Friday, April 26, 2013

Protect Your Department From Hackers

As a government agency your department is at an excessively large risk to the damage that can be caused byRedbull quickly typing random jargon on their keyboard; most hacks actually come in a much more discreet form, viruses.
hackers.  By now you've probably read, or at least browsed the headline, of an article or two about foreign governments and radical groups attempting to gain access to various American infrastructures to either cripple their systems or gather sensitive information.  It's not quite as dramatic as the movies make it seem, with computer obsessed techies chugging

It is important that your department take the appropriate steps to deter the chance of your department falling vulnerable to their attacks.  There are a few simple steps you can take to keep your department safe.

  1. Secure Your Network:  You need to do this at home and at your department!  Having an unsecured wireless network is the equivalent of leaving your front door wide open when you aren't home...it's an easy way for criminals to just walk right in unnoticed!  Locating an unsecured network can be done by looking for wifi on a smartphone or driving around with a laptop.  Once they find one, it's not too difficult to access the information you have on any computer on your network.  All of this can be prevented simply by applying a password to your network!  If you don't know how, call your internet provider or your local computer dealer or repair service to come out and help you secure it!
  2. Passwords: There are two major password recommendations for your safety (for these passwords we are referring to opening your computer, accessing your online banking, or your email account).  The first is to have a strong password, which can be created by using a combination of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols in every password.  The second is a bit more of a hassle, but it is recommended that you change your password around every 90 days.
  3. Be Cautious of Email:  Obviously all email is not bad.  But if an email address, name, or subject line seems suspicious, do yourself a favor and just delete it.  Don't even open it first!  Just put it straight in the trash!  If you do open all of your emails, be extra cautious with attachments.  If you aren't expecting a .zip file from someone, chances are it's a pretty bad idea to open it.  While we're at it, the "you have to see this video/photo/article/etc" emails are generally also virus laden. 
If you'd like more tips, check out A Hacker's Tips To Stay Safe Online.  Who better to give tips than a reformed security-breaching hacker?

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