Friday, December 19, 2008

IT Security Top 10 Tips for 2009

#10 Wifi: As you travel are you will frequently see “Free Public Wifi” in your list of available wireless networks. This is almost always a VIRUS on someone’s computer trying to get you to connect so it can infect you also. Think of this as the “free public used gum” stuck under your desk. DO NOT ‘connect’ to it for any reason. Never connect to any Wi-Fi you do not fully trust; unless of course you like hackers using your identity or credit cards…

#9 Fake News Emails: Never click on any links in an email from CNN or MSNBC, or any other "news alerts" that you have never subscribed to. No matter how realistic it looks. Usually they start with a very absurd or weird story such as "Britney Spears killed in a car accident or Bigfoot found in new jersey, etc.." Even if you have subscribed to news alerts it is best to be cautious when following links.

#8 Fake “tracking number” Emails: If you get a "UPS tracking " attachment never ever open these attachments, they are virus's. They also appear to come from FedEx, USPS, etc… A valid tracking email will never have an attachment.

#7 Fake “Greeting Cards”: Never open a email postcard (Hallmark e-card is the most popular) unless it’s your birthday and it’s from someone you expect it from. This is the main delivery mechanism of most of our virus’s today. Also, an e-card will never have an attachment with a .exe extension.

#6 Lock your Desktop when not in use and have a screensaver password. Also lock your mobile devices (phone) with a password. If you don’t lock the doors then it does not make much sense to bar the windows. Don’t make it easy for hackers or others who would want to cause damage.

#5 Fake Instant Messages: Many people here use IM to communicate. It is a great tool but you need to be suspicious of hyperlinks; even if the link appears to be from your friends or coworkers. When a computer gets infected by a virus it is not uncommon for it to steal the address book and email/IM all of that persons contacts with the same virus. Best rule of thumb: Don’t follow hyperlinks

#4 Don’t put every CD you get mailed or USB key you find lying in the parking lot into your PC, they can “auto-install” a virus onto your PC or do many other nasty things. You didn’t just win a free prize, this is like the “free used gum”; besides it is a very well known technique for hackers and pen-testers alike. Again, don’t make it easy for the bad guys.

#3 Make sure you have Antivirus Installed and make sure that it has recent definitions, if you AV software is not updating, it is almost as good as not having it at all. In today’s day and age antivirus is a must…. well maybe not if you don’t have an internet connection…

#2 Keep your software up to date. Do your Microsoft Updates and software updates for all the products that you use. This includes software like Adobe, VMware and whatever else you use. We try our best to reach every machine with ECM but we can’t reach every machine due to a variety of issue and we don’t patch your home machines. Also we can’t patch your work machines unless you keep them powered on and put them in the WP domain. As the famous ex-hacker Kevin Mitnick suggests “Update your OS religiously and be vigilant in applying all security patches released by the software manufacturer.”

And the #1 thing Everyone should do in 2009 is:
#1 Backup everything you use. Make sure you have it somewhere else, on an external hard drive, a file share, somewhere. Don’t assume that anyone else (even IT) is backing that data up. If you have a question if a file share is being backed up please contact the IT Department, otherwise assume it is not. One Worm or Trojan or drive crash can wipe out 100% of your data forever, don’t let it happen to you.

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