Cyber Thieves Hot On Your Trail

March 23rd, 2020 Daryl Berver

Cybercriminals are looking to cash in as hundreds of millions of people around the world are being stripped of the security of their physical office and left to their own devices – figuratively and sometimes, literally. Working remotely presents all types of opportunities for gaps or even gaping holes in security. If you are aware of the potential threats and the easy ways to avoid them, you’re less likely to become a victim.

This takes about 6 minutes to read from start to finish. And this knowledge can help protect you both personally and professionally. That’s time well spent.

14 WEST INFOSEC SHARES INSIDER TIPS
& BEST PRACTICES FOR CYBER SAFETY

SYSTEMS & PATCHES

New Operating Systems (OS) are released all the time for all kinds of reasons, many of which address critical holes in security. These are called “patches.”

  • Always use devices issued to you by your company when working.
  • Try to limit or avoid using devices issued to you by your company for personal matters.
  • Keep OS current/ updated on all devices issued to you by your company, unless specifically directed otherwise by IT. Do the same on all personal smart devices (printers, televisions, etc.).

AUTHENTICATION

Cyber thieves are using hundreds of different tactics and tools and often work around the clock in an effort to get your personal information – sometimes your money, too. Adding extra layers of authentication only takes a few extra seconds each time you log in to a device and is one of the easiest ways to keep these crooks at bay.

  • Use multi-factor authentication on any and all systems that support it.
  • Use strong passphrases for all of your accounts. “Passphrases” are always better than passwords, but try to aim for 16-20 characters including capital and lowercase letters as well as numbers. For example: ILoveTaco2sday!
  • Avoid using the same passphrase for multiple accounts.
  • Limit or avoid shared accounts.
  • Never share your passphrases, login credentials, or account information.
  • Check haveibeenpwned.com regularly to see if any of your accounts or passphrases have been publicly breached.

TAKING YOUR DEVICES OUT FOR SOME AIR

Working remotely doesn’t necessarily mean working from home – even in the current situation. Many of us are taking meetings while walking the dog, watching a child play, or social distancing in a park.

  • Never use open wifi unless you are also using a VPN.
  • Always use a personal hotspot over any sort of public wifi.
  • Always use a VPN if you working outside of your home or office.
  • Always lock your screen when you leave your keyboard or device.
  • Never leave your mobile device or laptop unattended.
  • Avoid using public USB charging stations unless you have a USB data blocker.
  • Be cognizant of how visible your screen is, if you are doing anything sensitive please make sure your screen is hidden from onlookers.

SCAMS & HACKS 

Cyber trickery is at an all-time high. Here are some of the malicious moves you should be ready for, and best practices to avoid being duped.

  • Verify that you’ve got the right person when reaching out to any publicly published help or support lines.
  • Be on the alert for phishing attempts, including social media, text, or phone scams.
  • Never click links in emails, texts, chat messages, etc. unless you are 100% sure you know who or where it came from. Even then, check again.
  • Never answer calls from a number you do not recognize. If they have something important to say, they will leave a message. Here’s a free tip on prevalent scams right now: Microsoft, Apple, Google, etc will never call you because your licenses are out of date. If someone calls claiming to be from one of these companies regarding an outdated license, hang up.

 

Daryl Berver

Chief Operations Officer

For nearly 30 years, I’ve helped to grow businesses through strategic thinking. A lot of what I do relies on data. Dealing with hard numbers and facts all day long might seem dull to some, but it’s all about how you apply them. I haven’t had one moment of boredom in those “nearly 30 years,” and I credit that to the fact that I prefer to push the envelope. But I’m lucky in that I’ve been given the freedom and trust to do that. And today, my career has given me the opportunity to help launch and grow more than 40 companies around the globe… and I’ve got the Starbucks mugs to prove it!

Favorite Privilege or Perk? In 2015, I finally reached a “One Million Miler” flyer status! Hard-earned with a lot of long flights in coach.