Back to Basics: Cyber Security Habits

Smart Device Edition

Though tools and solutions play a critical role in a security plan (and are often focused on), employees are equally important in maintaining the integrity of a strong cyber security plan. Human error is the cause of 90% of breaches. Instilling good cyber security habits is a smart, proactive aspect of a successful security plan. 

As Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals approach, the latest product lineups of smart devices go on sale. As a result, many will be set up for use. This creates the perfect opportunity to outline simple steps employees can complete at home that will help carry good practices in the workplace and vice versa. 

When getting a new smart device follow these tips: 

Research.

Consulting the internet for ratings and reviews before buying a product is a common step in the buying process. When it comes to tech products, diligent research beforehand, of not just specs, but known vulnerabilities and malware can help avoid future problems. To further minimize risk, buy from reputable manufacturers, and avoid buying used devices that can already be compromised.  

Passwords.

During your research, check to see if there are a default password and the steps to change it. When changing a password, adhere to the best practices. Don’t reuse passwords. And contrary to past guidelines, long and overly complicated passwords are not more secure (they lead users to saving them somewhere insecure or repeating the one password). Using a short phrase as a password, or investing in a password manager, can eliminate the hassle of tracking passwords for every account.

Updates.

Update the device. “Remind me later” isn’t convenient when your computer gets breached and your privacy and security are compromised. Updates provide patching against known vulnerabilities.  If not updated and patched, attackers can easily take advantage of those vulnerabilities and devices. Implementing auto-updates ensures your devices stays secure. 

These tips aren’t revolutionary or life changing.  It’s taking steps that individuals already do and ensuring that they are adhering to the best practices.  It’s improving upon existing habits to ensure that security becomes a continuous process at both work and home.