You Are a Victim of Cyber Crime
Cyber criminals are VERY smart – they’re not just teenage hackers with too much time on their hands working from their parents’ basements.
Cyber crime is big, big business.
We give the bad guys plenty of low-hanging fruit. If you’ve ever had your identity stolen, you know how much work and time goes into getting things straightened out. Even years later, when you think you’re safe, your stolen identity can return to bite you!
So, what can we do? We can take steps to make our important information
harder to get, make that less easy to get.
Here are 5 steps that you can take to make your information less easy for the bad guys:
Cyber security begins at home.
We all have a lot of online accounts where we need a password. Ideally, we should have a different password for each account. In reality, no one can create, use and remember entirely distinct passwords for all of our accounts.
Many of us use a few different passwords on multiple accounts. To make things worse, many people either don’t change the default password or use a common password that’s ridiculously easily to figure out:
Check your password strength here: Password Meter
STEP 1: Use a 16-digit password that’s made up of common words that you’ll remember. Stay away from common phrases, song lyrics, famous quotes and other combinations that are easy to figure out.
Create a password that contains words and elements that are meaningful to you:
I didn’t use any upper case letters, numbers or symbols in my example, but you could use these elements.
Post-It notes are not a good “password management” strategy.
How do you keep track of your passwords? I know that you’re not one of those people who use just a few passwords for all of your accounts!
STEP 2: If you must track your passwords, don’t leave them in places where others can see them! While this this tip is obvious, just ask a few people how they remember their passwords. Many of them “remember” their passwords by making them public.
I use a password keeper. You’ll find several password keepers on the market, and they’re an inexpensive way to help you keep your login information safe.
“I’ll be watching you.” The Internet of Things (IOT).
We’ve heard about computer cameras turning on without the owner’s knowledge. Our phones and our watches use GPS to track our every movement. We’re seeing new devices every day that make our lives easier (ha ha!). Alexa and Siri are always there, always listening, as are your television, computer and even your refrigerator!
STEP 3: If you choose to use these “smart” devices, learn how to deactivate them so they can’t listen and watch things that should go on in private. Be cautious about how much and what kinds of information you share – someone, somewhere is aggregating data about you and your behaviors!
“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” Click on the wrong link, watch your life and your company sink.
Another seemingly obvious step to protect your information, is to never click on an email link that you can’t verify as being legitimate. The bad guys are brilliant at getting people to click on links that let them into the user’s system. Once in the user’s system, they can easily find their way to the company’s system and then on to even more systems as others become infected via the company.
STEP 4: If you’re not expecting a link from someone you know and trust, do not click on any links that may be in the email. Even then, cyber crooks have developed sophisticated, yet simple, ways to get top executives to click on fake links. “When in doubt, throw it out.”
Anyone with access can infect your system.
I recently attended a cyber security conference at Embrey Riddle University. One of the cyber security presenters had challenges getting his laptop to work with the projection system, so another cyber security expert let him use his laptop. When the first cyber expert plugged his flash drive into the second cyber expert’s computer without first checking for bugs, the entire audience gasped!
Whether you’re using your technology at home, school or work, recognize the risks and help others to be aware of their own low-hanging fruit. If you’ve done everything you can to protect yourself, someone else who uses your devices or shares your common system may inadvertently open the door to an infection.
STEP 5: Learn more about how to protect yourself, your family, and your organizations. Where you find bad habits, bring them to the attention of either the individual or the person who is responsible for the overall safety and well-being of the individuals and the organizations.
As a direct selling company owner, you have lots of data that crooks could use to exploit your company, your executives, your distributors and your customers. The threat is real, and it’s growing faster than we can create deterrents to stop or at least slow down the crooks. We must do the best we can with what we have, and we must take action now to implement our own cyber security strategies.
Please let me know if you have some questions about your own cyber security strategy. What is working well for you and your company?