Just like washing hands can minimize the risk of infection from bacteria or viruses, cyber hygiene can protect against infiltration and data loss. However, it goes well beyond virus infection. Digital hygiene encompasses a variety of security measures, and every employee has a role to play, which is why it's so startling that a 2017 survey by Dell revealed 72% of employees would share sensitive or confidential information.
By incorporating these methods into everyday actions, a company's data remains secure, and its brand trusted.
Use Security Software
All devices should have a form of firewall and antivirus installed. Furthermore, the software should be updated, and virus definitions downloaded frequently. This software should always be running to do its job.
Avoid Email Risks
Emails can be the source of viruses and other malicious attachments as well as phishing attacks. Scan any files that you download from email (most security software does this automatically).
Verify the source of any email before clicking links. This is especially true if it appears to come from a financial institution, governmental department, or partner. You may be able to look for telltale signs of phishing such as the wrong logo, typos, misuse of your name, or a URL that doesn't match the organization's actual website. You can also access these websites directly or call businesses to verify the source of the email.
Close Tabs to Prevent Tabnapping
Tabnapping is a type of phishing attempt in which an already-opened tab is switched with a phishing attempt. When you return to the tab and log in, you may be giving your information to scammers. Close unnecessary tabs so you can keep an eye on them. Your browser will perform better, too.
Protect Information Over the Phone
Scammers attempt to gain access to information over the phone as well. It may be difficult to avoid these calls if you frequently receive calls for unknown numbers. Just like with email attacks, you can make a point to call the person or business in question using their verified phone number to do business or to report a scam.
Use Passwords Smartly
Set up new accounts with strong and unique passwords. Use a password organizer tool if it's difficult to remember these passwords. A password on a sticky note provides anyone who has access to your desk access to your computer.
Change passwords frequently and after any potential hack. The IT team may force frequent password changes or send reminders. Ensure that no one knows your password or sees you use it.
Keep devices locked whenever not in use, even if you're just running to the bathroom for a moment. This is doubly important when you are using a personal device at home at work or bringing a company device home to continue work.
Work Only on Company Devices
If you're provided a device to work from, do not use your personal devices to work. This can leave you vulnerable because the IT team cannot control the setup of your personal devices to ensure good cyber hygiene.
In this regard, good cyber hygiene means all system and third party software has been updated and your computer has been configured correctly according to corporate policies.
Connect to Networks Securely
Avoid public networks when possible. Do not send sensitive information over these networks.
Keep screens covered so that anyone who should not have access to the information on the screen can see it. This includes when you're away from the device as well as when you use it.
Access Safe Websites
Look for the green text or icon and the "https" in your browser's address window to determine if a website is safe. Never log into any website to transmit sensitive information (financial sites are just one example) without this security.
Install Only Trusted Software
Only install software from trusted sites. Don't bypass installation security to install software on your device.
Update Apps Promptly
Update software when updates become available. IT may take care of apps and programs on company devices, but users should make sure they're using the latest version of software on their personal devices.
Back Up Data
Data should be frequently backed up and backed up to multiple sources. For example, data can be backed up to an external hard drive and the cloud.
Participate in Training
Although security training may seem like busy work, especially when you have other things to do, it's essential to learn about new risks and ensure you're keeping up good habits.
Many of these areas of vulnerability require oversight by an IT professional or team; however, everyone within an organization must do their part to ensure cybersecurity. In the era of mobile devices, company phones and computers must remain secure no matter where the user logs in. With some companies allowing employees to bring their own devices, the concern over security only increases.
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