Get Safe Online Week

Posted November 15, 2009, 11:20 pm by Dennis Piche

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Dennis Piche

According to their blog, the UK based initiative “Get Safe is a free public service from HM Government, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) and partners from the private sector. We help individuals and micro-businesses use the internet safely.” Their website has a beginners guide, some down to earth videos, and great advice for small businesses.  Check out their video on money mules (Internet money laundering) - evidence that real money is stacking up and that we have entered a new stage in online criminal activity.


This week is Get Safe Online week. Running from November 16 through the 20th, their objective is to encourage everyone to take some time out of their week to learn more about internet safety and to make sure that their computer is properly protected. In honor of Get Safe Online week I have a couple of simple tips. These are not new but I want to stress actually doing them because after all - it's not what you know, but what you do with the information that matters. Here are a couple of my favorite well known best practices that, if not followed, will inevitably cause a great deal of grief (I know this from personal experience - but thats another story):


Use Unique (different for each system/site) Strong Passwords: Everyone is familiar with password requirements such as using numbers, letters, upper case, lower case and at least one symbol. Of course don't write them down (and put them on a sticky on your monitor) and never give them out to anyone – not your coworkers, your company's security engineers, or your mom. Furthermore you can't use the same password for all the systems/sites you log into to. This is everyone's biggest crutch. While it obvious that gaining access to your online banking website by learning your kids WebKinz password is a bad thing, what is not obvious to everyone is that all sites are not equal with respect to the security they deploy regarding your password. Think about it. In some cases your password information is protected like Fort Knox. In others you get back an email after joining with your password in the clear - much to the chagrin of single-sign-on advocates. I will leave the advice on how you go about choosing (and remembering) twenty or more unique strong passwords to you and Google. Search "choosing a password 2009."


Backup Your Data: I am not suggesting you become a pack rat like me hoarding every email I have sent or received for the past ten years.  My suggestion is that you need to identify the data that is important to you and back it up regularly. Whether it's your family videos/photos, your music, or critical business information for your company, once it's gone – it's gone forever. There are several reputable cloud based backup providers out there that will allow you to backup your data to “the cloud” for a reasonable fee. Online backups are especially nice because in addition to being easy to use, you automatically get offsite storage of your data. Again I will leave the recommendations on personal/business backup strategies to you and Google. Search “backup recommendations 2009.”


Businesses should encourage their employees to follow sites like Get Safe Online because the security habits they develop in their personal lives (good or bad) are applied in the office.

Filed under: Security Threats
Edited January 12, 2018 by Dennis
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