Thursday, August 21, 2014

4 Things Security Conscious People Never Do

No matter how careful you are with your data, there is almost always another way to protect your data, passwords, and the security of your files.  While many approaches seem obvious, like using different user id and password combinations for different accounts, making sure no one is shoulder surfing when you are entering a password, and locking your device when you walk away, other steps are not as obvious.  Listed below are four things you should be observing which security conscious people never do.

Share their credentials, with anyone
This probably sounds obvious, however, you may not consider your family members as part of the anyone group.  We share our credentials with children and spouses because they do not seem like a risk.  Unfortunately, even if they never repeat your credentials, they add risk to your credentials being compromised.  Any time you share your credentials with someone else, no matter who they are, you increase your risk.  This is true because each time your credentials are used they are potentially put at risk of being captured by someone else, either physically, or through malware already running on the device in use.  Instead, create accounts for all family members, forward emails to anyone who might want or need the information, or if you absolutely have to give your credentials in an emergency, be sure to change them immediately after.  In the case of an emergency, you will be better protected and safe yourself time if you are utilizing different user id's and passwords for your accounts.


Use their ATM pin as a smart phone security code
If you have a security code set on your smart phone, you probably log into it anywhere from fifteen to a hundred times each day.  Using your bank ATM pin as your phone security code is easy to remember, but it is a huge security risk.  Consider how often you are in public when you log into your phone.  Even if your phone uses a pattern instead of numbers, if the pattern is similar to a number keypad, you are still not safe because you may find yourself using the same pattern you use for your ATM pin.  Instead, use a security code on your smart phone that you do not use anywhere else.  This will make sure the only thing at risk if your code is captured is the phone itself.

Allow accounts to remember their credentials on any device other people use
Many accounts we access each day offer to remember our credentials so we can more easily access our accounts later.  While this is extremely handy for our everyday uses, it can be dangerous when we are logging into accounts on devices other people use, like company tablets.  While it may not seem critical at first, if someone gains access to your email, they can then use this account to request password resets for other accounts of yours, potentially gaining access to more important accounts.  Instead, be sure the option to remember your credentials is not selected before you log in when using devices other people have access to.

Write down their credentials
Using the top of your desk to store passwords is obviously a bad idea.  So is hiding them in a desk drawer, under your keyboard, or in a stack of papers.  If someone is going to try and gain access to your credentials, they will most certainly look in all of these places.  Sometimes it can be easy to underestimate the importance of an account, but if you have a credit card stored, or other information about you or your business, this information can potentially be used to access other accounts.  If you cannot remember all of your user id's and password, there are a couple of options available to you.  Instead of writing down your credentials, use a credential keeping software which will store your user id's and passwords for your account.  Or, you can try creating a master list of your accounts and encrypting the file on your local device.

There are many more ways to keep your private information secure, these four are a few to help protect you in ways you may not have considered during your everyday activities.  Working to protect your data in more and more ways will help secure your data.  The most important thing to remember is the security of every account is important since items from a compromised account might help provide access to other accounts.  As always, stay safe!

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