By Michiko Sell, Sr NERC CIP Specialist
October is National Cyber Security Awareness month. This year’s overarching message – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. – will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security. The following is a modified snippet from Own IT. More CSA topics can be found here at https://niccs.us-cert.gov/national-cybersecurity-awareness-month-2019.
Own IT – Internet of Things (IoT)
As more and more of our daily functions depend on the convenience of connecting to mobile devices and applications that are internet dependent, it is important that everyone knows how to secure their digital lives.
· Shake up your password protocol. Change your device’s factory security settings from the default password.
· Keep tabs on your apps. Many connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
· Secure your network. Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet-enabled devices. Consider placing these devices on a separate and dedicated network. For more information on how you can secure your network, view the National Security Agency’s Cybersecurity Information page.
· If you connect, you must protect. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense is to stay on top of things by updating to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. If you have the option to enable automatic updates to defend against the latest risks, turn it on. When purchasing anti-virus applications, purchase enough licenses to cover your PC, tablets and mobile devices and load the anti-virus apps on all your devices.