5 New Year’s Security Resolutions

The New Year promises a fresh start  and like most of you I am looking forward to all that goes with it, while at the same time frantically running around trying to accomplish many things at once. This not only includes various responsibilities, but also meeting friends and family, dinners, decorating, and shopping for gifts- in person and online. As the old saying goes, “haste makes waste”, so this is also a good time to take a minute and catch our breath, figuratively and literally! With all that is going on, here are some basic security awareness tips that can help safeguard you now, and throughout the whole year.

  1. Secure Online Shopping – no surprise that online shopping plays a bigger role in our lives each year, for all the known benefits (saves time driving from place to place, purchases delivered direct to your door, etc.). Always keep in mind that you should never divulge personal information (including credit card data) unless you are dealing with a trustworthy, known vendor site, and that it has “https” in the web URL address, and the locked padlock symbol is displayed in your browser. Be sure that your PC is running anti-virus software with the latest updates (goes for your browser software as well), and do not automatically click on/or accept any strange “requests” that just appear (“pop up”) on your screen.  (This goes for unsolicited email messages as well, especially those with attachments that appear to have been forwarded multiple times- even from friends and relatives. Do you know positively that they have scanned the attachments with updated anti-virus software before forwarding to you?)
  2. Social Networking Sites Postings – be careful posting your holiday travel plans ahead of time. Thieves often “prowl” social networking sites (friend of a friend of a friend….) for information that could tell them someone is not home, and the home may become a target for robbery. Share your vacation photos, etc.  after you are back!
  3. Protect Your Cards– In malls and stores, keep your credit and debit cards covered so someone cannot “surf” (read) them, and cover the keypad when inputting your PIN.  In restaurants, don’t leave the cards in full view when waiting for the waiter/ waitress to pick it up- hide most of the card with the bill or folder.  And be sure to check that you receive your own card back (how often do you look today?) after the server returns it.
  4. Personal Safety Awareness- be aware of your physical surroundings. In parking lots, cover or keep your purchases out of sight and lock your car doors; contact Security or law enforcement if you notice suspicious individuals hanging around your vehicle.
  5. Travel Basics for Your Vehicle– it happens every year- people are stranded in snowstorms while traveling to Grandma’s house. Besides your cellphone/smartphone (you all have that now, don’t you?), carry a spare blanket or two; extra water and snacks; hats, gloves, and boots; possibly a shovel and/ or sand; those small disposable chemical heat packs are invaluable. Don’t forget to fill your gas tank before starting out!

As is often the case,  security awareness- like other things in life-  is based on common sense and individual alertness. It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of everyday life and forget even the basics. And while the “bad guys” are getting more and more sophisticated and continually changing tactics, it’s often the simple things that are the most effective.  Enjoy the New Year!

Help our your fellow readers.  What specific security steps are you implementing in this New Year?  What is the most important advice you’d want to share with others for a safe experience shopping online?  We look forward to your comments.
The Networking Exchange Blog Team About NEB Team