Monday, April 21, 2014

Software Security is not one-stop shop!

Security is not one-stop shop and you get everything. It’s not about you install a product and forget everything about keeping every things secure. Here are numerous topics around security that you should be aware of to keep up to security.

Anti-Virus and Firewall: This is the most common term people think of security. It’s still valid, however it’s not everything. All of us now do things on internet and there has many more things to take care. You still need to worry about what you download/install or connect your friends pen-drive to your machine. Security products does great job here.

Web security: Internet is full of good and bad sites. You need to ensure either not to land on those or be careful about those. Good browser plugins do help in to give us rating and categorization. You need to keep an eye and ensure not land-up into unwanted sites.  Security products does great job here. Here is good read on it.

Social networking: This has become part of our lives now. You need to ensure whom you add as friend, what information you share with people, what photos/status you post. Social network is your identity to world and that can be used against you by anyone.

Privacy: Host of apps exposes your data/identity to world. Your Facebook/Whatsapp/Google+ info. Apps can access your GPS location and time. Apps have access to what you do on internet and songs you listen too. Google has access to all your info - your search, contacts, docs and much more. You data/identity can easy be exposed to embarrass you. This is entirely in your hands.

Email Spam: You share your email and there you go with flood of emails all around the world. Security products and email providers do great job here. You still need to improve on this by marking emails spam if you see one. Phishing is common security issue that people fall - ensuring you validate who sent you email and review authenticity

PIN/Password: This is gateway to your account and all your data. It’s of utmost importance how you manage them and how strong your passwords are. Same password for multiple accounts is common problem. Two factor authentication is way to go ahead. Learn best practices around your passwords. Security products do come in handy to help you. However still in your hands to ensure end-to-end protection. Here is good read on two-factor authentication.

Mobile/device Theft:  Mobile theft is on rise and governments are working on laws to help people. You still need to ensure you are prepared for it and follow best practices around it. Here is good read on it to be prepared.

Wireless security: Wi-Fi & blue-tooth is great however equally vulnerable. Which Wi-Fi networks you connect to, how secure your Wi-Fi network connection is? It matters as all your data goes through Wi-Fi and can be easily accessible to anyone on around you. Bluetooth exposes similar security issues and you need to enable/disable as you need to keep yourself secure.

Parental control: Kids are exposed to internet at early age and huge content on internet is just a click away. You need to setup good parental control products and keep an eye on internet usage to ensure kids are not exposed to bad content or more. Security products do come in handy. Here is good read on it.

Data backup: Photos/Videos and your data from various devices needs to be backed up to avoid losing them due to hard-disk failure. Hard disk/Pen-drives has life up to 5 years and can stop working all of sudden. Also with high resolution photos/videos with your latest phone/camera you need more space. You need to ensure your data is backed up from all devices and maintain securely as it’s your personal and private. There are multiple vendors around and you need to manage it well.

Operating System and browser updates: Bug fixes, Security fixes, performance fixes or new functionality and more reasons to keep your operating system and other apps up-to-date. Don’t turn off updates even though it’s annoying at times.

Mobile apps and permissions: Contacts/photos/videos/songs/location/messages/emails and more data resides in your mobile and everything is exposed to apps you install with permissions you grant to them. You need to keep eye on what you are installing and what all it needs to access. Any app with access for more than it needs is point of concern. Security apps do come in handy here; base rule still is to keep your apps under control to avoid exposing private-data/location/network to world.

Home network and devices connected: More and more network devices (TV/XBOX/Tablets/Phones/Laptops/Setup-box/etc.) are in home than it used to be five years back. Each of them has potential to run apps and data you store/share in your home network. You Wi-Fi router is one point of contact to setup and secure all. There is no good security solution to manage them all and it’s in your hand to ensure security.

Phone number and calls: Similar to your email address, your phone number is also exposed to world and it would be hardly anyone not getting unwanted calls or messages. There are apps to block calls/SMS and do-not-call registry to secure. There are good practices around this to follow.

Surely more things will come-up as technology grows up. There will be more things to take care from security point moving ahead; technology will surely catch-up and assist you along the way. Do keep reading and follow best practices on security to stay ahead.

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