Diversity Woman Magazine

FAL 2017

Leadership and Executive Development for women of all races, cultures and backgrounds

Issue link: https://diversitywoman.epubxp.com/i/876458

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70 D I V E R S I T Y W O M A N Fa l l 2 0 1 7 d i v e r s i t y w o m a n . c o m Many email clients and websites now offer a security process called two- factor authentication. ey may text your phone a one-time code for you to enter when you log in, for example. "e number one recommendation I can make right now is to add two-factor au- thentication to your account," says Judge. "It's like putting an extra dead bolt on your door. If someone tries to get into your ac- count who is not you, they won't have that second factor with them, and it can make a huge difference in your security." Sometimes two-factor authentication can be burdensome, but Judge warns that cleaning up after a hack—like if your identity is stolen—would take much more time and effort. If you're only going to add two-factor authentication to one account, Judge says it should be for your email. "at is your crown jewel," she says. "If someone gets into your email account, they can re- set all your passwords and the password resets come to your email account." 3 Be vigilant with emails Today it's very easy to open emails from criminals who are posing as trusted individuals or institutions to trick you in what's known as a phishing scam. "Phishing is the biggest attack vec- tor there is these days because so many people are gullible to emails that look like they're from the bank they deal with or a friend," says Loyce Pailen, a professor at University of Maryland University Col- lege and director of its Center for Secu- rity Studies. Hackers may want you to share sensi- tive information like your credit card number or your bank account's password. Or they may want you to click on links or attachments that load malware onto your computer. ough it's tempting to rush through emails, slowing down and being on guard can save you a world of hurt. It's impor- tant to look for clues that an email may not be from a trusted sender. Glance at the email address, not just the sender's name, to see if it looks suspicious. Spelling errors, random characters, bad grammar, and blank subject lines could also be tip- offs. Likewise, you should think twice about odd requests. "e CEO of your company is not going to send you an email that says, 'Hey, I need your password,'" Gallo- way says. "And your bank is not going to send you an email that says, 'Your pass- word has been compromised and click this link to reenter your credentials.'" If you're unsure about the email's legiti- macy, verify it with the purported sender. 4 Limit what you share on social media Your kid's name, your hometown, your com- pany name, and the place you visited last summer on vacation are all pieces of infor- mation that hackers can use to harm you. ose kinds of tidbits can help them tai- lor phishing emails, for example. It's easy to think an email that refers to your daughter by name really is from her school. Another reason that sharing too much personal data is risky is because hackers know many people use it to form their passwords. "ey have the time and the opportunity, so they can just take that in- formation and put it together to see what your passwords are," Galloway says. 5 Arm yourself with technology Four security technologies can also increase your protection: firewall, an- tivirus, antimalware, and antispyware. Many companies, including Webroot and Norton, offer products with all these fea- tures. "It's like putting a lock on all your doors, maybe alarms on your windows— it's putting on as much as you can to keep your computer and information safe," Pailen says. e features are often bundled to- gether, so research your options. "At a minimum, you want a tool that can try to monitor all that for you," Galloway says. "You don't want to have to get four or five different tools just for your home laptop." In addition, don't ignore the prompts asking you to install system and software updates. e new versions may fix secu- rity vulnerabilities that criminals could otherwise exploit. It's also a good idea to back up your op- erating system and data in case you're hit with ransomware, the malware that en- crypts data and makes it readable again only after the owner pays a ransom with- in a designated time. Having a backup en- ables you to keep both your money and your files. Ultimately, maintaining a cybersecuri- ty mind-set and being proactive can help you protect not only your home comput- er but also the slew of Internet-connected devices that will likely come into your home and could already be there in the form of baby monitors and thermostats. When you're aware of the risks, you'll rec- ognize the need to change the product's default password, for instance. In the end, while hackers may be ex- perts at adapting to new technologies, the good news is you can be, too. DW Mindy Charski (@mindycharski) is a Dallas- based freelancer who specializes in business journalism. It's important to look for clues that an email may not be from a trusted sender. DW Life >

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