“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.”
—Andy Warhol, artist
It’s October and National Security Awareness Month. That means it’s time to do the annual review of what secure computing means.
We’ve talked this nearly to death, but just in case you have been temporarily dead and need to learn or relearn what it means to be secure, here is the list:
· Use Strong Passwords – That means nothing less than 8 characters. Mix it up with UPPER case and lower case letters. + (Add) some $mybol$ and some numb3rs.
· Don’t reuse passwords. It’s impossible to remember that many unique passwords so invest in a password manager. I use Dashlane. It works. I don’t get any kickbacks if you purchase. I recommend it because it works.
· Enable two-factor authentication (2FA) wherever possible. This will require a working cell phone or email address. You’ve got both. Use them.
· Be careful what information you share online. I’m still confused why people post their vacation pictures to Facebook while they are on vacation. Nothing could scream “Burglarize my House” louder. And those questionnaires: Whose your favorite teacher? What was your first car? Where was your first date? All of those are answers to commonly asked security questions at banks.
· Keep your software up to date. Really… When Chrome says it wants to update, Let IT! When windows wants to install updates, Let IT! It only takes a couple of minutes and you need a legitimate excuse to look at your cell phone.
· Use a firewall and antivirus software. The windows firewall is adequate for the majority of the users. Antivirus software is free to cheap. No excuses, Just Do IT!
· Be aware of phishing scams. If it is to good to be true, then stay away. Also watch for anomalies. I posted dahlias for sale in Facebook marketplace. I immediately got the despised “Is this still available?” response with a message that said please text me. Here is my phone number. Replying thru marketplace was disabled. There is NO WAY I’m going to give out my phone number to some random person in a different area code.
· Backup your data regularly. Backups can be automated using the Windows Backup Utility that comes with Windows 10 & Windows 11. For better protection you can send backups offsite . This does require a subscription. Comp-U-Talk has several to choose from. Call Us!
· Disregard all of the above advice. I promised my crew pay incentives if we hit some sales goals. Your indifference will fund our bonuses.
Stay safe, or NOT.
It’s your choice.