Mobile devices have become one of the primary ways that we communicate and interact with each other. Powerful computers now fit in our pockets and on our wrists, allowing us to bank, shop, view our medical history, work remotely, and communicate from virtually anywhere. With all this convenience comes added risk, so here are some tips to help secure your devices and protect your personal information.
Password-protect your devices. Protect the data on your mobile device and enable encryption by enabling passwords, PINs, fingerprint scans, or other forms of authentication. On most current mobile operating systems you have the option to encrypt your data when you have a password turned on. Turn it on!
Secure those devices and backup data. Make sure that you can remotely lock and/or wipe each mobile device. That also means you should back up your data on each device in case you need to use the remote wipe function. Services such as iCloud, OneDrive, and Google offer device location, wipe and backup services.
Verify app permissions. Don’t forget to review which privacy-related permissions each application is requesting, before installing it. Be cautious of fake applications masquerading as legitimate programs by verifying that the application is from a reputable source, such as the Apple Apps Store, Microsoft’s Store, or Google’s Play Store. Occasionally, applications in the official stores can include malware. Read reviews and descriptions carefully. Only install applications that you need. Remove applications that you are no longer using.
Update operating systems. Security fixes or patches for mobile devices’ operating systems are often included in these updates. Just like patching a computer, iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile all need to be patched and kept current.
Be cautious of public Wi-Fi hotspots. When using your mobile device, watch for connections to public hotspots. Many mobile devices will automatically connect to hotspots and prioritize data transmission over Wi-Fi by default. Verify that your settings require manually selecting hotspots if possible. Working with sensitive data while connected to a public hotspot could lead to unintended data exposure. Always ensure that you are using a secure connection.
A new phishing attack is hitting the campus with a subject line of, “Your email id”. Delete this message if you see it. Do NOT click any links in this message. If you believe you have fallen for this fishing attack:
This malicious email would have looked similar to the message below.
Subject: Your email id
Your?mail Id has used 91% of its allowable storage space.?Once your account exceeds the allowable storage space you will be unable to receive any email.?Click?Resolve?to login to your account and resolve this issue.
Every election year we find our senses pounded with propaganda from pundits and candidates trying to sway us to one political camp or another. Computer attackers are leveraging our curiosity, and perhaps desensitization to political messages to launch attacks with purportedly political themes.
Recent phishing attacks that have been reported by security firms such as KnowBe4 include:
At a certain point in the semester the digital media tutors and I begin to develop a love/hate relationship with our plotter. Everyone loves the ability to create and print large scale graphic representations of our work but we hate the error messages, ink stripes, and “Plotter is down” signs on the doorway to the lab.
Finals week spring term 2014. Not a pretty day for the plotter.
Like any piece of mechanical equipment that is heavily used, the plotter will occasionally break. Although we usually have no warning when this is about to happen, there are a few things that everyone can do to help us tame the plotter.
Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to notify us of the timeframe when your students will be working on and printing poster projects. (The earlier – the better! First week of class = PERFECT!) If you can send us a copy of the assignment – even better!
Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes to create a visual piece of work. It might seem like it will come together faster than a paper, but often there is just one component that you can’t get to look just right, or a feature in Illustrator that is not working the way you expected.
Make an appointment with a digital media tutor if you need help with more than a couple of questions. This will allow us to dedicate more time focused on you rather than reloading paper and ink in the plotter and helping everyone else in the lab. (We’ll schedule another tutor to do that.)
Fully proof your poster on the screen before sending the file to print on the plotter.
Recycle your scraps and remember that advanced planning is often the key to success!
Plan ahead for a lunch and learn RoadShow. On February 23rd, 2016 ITS-Information Security will be hosting a RoadShow conversation on safe computing practices and phishing avoidance techniques in Lib145 from 12:00 to 1:00. This conversation is open to the entire Middlebury community. All are encouraged to come.
How to spot a phish
Safe download practices and installing applications on your computer
Data classification and sensitive data
Removable media and when to use it
Password management and what to do with all of those passwords
Follow ITS-Information Security on Twitter: @MiddInfoSec
Information Security has a New Twitter feed and other new content on their website. Follow us at @MiddInfosec or visit our website at http://go.middlebury.edu/infosec
Planning a spring break vacation? People are frequently more vulnerable when traveling because a break from their regular routine or encounters with unfamiliar situations often result in less cautious behavior. If this sounds like you, or someone you know, these five tips will help you protect yourself and guard your privacy.
Track that device! Install a device finder or manager on your mobile device in case it’s lost or stolen. Make sure it has remote wipe capabilities and also protects against malware.
Avoid social media announcements about your travel plans. It’s tempting to share your upcoming vacation plans with family and friends, but consider how this might make you an easy target for local or online thieves. While traveling, avoid using social media to “check in” to airports and consider posting those beautiful photos after you return home. Find out how burglars are using your vacation posts to target you in this infographic.
Traveling soon? If you’re traveling with a laptop or mobile device, remove or encrypt confidential information. Consider using a laptop or device designated for travel with no personal information, especially when traveling out of the country.
Limit personal information stored on devices. Use a tool like Identity Finder to locate your personally identifiable information (e.g., SSN, credit card numbers, or bank accounts) on your computer, then secure or remove that information.
Physically protect yourself and your devices. Use a laptop lock, avoid carrying identification cards, shred sensitive paperwork before you recycle it, and watch out for “shoulder surfers” at the ATM.
Information Security has a New Twitter feed and other new content on their website. Follow us at #MiddInfosec or visit our website at http://go.middlebury.edu/infosec
You and your information are everywhere. When you’re online you leave a trail of “digital exhaust” in the form of cookies, GPS data, social network posts, and e-mail exchanges, among others. It is critical to learn how to protect yourself and guard your privacy. Your identity and even your bank account could be at risk!
Use long and complex passwords or passphrases. These are often the first line of defense in protecting an online account. The length and complexity of your passwords can provide an extra level of protection for your personal information.
Take care what you share. Periodically check the privacy settings for your social networking apps to ensure that they are set to share only what you want, with whom you intend. Be very careful about putting personal information online. What goes on the Internet¬¬ usually stays on the Internet.
Go stealth when browsing. Your browser can store quite a bit of information about your online activities, including cookies, cached pages, and history. To ensure the privacy of personal information online, limit access by going “incognito” and using the browser’s private mode.
Using Wi-Fi? If only public Wi-Fi is available, restrict your activity to simple searches (no banking!) or use a VPN (virtual private network). The latter provides an encrypted tunnel between you and the sites you visit.
Should you trust that app? Only use apps from reputable sources. Check out reviews from users or other trusted sources before downloading anything that is unfamiliar.