Wednesday, September 3, 2014

You are going to get hacked!

Face it, you are. Target breached, Home Depot breached, Ebay breached, JP Morgan breached, on and on and on and, even if you take all self precautions, are going to get hacked because in this day and age we entrust our information and data to 2nd and 3rd parties who are not within our control. Period, point, blank. It is a fact. Try and say it is not and you are living in the stone age.
So if this is the case then what can we do about it? Well instead of trying to worry about being secure you need to shift your mindset to being resilient. You need to shift your approach to being risk reactive. Sorry there is NO other way about it. You may hear others preach well if you only do this or that or if you do this latest great technique then you can prevent x,y, or z but at the end of the day they are full of ..(well let's just say I think they are wrong). Sorry they just are, and this is coming from a security guy. Don't put your trust in some framework, security device or piece of software. At the end of the day it is all about your risk realization, acceptance, mitigation and reaction strategy END OF STORY. So with that gloom and doom stated what can you (Joe consumer) do about it? Well there are a few things thank god that you can and that are under your control. Here are some tips to enable your posture to be resilient, reactive, and ready to face whatever is thrown your way.

1. Enable some form of credit monitoring - ask your cc company what they offer and enable the services. Make sure you know what and when they cover in case there is a breach of your identity.

2. Subscribe to a personal credit and reputation monitoring services such as LifeLock, MetDefender, and the like. Cost is nominal when you think of what they can do for you in the area of tipping you off once your data is compromised.

3. Close all old and non-used internet accounts. Go through and make sure any old internet accounts you no longer used are closed. This can be a bit time consuming but well worth it to reduce your footprint on the internet.

4. Subscribe to a data reduction service such as Abine DELETE ME. Very minimal cost and will further reduce your internet footprint.

5. Setup GOOGLE ALERTS to key on your name, username and email. That way you can get tipped off to internet activities involving this data. 

6. Keep your home systems (computers and mobile) secure with anti-virus, firewall, and privacy protection from any of the big vendors. Key programs such as Malwarebytes Anti-Malware and Anti-Threat, or AV Antivir and the like can help keep your pc's and mobile devices protected. Patch both OS and applications routinely and comprehensively, again there are free programs out there to help you do that such as Patch My PC and Secunia PSI.

7. Backup your data! - This is extremely important especially if you get hit with ransomware or some other similar type of nastiness. Best practices recommend backing up periodically and on to a separate type of medium or to separate location (to an external DVD, USB, NAS, etc). Getting hacked or having your data compromised is bad enough but if you lose your data it can be many times worse. 

8. Subscribe and activate your banking notifications for any transaction activity to email you or text you a soon as they happen. 99% of banking and financial institutions offer this, just take the time to enable and set it up.

9. Go through your credit report at least 2 times a year. I would suggest every 3 months if feasible.

10. Reduce giving out your information as much as possible to retailers and the like. If you are requested for personal information by a merchant engage them and ask them why the data is needed, how they handle security, and what they are responsible for. Bottom line is if you don't need to give out certain information for a transaction, application, or such then do not. Keep it to the bare minimum.

11. Lastly, even if you are not a security technology person perhaps one of your friends or family members are, enlist their help and periodically ask them for advice, direction, or engage them in discussions on how you can best defend yourself among the growing threats of our technology and information pervasive society.

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