Cyber Security Best Practices
Cyber Security for Travelers
Cyber security should not be limited to the home, office, or classroom. It is important to practice safe online behavior and secure our Internet-enabled mobile devices whenever we travel, as well. The more we travel and access the Internet on the go, the more cyber risks we face. No one is exempt from the threat of cyber crime, at home or on the go, but you can follow these simple tips to stay safe online when traveling.
Before You Go
- Update your mobile software. Treat your mobile device like your home or work computer. Keep your operating system software and apps updated, which will improve your device's ability to defend against malware.
- Back up your information. Back up your contacts, photos, videos and other mobile device data with another device or cloud service.
- Keep it locked. Get into the habit of locking your device when you are not using it. Even if you only step away for a few minutes, that is enough time for someone to steal or destroy your information. Use strong PINs and passwords.
While You Are There
- Stop auto connecting. Disable remote connectivity and Bluetooth. Some devices will automatically seek and connect to available wireless networks. And Bluetooth enables your device to connect wirelessly with other devices, such as headphones or automobile infotainment systems. Disable these features so that you only connect to wireless and Bluetooth networks when you want to.
- Think before you connect. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – like on an airplane or in an airport, hotel, train/bus station or café – be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Do not conduct sensitive activities, such as online shopping, banking, or sensitive work, using a public wireless network. Only use sites that begin with “https://” when online shopping or banking. Using your mobile network connection is generally more secure than using a public wireless network.
- Think before you click. Use caution when downloading or clicking on any unknown links. Delete emails that are suspicious or are from unknown sources. Review and understand the details of an application before installing.
- Guard your mobile device. To prevent theft and unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information, never leave your mobile devices–including any USB or external storage devices–unattended in a public place. Keep your devices secured in taxis, at airports, on airplanes, and in your hotel room.
Cyber Security for Mobile Users
Almost all Americans, regardless of age, are using mobile devices. Often, mobile devices are used for sensitive activities, including banking, online shopping and social networking. Some of these activities require users to provide personal information such as their names, account numbers, addresses, email addresses and passwords. Moreover, apps routinely ask for access to information stored on the device, including location information.
In addition, the use of unsecured, public Wi-Fi hotspots has increased dramatically over the past few years. These networks are accessible on airplanes, in coffee shops, shopping malls and at sporting events. While continued access provides us with more flexibility and convenience to stay connected no matter where we are, it can also make us more susceptible to exposure.
The more we travel and access the Internet on the go, the more risks we face on our mobile devices. No one is exempt from the threat of cyber crime, at home or on the go, but you can follow these simple tips to stay safe online when connecting to the Internet from a mobile device:
- Think Before You Connect. Before you connect to any public Wi-Fi hotspot–like on an airplane or in an airport, hotel, train/bus station or café-be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. Using your mobile network connection is generally more secure than using a public Wi-Fi network.
- Guard Your Mobile Device. In order to prevent theft, unauthorized access and loss of sensitive information, never leave your mobile devices–including any USB or external storage devices–unattended in a public place. While on travel, if you plan on leaving any devices in your hotel room, be sure those items are appropriately secured.
- Keep It Locked. The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) recommends locking your device when you are not using it. Even if you only step away for a few minutes, that is enough time for someone to steal or destroy your information. Use strong PINs and passwords to prevent others from accessing your device.
- Update Your Mobile Software. Treat your mobile device like your home or work computer. Keep your operating system software and apps updated, which will improve your device’s ability to defend against malware.
- Only Connect to the Internet if Needed. Disconnect your device from the Internet when you aren’t using it and make sure your device isn’t programmed to automatically connect to Wi-Fi. The likelihood that attackers will target you becomes much higher if your device is always connected.
- Know Your Apps. Be sure to thoroughly review the details and specifications of an application before you download it. Be aware that the app may request that you share your personal information and permissions. Delete any apps that you are not using to increase your security.
Cyber Security for Business
America thrives with small businesses in society. There are numerous opportunities for small businesses to fill needed niches within the industry. However, many small businesses may not have all the resources they need to have a strong cybersecurity posture. By implementing simple cybersecurity practices throughout the organizations, small business can safeguard their information and data for increased profits.
Did You Know?
- 44 percent of small businesses reported being the victim of a cyber attack, with an average cost of approximately $9,000 per attack.1
- Nearly 59 percent of U.S. small and medium-sized businesses do not have a contingency plan that outlines procedures for responding to and reporting data breach losses.2
- Make sure all of your organization’s computers are equipped with antivirus software and antispyware. This software should be updated regularly.
- Secure your Internet connection by using a firewall, encrypt information, and hide your Wi- Fi network.
- Establish security practices and policies to protect sensitive information.
- Educate employees about cyber threats and how to protect your organization's data. Hold employees accountable to the Internet security policies and procedures.
- Require employees to use strong passwords and to change them often.
- Invest in data loss protection software, use encryption technologies to protect data in transit, and use two-factor authentication where possible.
- Protect all pages on your public-facing websites, not just the checkout and sign-up pages.
RESOURCES AVAILABLE TO YOU
The United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) distributes bulletins and alerts for both technical and non-technical users, shares cybersecurity tips, and responds to incident, phishing, and vulnerabilities reports.
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) helps Americans start, build, and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has an Internet Safety Toolkit that teaches employees how to help protect company information, customer data, and their own personal information.
This article and any information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only. The publisher will not be responsible for errors or omissions or any damages, howsoever caused, that result from its use.
Source: Homeland Security – Stop. Think. Content.
1 2013 Small Business Technology Survey, National Small Business Association
2 www.staysafeonline.org/about-us/news/new-survey-shows-us-small-business-owners-not-concerned-aboutcybersecurity, 2013