
One of the most effective steps you can take to protect your cloud account is to make sure you are using two-step verification. In addition, always be sure you know exactly whom you are sharing files with. It is very easy to accidently share your files with the entire Internet when you think you are only sharing them with specific individuals.
Did you know that according to the Verizon DBIR report, you are 100 times more likely to lose a laptop or mobile devices than have it stolen? When you are traveling, always double-check to make sure you have your mobile device with you, such as when leaving airport security, exiting your taxi or check out of your hotel.