We doubt the Russians or WikiLeaks are looking into your computer, but there’s a good chance somebody is. Want to get ahead of any possible problems? Try this checklist.
- Update your software – Security patches are almost always the feature of any software update for your operating system and application software, including Internet browsers. You can set your computers, servers and mobile devices to notify you when an update is available or have it installed automatically. Do it. It’s as simple as that.
- Limit admin accounts – There are two things to shore up here. First, limit the number of people in your organization – or household – who have administrative rights to your system. The more people who have access to the inner workings of your system, the more possibilities there are for somebody to leave an electronic door open to an invader. As another precaution, always run your PC as a non-administrator unless strictly necessary.
- Enable your firewall – This should be a no-brainer. It’s the first line of defense against hackers infiltrating your entire IT system or any computer in your system that goes out onto the Internet. Make sure you have it set to manage inbound and outbound traffic.
- Use anti-virus and anti-spyware – This goes hand-in-hand with enabling your firewall. These programs are designed to stop viruses, worms and other forms of malware. They can also stop pop-ups and other threats. Make sure every computer and device (where appropriate) is regularly scanned by the anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and don’t let licenses lapse.
- Beware of wireless – Enable encryption, turn off SSID broadcasting and use the MAC filtering feature. Be wary whenever out of the office using Wi-Fi.
- Protect mobile devices – Always use passwords, screen locks and auto locks on mobile devices, and encrypt data transmissions when possible.
- Use strong passwords – The latest research shows that longer passwords are stronger, and you should always have a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Change your password often and don’t use anything that can be related to your email address.
- Backup your files – We can’t emphasize this enough – and we strongly encourage you to back up files offsite, on a cloud-based server. Have an automated backup and recovery plan in place for key data residing on your network vital for every computer user and organization. We’ve talked about ransomware before, and have securely backed-up files is your best protection.
- Trust your gut – This is worth repeating, too: If a website, email or window on your PC offers you something that’s too good be true, ignore it or delete it. If something looks odd or out place, ignore it or delete it. Most companies, especially banks and credit card companies, don’t ask for personal information in an email. Don’t click a link. Instead, log back on to your browser and go to the website address you’ve used before to see what that company has to say.
- Train your staff or family – Most cybersecurity breaches happen because of human error. Train your staff or your family members on how to be more secure while using computers and mobile devices on the Internet. Remember how you’ve told your kids not to talk to strangers or get into a stranger’s car? It’s the same in the cyber world.
We can help you with any of cybersecurity concerns and needs. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to get answers to your questions or to set up a training session.