Security Tips to Kick-Off the New Year

As with every New Year’s, we have a list of resolutions that we are going to try to accomplish for the year. Why not add Cyber Security to the list? With the introduction of the New Year it’s a great time to change your passwords. If you’re thinking, “I have too many passwords to change,” well then, consider using a password safe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Password_Safe). You will spend some time setting it up, but once it’s functional, it is secure and very easy to use. Next, confirm that your patching levels and all third-party software are up to date (e.g., Adobe, JAVA, and Office). It is easier for you to set this up as an automatic update versus having to do weekly manual updates. Patching is well-handled by the major operating system vendors; it’s the third-party apps that you really need to keep an eye on. You can track emerging exploits for individual vendors through their websites. An example is Microsoft’s advisory page located at http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/security/msvr. A Symantec study shows that hackers grab onto new exploits, using them hundreds or thousands of times more often, around the time of their revelation to the public. Checking your credit report is not a bad idea, either. There were thousands of breaches in 2012. Are you confident your credit information was not taken? Sometimes a malicious actor would rather go after an e-commerce site that collects thousands of credit and debit card numbers versus hitting thousands of individual computers. In the security field, a large corporate database with a lot of data is a target-rich environment compared to a single user. Recently, the South Carolina revenue department was breached, releasing over 380,000 credit and debit card numbers. That’s just one breach. Check for the recent breaches http://datalossdb.org/ and determine who you might have information with on the list.