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ISU Information Security

Four tips toward a safer holiday

Friday, December 4, 2015 15:29

Santa_GlobeThe holidays are upon us. And while the hustle and bustle of the season may keep us busy, it’s a great time of year to check and double check your personal info security.

    Here are four security tips to help secure your holiday peace of mind:

  1. Enable multi-factor authentication on online accounts

    Many online services, email, social sites, or online gaming sites, have multi-factor authentication services available. Multi-factor authentication consists of some combination of 1) Something you know (a password), 2) Something you have (a key), and 3) something you are (like a fingerprint). So, when logging into a site you may be presented with a password prompt (factor 1) and then sent a numerical key as a text to your phone (factor 2), which will confirm you are the person requesting the login.

    Multi-factor authentication can assist in preventing scammers from hijacking your online accounts.

  2. Enable pin/password protection on your mobile devices.

    With all of the holiday rushing about, it’s easy to lose track of smaller things, like a cell phone. If your phone is lost or stolen, a pin or password can provide some degree of protection from having personal information stolen. Check with the manufacturers documentation for instructions on enabling pin/passwords.

  3. Never reuse passwords.

    Keep the tokens you use to authenticate to services seperate and nonrelated. When setting up passwords and the recovery methods be aware of the security questions you choose and avoid those that could have easily verifiable information (ie “What is your mother’s maiden name”). If you’re worried about having to remember a large roster of passwords, there are several password-keeper type applications available. Just be sure the applicatin you use encrypts the data when not in use.

  4. Back up your valuble data.

    Protect your data from being lost, so even when disaster strikes, you know you can eventually recoverthat important information. Large external harddrives are getting cheaper every year, and the investment is well worth it. Applications for running consistant timely backups are readily available through an internet search. If you decide to back up online, be sure the service offers encryption as a feature, so the data is protected even if the service is compromised.

We will continue our holiday tips next time with advice on protecting yourself against scams and the grinches that would try to ruin your holiday.