Thought Leadership

Cybersecurity Advice

Below is some advice to share with anyone and everyone you know. I expect online shopping to be much larger than in previous years, and staying safe online is important. Don’t be a victim!

  1. If an online website supports 2-factor authentication, turn it on. Major sites like PayPal, Amazon, Facebook support 2FA and so do many others.
  2. If a retailer supports chip and swipe, always choose chip. At restaurants, you should ask if they support chips and ask them to use it if they do. 97% of all stolen credit card data is swipe data, which matches the card number on the front of your card. The chip method is different and uses one time numbers that a retailer does not store.
  3. Online retailers do not support chips over the internet so you have to use your card number. You should use a major payment provider when given the option such as PayPal or other instead of providing your card number to online retailers where they might store it where it could be breached. The large payment providers invest a lot more in cybersecurity than small retailers and are considered a lot less risky.
  4. Never click on links in package delivery emails. Always hover over email links to see where they actually take you. On mobile devices you cannot hover over links, so wait until you get home to check them. A few hours of wait time is a small price to pay to protect yourself.
  5. Gift card emails are rarely legit. No one gives you something for nothing.
  6. Try to remember that hackers try to leverage emotional response to get you to click without thinking. Since we’re in an election year, these appeals will often involve stories about high profile candidates.
  7. Update your home computer software, including Office if you have it installed. If you have a version of Office 2010 or older, you need to update it.
  8. On home machines, use patchmyPC if you do not have another solution for keeping 3rd party software up to date. It is free for home users, updates over 300 programs, and even supports setting a schedule to auto-update.
  9. Update the drivers on your home machines. This includes video drivers as some older drivers have flaws that allow malformed images to hack your PC just by looking at the image/picture.
  10. Do not share too much on social media.
  11. Set up security on your social media apps/pages. For example, the world does not need to see everything so consider only allowing friends to see updates.

Daniel Weatherly
Director of Security Services
Mainstream Technologies Inc.

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