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Security Awareness: 4 tips on Trusting Technology

Part 3 in a weekly blog series, “How Attackers Target Trust,” running during October, National Cyber Security Awareness Month and European Cyber Security Month.

As consumers, we often misplace our faith in technology. We have become so reliant upon it that we take it for granted and assume it’s safe. Availability and convenience, however, do not equal security of use.

With the rise in social media (which we will discuss again) and the increasing mobile nature of modern life, we have become accustomed to operating with a false sense of trust in our devices and supporting technologies.

Public Wi-Fi? The best practice is paranoia.

A prime example of this is the persistent availability of public Wi-Fi access points. No matter where you travel on the globe, you can be connected and it’s our very human (emotional) desire to be connected that makes us vulnerable to those that would prey on us.

As points out, “Guests looking to use their hotel’s wireless Internet may face another security threat. The CBS Early Show had an ethical hacker set up a fake Wi-Fi access point at a New York City hotel, calling it ‘Best Free Public Wi-Fi.’ Before long, dozens of unsuspecting wireless device users tried to log on. When an unsuspecting hotel guest connects to a rogue Wi-Fi access point like that, their sensitive financial information can be harvested by a hacker.”

Of course, none of this is going to stop users from connecting in almost any way possible. The key is for us to help them improve their personal security by pointing out how they can ensure they are appropriately reviewing their connections.

For example, many users may not see the clues in the image above that would help them avoid exposure of data in the first place. A closer look will show that only two of the four networks shown should even be considered as a ‘safe’ access points.

Check out these 4 ways to be security-aware:

Those of us in the security business have a responsibility to inform our users to remain situationally aware at all times. Consider the below points whether you are on the road or at home surfing the web and conducting business.

  1. Never connect to an insecure public Wi-Fi connection
  2. When in hotels, always utilize VPN (Virtual Private Network) services
  3. Ensure all home routers are secured with a password for connection
  4. Change the admin passwords on all home Wi-Fi routers

Remember: Taking these steps and developing mindfulness will make us more cognizant of what’s going on around us and more present in daily activities, which in turn helps us make better decisions in all aspects of life including our online security.

Learn other ways PhishMe can help to raise your security awareness.