Holiday Tips

Posted on December 6, 2017

The holiday season is in full swing.  Naughty and Nice Lists are being checked twice.  Which one are you on?  Most of us are on the Nice List, at least we like to think so, but there are those who thrive on being on the Naughty List.  They see this time of the year as a chance to cause mischief.  From intercepting packages left on doorways to sending out fake emails from your favorite online store saying there is an issue with your order and to "click the link" for more information. 

So what can we do?  As for the packages….make a note to have packages left at a side door or ask a neighbor to pick them up if they see them (offer to do the same for your neighbor).  Emails…as tempting as it may seem to click on a link, you might want to think twice and log into the website itself to see if there are any issues with your order.  If there are no messages on the site, the email is likely fake. 

As you make your lists and look to get the latest gadgets, remember to learn how to secure those devices.  Internet of Things (IoT) devices have exploded onto the market place with little thought to security.  IoT devices include items like Alexa, Siri and Google devices where you can tell them to do something.  IoT devices also include digital thermostats you can set using your phone, kids' toys that connect to the internet and the list keeps growing.  Can you change the default administrator password?  How do you update or patch the software running the device?  Vulnerabilities are out there for these types of devices; be sure to check with the manufacturer on how they manage security on these devices.  US-CERT has published the following article Securing the Internet of Things check it out to get more information on this.

The holiday season also often means we're traveling to see family and friends.  A typical traveler will have at least one mobile device (such as a smart phone, tablet or laptop) with them as they travel. These devices offer a range of conveniences but users should be aware of potential threats and vulnerabilities that also come with them.  US-CERT encourages users to check out their tips Holiday Traveling with Personal Internet-Enabled Devices and Cybersecurity for Electronic Devices.  These tips don't apply just during the holiday season; they are useful anytime you may travel.

Advances in technology are amazing and if security could keep up with these changes we could worry less. Unfortunately that is not the case, which is why we share this information to help you secure your devices.  Besides, there will always be those who live to be on the Naughty List!

Wishing you and your family a very Happy Holiday season. 

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