In today’s wireless world, we use mobile devices, tablets and laptops connected via Wi-Fi for pretty much everything. Around the holidays, this includes our holiday shopping. In addition to the danger of being hacked via regular, hard-wired connection to the internet, wireless devices give yet another entrance for thieves.
Medical professionals have to be extra careful in avoiding security breaches on mobile and Wi-Fi connected devices — after all, confidential patient information, credit card and bank information and our holiday shopping itinerary may often be on the same machine. Medical professionals also have to worry about HIPAA compliance on the devices they use for work.
The holiday season is a season of giving. This means it is also a season of buying gifts. To avoid the hassle of packed brick-and-mortar stores, we often turn to the world wide web to fulfill our holiday shopping needs. Around the holidays, we tend to visit many new websites in search for that perfect gift, or the perfect deal. We are also much more likely to input our financial information repeatedly, as we shop for gifts on various different websites. Because of this increased financial online activity, the holidays are also the perfect time for hackers and online thieves to steal financial information, hack into your computer, and steal something confidential that could potentially be much worse.
To protect yourself, follow these steps:
Configure Your Device with Security in Mind. The “out-of-the-box” configurations of many devices and system components are default settings often geared more toward ease-of-use and extra features rather than securing your device to protect your information. Enable security settings, paying particular attention to those that control information sharing.
Turn on Your Firewall. Firewalls provide an essential function of protecting your computer or device from potentially malicious actors. Without a firewall, you might be exposing your personal information to any computer on the Internet.
Enable Encryption. Encryption makes it hard for attackers who have gained access to your device to obtain access to your information. It’s a powerful tool that you should consider implementing.
Lock the Device. Locking your device with a strong PIN/password makes unauthorized access to your information more difficult. Additionally, make sure that your device automatically locks after five minutes of inactivity. This way, if you misplace your device, you minimize the opportunity for someone to access your personal information.
Regularly Apply Updates. Manufacturers and application developers update their code to fix weaknesses and push out the updates and patches. Enable settings to automatically apply these patches to ensure that you’re fixing the identified weaknesses in the applications, especially your operating system, web browser and associated third party apps.
Install Antivirus Software. Install antivirus software if it is available for your device to protect from known viruses. Additionally, enable automatic updating of the antivirus software to incorporate the most recently identified threats.