As we head into the summer, it’s a good time to remind people of some basic safety and security precautions. If you are responsible for the security program at your company, this is also a good time to remind your employees, partners, and others about your security policy and help re-enforce security awareness and good practices. With this in mind, here are seven tips for staying safe and secure this summer.
Tip # 1: don’t get phished
- Scammers are getting more sophisticated, so keep an eye out for “phishing” emails looking to deceive you.
- Often this will be a fake email from a work vendor asking you to log into a fake site where they will capture your user name and password.
- It could be a message from “your bank” with a slightly different URL or, or a last-minute sales offer with a malware attachment.
- When in doubt, “double check it,” don’t “click it.”
Tip # 2: Stay safe online, for work and home
- Considering using a malware/ad blocker such as uBlock or uBlock Origin. These browser plugins help to prevent malicious ads that may be served up by even mainstream websites.
- Don’t reuse passwords between accounts. If you use the same, or very similar passwords, someone who compromises your account at a less security-minded site, could then access your work or online banking account.
- Consider using a password safe or vault.
Tip # 3: Maintain situational awareness on the move
- Whether your trip is across town or out of town, situational awareness is key.
- Be aware of those around you and notice who may be watching a little too closely or overhearing your work conversations while in public.
- Don’t leave valuables—like your company laptop, bags, or parcels—visible in cars. Thieves can smash a car window, grab a bag, and be gone in less than 30 seconds!
- In highly traveled or tourist-destination cities, take extra care to protect yourself, your wallet/purse, mobile phone, laptop, and other belongings.
- While in public spaces (coffee shops, hotel lobbies, conference sessions, airplanes), make sure to protect your company and customer confidential data (see more details below).
Tip #4: Keep control of your devices
- If possible, keep your devices (laptop, phone, etc.) under your own custody at all times.
- Full device encryption only works when the device is off! Turn off your laptop when going through airline security and if you need to leave it locked in a hotel safe or other secure space.
Tip #5: Use VPN and/or knowN wireless hotspots
- Be wary of unauthenticated “free public WiFi” and be aware of what wireless networks you are connecting to.
- If you travel and/or work in public spaces, connect to your company VPN when you are accessing company data.
- If you travel often, personal wireless hotspots (MIFI) are often available.
- In a pinch, you can often use a phone or tablet as a hotspot. This may provide a good connection without having to bring or charge a separate hotspot device.
Tip #6: Use a privacy screen
- Shoulder surfing is easy to do—just have a look around on your next flight or trip to your favorite coffee shop and notice how many open screens you can see.
- If you don’t already have a privacy screen and are a frequent traveler, ask your IT team for one.
Tip #7: International travel
- If you are traveling outside of the United States, or your home country, all the precautions above apply.
- International travel, especially to countries with state-sponsored surveillance and corporate-espionage programs requires extra care.
- Many high-tech companies have special policies around travel to these countries, including the use of “clean laptops,” encrypted USB drives, and further situational-awareness precautions. If you have a special high-security travel kit, make sure that your employees know about it and how to request one before they hit the road.