2011 Digital Security Checklist – Have You Created One?

The concept of instant connectivity to the desired information, “anyone to anything to anywhere”, has lead an active pursuit of new wireless technologies and shaped our personal devices into a multi-communication medium, considered science fiction just a few decades ago. Our daily information is constantly streamed between our smart phones, notebooks and online services.

The new entanglement between wireless technologies and our daily lives has caused many personal boundaries to extend into unknown territory. In this connectivity era, in which our privacy is diluted into our personal needs, it is helpful to preserve a digital security checklist – a guide to an intelligent exposure of our “on air” thoughts and actions that we cordially share among ourselves.

Thankfully, new emerging technologies such as LTE and WiMAX provide faster and better wireless connections to our devices.  Our phones may be able to stream a video, a presentation or live-chat as easily as posting a message on Twitter or a Facebook page.  Social networking is taking full advantage of the speed and user friendly interfaces of many mobile based applications.  We also use our phones for online banking, shopping and purchasing and personal email accounts. This allows a window of opportunity for identity theft, if the device is lost and unlocked.  One method of prevention would be to lock the phone or the device (while placing an emergency number on the screensaver or the back of the case).

The digital security list of 2011 may expand the traditional guidelines to cover the new form of information storage called “cloud computing”. Google Documents and Amazon Kindle serve as perfect examples of an online “cloud” system.  This method decentralizes the access points to our information and instead places them into a variety of devices. For example, with the Kindle, we may read our purchased books directly from our tablets, smart phones, netbooks, or the dedicated Kindle devices themselves.

Although there are many benefits to storing content in the cloud, if the information is important, please consider having off-cloud storage as well. Also, particular interfaces may be forbidden for cloud-based storage, such as shared computers or certain smart phones — yet another reason to have off-cloud storage.

This checklist can also include simple points such as creating strong passwords for social media accounts, locking personal devices and even free remote control software such as LogMeIn or TeamViewer. Also, our password must be different for different sites, especially if we are using personal emails as our accounts. For example, if Facebook and Paypal login information share the same email account, do not use the same password.

As our digital security lists amplifies with new points every day, we must still remember the basics:

  • Create strong personal passwords
  • Use locked devices
  • Install remote access software that allows you to monitor your laptop if it is lost/stolen
  • Close social media services after each use on shared computers
  • Make sure you are educated in the privacy rules and settings of your various networks
  • Use more than one email address
  • Do not share accounts among services AND do not share passwords among accounts
  • Use antivirus software
  • Review online services before each use and always be cautious when sharing personal information online

We are thankful for the advances of the technology in the last decade and hopeful that it will continue to build momentum in the next decade as well. By applying a digital security checklist to our communication behaviors, we can enjoy all of these advancements more safely.

Oriana Kondakciu
Gemalto
www.gemalto.com

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