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9 Ways You Are Absentmindedly Threatening Your Network’s Security

Jan 27, 2016

network securityThere are potential threats to your system every minute of every day. Because of all of the malicious malware and virus threats, it is important to take preventative measures to ensure your network has the best possible security for your system. But even with preventative action, we still put our system at risk by simple, common mistakes. Here’s a list of nine things we do (sometimes without even knowing) that can threaten our systems:

1. Don’t Forget to Lock Up!

Even if certain areas of your network are encrypted, it does no good if you leave your computer unlocked. Maybe you’re just running to the bathroom, or stepping up to grab your coffee while doing some work at Starbucks, or just jumping up to answer the door—either way, you must always remember to lock your computer. We lock our doors when we leave home to keep potential threats away—treat your computer the same way.

2. Information Hoarding

One common mistake we’re probably all guilty of is letting our USB devices get too cluttered. We tend to utilize USB sticks for storing important documents, but most of us can’t remember to move these files. After transporting information via USB, don’t forget to store it, or delete it off of the USB once you are finished. USB sticks are easily lost, shared, and/or stolen. If the USB finds its way to the wrong hands, sensitive information will be at risk.

3. Keep Your Mouth (or Keyboard) Shut!

It’s hard to admit, but a lot of us can tend to be blabbermouths when it comes to social media. Posting sensitive details about your job can be extremely unsafe on social media. Even describing your roles, responsibilities, or job title can be dangerous. If you mention that you are an administrative assistant to the CEO at your company, for example, you may be targeted by hackers that assume you have a lot of sensitive, confidential information on your computer.

4. Stay in the Loop—Update!

We’ve all done it—we see a notification that pops up in the middle of our work telling us to update our computer or device in use. We choose the “ignore” option, forget about it, and move on about our day. But what we can tell you here at MTI is that updates are important. Updates keep your system resistant to attacks. Many vendors (like Microsoft) will issue patches to update systems because they see security vulnerabilities. Because of this, employees may be at increased risks for attacks if updates aren’t applied within a timely matter.

5. Cybercriminals Use Phones Too…

In business, it is inevitable that the phone will ring multiple times throughout the day. Phishers are starting to use phones to find vulnerability in a system’s security. Data thieves can call your main line and speak with employees to extract private information, such as account numbers or social security numbers. Phishers may also call your phone claiming to call from IT helpdesks or tech support, and will ask for your username and password. Never give this information unless you completely trust the source from which the call came. Don’t give out this information to anyone other than your trusted IT company. You should also be wary of scammers directing you to go to certain websites to download anything to “patch a problem” with your computer.

6. Don’t Fall to the Temptation to Click!

In phishing attacks, the attacker will try to lure a computer user to click on a link that will bring them to a threatening website, or to open an attachment that downloads malware onto their computer. NEVER open attachments or click links from sources you don’t recognize or trust. If it’s questionable, send the email over to your IT company, and they will determine if the message is safe to open.

7. Stay Strapped—Use Antivirus Software

It’s an absolute insult to your IT company when you tell us you don’t have antivirus installed on your system. Well, maybe not an insult, but it definitely makes us cringe. Antivirus is so important, especially if you store sensitive information on your computer. It is truly one of the most important preventative actions you can take to protect your system. Antivirus software not only fights threats to your computer, but it will catch potential threats/attacks and give you plenty of warning to address the problem before it blows up.

8. Report Your Stolen Devices

When you think your wallet is stolen, the first thing you do (or most of us) is call your bank to let them know your card is missing. You should inherit the same seriousness when your devices come up missing. Assume they were stolen, and call your IT company right away. If your devices are stolen, attackers will do all they can to break into them, which can jeopardize the entire network’s security for your company.

9. Is Your Password Game Weak?

Yes, I know. We say it all the time. Avoid weak passwords. IT companies will stress the importance of strong passwords, but people tend to think they are unimportant. Those people are wrong. Hackers try to use weak passwords to break into your system before they try anything else, and if your password is easily guessed, you put your entire network at risk. Visit this link here to read an article (written by yours truly) that will help you generate a strong password: http://mtitechs.com/blog/passwords-keep-part-2.html

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