Security Hints & Tips

Staying Safe Around Always-Listening Devices

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October Tip

SECURITY HINTS & TIPS:

Staying Safe Around Always-Listening Devices

With the overwhelming popularity of always-listening devices such as Alexa, Google Home, and smartphones, you’ve probably heard stories of these devices joining in on conversations without being prompted. Perhaps it’s even happened to you!

While this idea can be alarming and unsettling, there are ways to protect your private information, and conversations, from these always-listening devices. To help you stay safe from these devices, here are some tips:

  • Review and delete voice recordings: Your device will store your search and activity history to create a customized experience for you. However, you can review and delete these recordings from the device of your choice in order to protect your privacy.
  • Mute the microphone: You can mute your microphone to ensure that your device is not listening and recording when you are not using it. The recording capabilities will remain off until you turn them back on.
  • Don’t link accounts with sensitive information to your device: If you have any accounts containing your sensitive information in them, it is best not to link those accounts to your device. This will keep your sensitive information secure from potential data breaches.
  • Change the settings to automatically manage data stored by the device: Personally managing what data is being linked with your account will give you more control on the information that is being stored by your device and will save you time when deleting your history.
  • Turn off your device when you’re away: When in doubt, turn it off. If your device does not have a power button, simply unplug it.

By creating a habit of unplugging and deleting voice recordings from these always-listening devices, you can help to make sure that there is an extra layer of protection between your always-listening device and your private information.

The KnowBe4 Security Team
KnowBe4.com

Stop, Look, and Think. Don’t be fooled.

September Tip

SECURITY HINTS & TIPS:

Social Media Account Spoofing

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn are wonderful tools for staying connected. Unfortunately, these platforms are also wonderful tools to manipulate and phish unsuspecting users. One way cybercriminals use social media to their advantage is through account spoofing.

Account spoofing is when a scammer copies information from a social media account, such as the user’s name, location, and photos, to create a look-alike account of that user. And then, from the spoofed account, the scammers send connection requests to everyone on the original account’s list. Sometimes they even message these users with an excuse, such as “Sorry, I got hacked and had to make a new account!”, to make the request more convincing.

How Can I Spot a Spoofed Account?

We tend to trust the people we are connected with, so the bad guys exploit this trust to phish for sensitive information, share malware, and even request money. It can be tough to tell if a social media account is authentic just by looking at it. Luckily, scammers like to make the first move. Keep the following in mind:

  • Be cautious of any links sent through social media. Especially those that are off-topic, unusual, or outlandish such as gossip videos, dramatic news articles, or fabulous prizes.
  • If you’re being asked for money—it’s probably a scam. If you feel the request may be legitimate, validate who you are speaking with and request proof of their claims. 
  • Don’t trust connection requests or a suspicious message from someone who you are already connected with. Before responding, try to contact the person through a different form of communication like phone, text, or email. 
  • If you suspect that an account is a spoof of a real account, alert the owner of the legitimate account and report the suspicious account to the platform’s customer service department. 

How Can I Prevent My Account from Being Spoofed?

Keep your friends, followers, and reputation safe by following these tips:

  • Keep your account private. While this doesn’t hide your information completely, it greatly reduces your chances of being spoofed.
  • Social media platforms have numerous security options that can easily be overlooked. Review and edit your privacy settings to be sure your information is kept private. 
  • Only accept connection requests from people you know and are comfortable sharing your posts with.
  • If you suspect that your account has been spoofed, contact the social media platform’s customer service department.

The KnowBe4 Security Team
KnowBe4.com

Stop, Look, and Think. Don’t be fooled.

August Tip

SECURITY HINTS & TIPS:

Top Five Meta Scams

Facebook, now known as Meta, has over a billion users. That’s a lot of people who check their accounts regularly! Cybercriminals take advantage of Meta’s popularity to try to trick users every day. Here are the top five scams that cybercriminals use on Meta:

  1. Who Viewed Your Profile: This scam tricks you by telling you that you can see who has viewed your profile. To start this scam, cybercriminals may send you a message that appears to come from a friend or may create a malicious advertisement that appears in your newsfeed. If you click a button in the message or advertisement, the cybercriminals will have access to your account.
  2. Fake Inappropriate Videos: In this type of scam, cybercriminals upload fake inappropriate videos of celebrities to gain your attention. These scams may appear as an advertisement or a post, and they may contain links to fake YouTube videos. If you click one of these links, you will see a message that claims your Adobe Flash Player is broken and that you need to update it. If you click the link, the cybercriminals will install dangerous malware on your device.
  3. Viral Videos: Viral videos are popular on several social media platforms. If you accidentally click a link for a fake viral video, you may see a message that asks you to update your video player. However, instead of updating your video player, a virus will be downloaded onto your device. To avoid clicking on fake video links, search Google for the video you would like to watch. If the search results don’t include a link to a YouTube video or a video from another legitimate website, the viral video may be a scam.
  4. Fake Profile Scam: Cybercriminals can steal names and pictures from a person’s real social media profiles and send connection requests to the person’s friends. Then, the cybercriminals scam the person’s friends by faking an emergency. Don’t fall for this trick! Be careful when you accept connection requests from someone you’re already friends with.
  5. Romance Scams: In romance scams, cybercriminals create a fake profile using a real person’s photos and stories. Then, the cybercriminals try to develop relationships with other social media users by sending the users posts, photos, and messages. The cybercriminals typically use romantic language, promise happiness, and eventually trick you into sharing personal information or money. To stay safe from these scams, don’t accept connection requests from people you don’t know in real life.

The KnowBe4 Security Team
KnowBe4.com

Stop, Look, and Think. Don’t be fooled.

 

July Tip

SECURITY HINTS & TIPS:

Keeping Your Passwords Squeaky Clean

Did you know that the average person uses the same three to seven passwords to log in to over 170 online accounts? In addition to being reused, these passwords are often weak and can be easily guessed by cybercriminals. If cybercriminals guess these passwords, they could access the majority of their victim’s online accounts. Even worse, the victim may not know that their password has been compromised for several months or years. To keep your passwords squeaky clean and safe from cybercriminals, follow the tips below:

Create Strong Passwords

Creating strong passwords helps prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your online accounts. Your passwords should be as long, complex, and random as possible. While many websites only require passwords to be eight characters long, we recommend making your password at least 12 characters long. You should also include a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password. To keep your accounts extra safe, you can use password phrases, or passphrases. However, when you create your password or passphrase, make sure that you don’t use any personal information that a cybercriminal could guess.

Don’t Reuse Passwords

Reusing passwords for your online accounts may be convenient, but it’s also risky. If you reuse passwords, you could be at risk of having multiple accounts compromised at once. If a cybercriminal guesses your password, they could access multiple accounts instead of just one account. Cybercriminals can also sell passwords or make them available online. Creating a unique password for each online account reduces the risk if one of your passwords is compromised.

Use a Password Manager

You’re probably wondering how you are supposed to remember long, complex passwords for all of your online accounts. The answer is a password manager. You can use password managers to securely store all of your passwords. Instead of having to remember passwords for every online account, you only have to remember one password for your password manager. In addition to storing your passwords, many password managers can also generate passwords for you based on specific criteria.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

You can also use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure your online accounts, if available. MFA requires multiple forms of authentication, such as a password and a code from your smartphone or a USB smart key. By requiring you to use multiple forms of authentication, cybercriminals will have a harder time gaining access to your account, even if your password is compromised.

Nobody wants cybercriminals to guess their passwords. To keep your passwords squeaky clean and safe, remember to create strong passwords, avoid reusing passwords, and use a password manager or MFA, if possible.

The KnowBe4 Security Team
KnowBe4.com

Stop, Look, and Think. Don’t be fooled.

June Tip

SECURITY HINTS & TIPS:

How to Keep Your Organization Safe in and Out of the Office

Whether you work from home or work in an office, the security of your organization must be one of your top priorities. While these two locations can feel quite different, you can use the same precautions no matter whether you’re working from the office or at home. Let’s look at some important cybersecurity rules and how they can be used both in the office and when you are working at home.

Only Use Secure Devices

  • Remember that your device is only as secure as the apps that are running on it. Never install an application or plugin without first checking with your IT department.
  • Only use your work devices for work. If you are using your personal computer for work, we recommend that you create a separate user account with a unique username and password.
  • In the office, network security is probably managed by your IT department. To help keep your home internet connection secure, use a complex password on your router. If your organization offers access to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), connect to that as well.

Protect Your Physical Workspace

  • In the office, watch out for piggybacking and tailgating. A piggybacker is someone who claims to be part of your organization and follows you into a secure area without the use of a badge or entry code. A tailgater is someone who waits for you to enter or exit a secure area and then sneaks in while the door is still open. Be suspicious of anyone who you do not recognize and don’t be afraid to ask for identification.
  • At home, find a private and comfortable workspace, where no one can view your screen while you work. You must keep all sensitive information out of sight for any unauthorized persons, including your partners, children, and friends.
  • Always lock your computer when you step away from your desk. If you leave your computer unlocked, anyone can use it to access sensitive data, steal your login credentials, or even install malware.

Think Before You Click

  • Never click a link or download an attachment from an email that you weren’t expecting. Even if the sender appears to be part of a legitimate organization, the email address could be spoofed.
  • When an email asks you to log in to an account or online service, navigate to that service through your browser. Never click the link in the email. Navigating to the site directly ensures that you’re logging in to the real website and not a look-alike site.
  • When in doubt, call the sender of the email to be sure the request, link, or attachment is legitimate. Do not call the phone number provided within the email as it may be a fake number.

The KnowBe4 Security Team
KnowBe4.com

Stop, Look, and Think. Don’t be fooled.

May Tip

SECURITY HINTS & TIPS:

Keeping Your Passwords Squeaky Clean

Did you know that the average person uses the same three to seven passwords to log in to over 170 online accounts? In addition to being reused, these passwords are often weak and can be easily guessed by cybercriminals. If cybercriminals guess these passwords, they could access the majority of their victim’s online accounts. Even worse, the victim may not know that their password has been compromised for several months or years. To keep your passwords squeaky clean and safe from cybercriminals, follow the tips below:

Create Strong Passwords

Creating strong passwords helps prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your online accounts. Your passwords should be as long, complex, and random as possible. While many websites only require passwords to be eight characters long, we recommend making your password at least 12 characters long. You should also include a combination of lowercase and uppercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password. To keep your accounts extra safe, you can use password phrases, or passphrases. However, when you create your password or passphrase, make sure that you don’t use any personal information that a cybercriminal could guess.

Don’t Reuse Passwords

Reusing passwords for your online accounts may be convenient, but it’s also risky. If you reuse passwords, you could be at risk of having multiple accounts compromised at once. If a cybercriminal guesses your password, they could access multiple accounts instead of just one account. Cybercriminals can also sell passwords or make them available online. Creating a unique password for each online account reduces the risk if one of your passwords is compromised.

Use a Password Manager

You’re probably wondering how you are supposed to remember long, complex passwords for all of your online accounts. The answer is a password manager. You can use password managers to securely store all of your passwords. Instead of having to remember passwords for every online account, you only have to remember one password for your password manager. In addition to storing your passwords, many password managers can also generate passwords for you based on specific criteria.

Use Multi-Factor Authentication

You can also use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure your online accounts, if available. MFA requires multiple forms of authentication, such as a password and a code from your smartphone or a USB smart key. By requiring you to use multiple forms of authentication, cybercriminals will have a harder time gaining access to your account, even if your password is compromised.

Nobody wants cybercriminals to guess their passwords. To keep your passwords squeaky clean and safe, remember to create strong passwords, avoid reusing passwords, and use a password manager or MFA, if possible.

The KnowBe4 Security Team
KnowBe4.com

Stop, Look, and Think. Don’t be fooled.

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