National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Week 3

By October 20, 2017 Cybersecurity

“Share… but be aware.”

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues into it’s third week theme of “Today’s Predictions for Tomorrow’s Internet.”

Years ago it would have been tough for people to imagine the massive amount of computing power and access to nearly unlimited information that we would have in the palm of our hands.  We live in a world where if you want to listen to a song, you can literally just call it out and it starts playing.  Mobile phones, digital assistants and the connected devices lumped into the “Internet of Things” category can make life convenient, but at what cost?  Well National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is the time to think about this topic.

This isn’t a doom and gloom post that is going to recommend you never use anything beyond a your old Nokia dumb phone and hand written letters instead of email.  It is important to realize just how much and what types of information you are sharing online via these devices.

A digital assistant such as an Amazon Echo or a smart TV can be extremely entertaining and useful, but you do not necessarily need to connect them to everything to benefit from their usefulness.  Consider having a separate account for your digital assistant to use in case it becomes compromised or limiting the number of features you use on your smart TV.  Segmenting information is always a solid strategy in cybersecurity for business and it really shouldn’t be any different for the home now.

Smart devices such as lights, power outlets and appliances just don’t need to have access to your primary information, especially with their security concerns.   As much as you can, segregate your smart devices on your home network so that if they are compromised, the damage will be minimal.  Usually there is a separate management email account needed for these devices so you definitely want to make sure you aren’t using the same password for both.  Better yet, set up an email account just for these devices to make sure no useful information could be discovered if they are compromised.

Smart devices are not going away.  They are just really starting to mature as a market and will be taking security more seriously.  Ultimately, the responsibility is on you to set up effective cybersecurity.  This is why I say, “Share… but be aware.”  

There is an exceptional amount of convenience we can receive from today’s technology, we just need to be very cognizant of our personal data and how it is being used.  Make sure you pay attention to features and the access they require and decide for yourself if they are worth it.  A feature might seem neat at the beginning but could turn into a nightmare if it could be exploited to scam charges to your credit card.

Dave Bock

Author Dave Bock

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