With Memorial Day weekend upon us, we’d like to remind our readers to be extra mindful when it comes to online security, protecting sensitive business data and safeguarding personal information.
Here are some cybersecurity best practices and security tips to help you boost your cyber defenses and mitigate your exposure to risk:
1. Public Wi-Fi Risks and Recommendations
In today’s technology-driven environment and constant connection to our mobile devices, many people turn to public Wi-Fi for a seamless web browsing experience, or to avoid data usage. However, the dangers of connecting to public Wi-Fi networks are rampant and growing.
Hackers use various devices to mimic a real wireless connection and steal users’ data, Personally Identifiable Information (PII), passwords, credit card information and more. The following are a few Wi-Fi best practices to help ensure that your personal and business data are not compromised:
- Avoid using online banking or purchasing items if you’re connected to a public network.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN).
- Malicious users may spoof networks by using the name of a hotel, coffee shop, or clothing store. Speak with a staff member to verify the IP address and connection name.
- Only enable Wi-Fi when you need it.
2. Be Vigilant when Sifting Through Your Inbox to Avoid Getting Phished
Fraudsters use phishing attacks to try and manipulate people into downloading malicious files, divulging sensitive information, or clicking on malevolent links. During this attack scenario, criminals maximize their success rate by impersonating C-level executives’ email addresses, employing urgency and sending emails during high-stress times, such as on a Friday before a long holiday weekend.
By keeping the subsequent security tips in mind, you can curb your chances of falling victim to a phishing scam during Memorial Day weekend.
- Think before you click and approach suspicious emails with caution.
- Stay alert when combing through your inbox for holiday promotions, e-cards and deals.
- Follow your organization’s security protocols for phishing campaigns and don’t click on any links or attachments without inspecting the email content beforehand.
It is critical that businesses do not skimp on employee security awareness training. Equipping staff with the knowledge, tools and best practices will help them make smarter security decisions and prevent an attack from occurring.
3. Be Aware of Social Media Scams
Criminals may use phony social media accounts to post jaw-dropping discounts that are scams. When coming across a deal that seems too good to be true, it most likely is.
As a proactive defense against cyber-attacks, we recommend performing adequate due diligence to verify the deals are valid. For example, call the retailer via phone at the number listed on their website, or email their client service department. Don’t be fooled into sharing or clicking on these coupons without validating their legitimacy first. If you want to help mitigate this type of scam from growing, you can change your privacy settings on Facebook to prevent someone from posting on your wall without your approval.
4. Safeguard Your Devices to Eliminate Vulnerabilities
To eliminate vulnerabilities on your devices, especially for those frequent travelers, consider the following cybersecurity tips:
- Cybercriminals and hackers often leverage outdated software as a popular attack method to exploit vulnerabilities. To minimize your exposure to vulnerabilities, make sure your mobile device’s software and computer’s applications and operating system (OS) are regularly updated, and have the latest security patches.
- Practice good password hygiene by using strong, unique passwords that encompass a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and unique characters.
- While traveling, update your PIN number and change your passwords.
- If you’re staying in a hotel and using their security box to store valuables, ensure that the password you choose is unique and not something easily accessible online like your birthday, for example.
- Despite their convenience, do not use public charging stations. “Juice jacking” is an attack method criminals use to obtain access to information stored on your device through the USB cable.
- Switch your Bluetooth connectivity off when you are not using it and limit its usage as much as possible.