What Should Cousin Eddie Do?
By now, I am sure many of you have watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation multiple times, shared quotes on Twitter and Facebook, and were even inspired to demonstrate everything you know about exterior illumination. Check out the actual trailer from the way-back-when machine in 1989. I think we can all apply a little John Hughes humor to the holiday season, and with that, the importance of practicing good information security. In the spirit of the season, I wanted to outline some thoughts on how to ensure you stay safe online and at the stores this holiday shopping season.
Our last discussion involving the Vacation crew, WWCD (What Would Clark Do?) showcased how Clark W. Griswold should take caution when leveraging the Internet for his summer vacation planning. We would be remiss if we didn’t revisit that theme and extend it from the summer vacation-planning season to the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Remember, Clark was advised to not click on random links from Cousin Eddie (Item #4). Let’s shift the focus of our holiday shopping to the infamous Cousin Eddie. Edward is the epitome of a challenging relative – and then some. If he actually had his own money to shop for the holidays, we would advise him to take care at both the register and online with these Top 5 must-dos. Follow these, and you can get your loved ones “something REALLY nice.”
- Tis the season to change passwords
- Change-out existing passwords with new strong passwords
- Leverage a password utility such as Password Manager
- Keep a real-time eye and ear on financial transactions
- Enable email/SMS alerts from your bank if possible
- Set a low value to see everything that comes out of your account and allow you to react quickly to fraud
- Protect your mobile devices
- Use security software to prevent against data-stealing malware that can get banking credentials and passwords
- Learn about and implement two-factor authentication
- Enable this for social media, email and anywhere else possible
- Leverage bio/fingerprint security such as Touch ID
- Install enterprise-class security software on PC/MAC
- Web, email and file reputation will reduce your chance of infection significantly. Don’t shop without it!
Don’t provide the gift that keeps on givin’ to the cyber criminals the whole year, and make sure they can’t swim in your systems. Take the precautions this holiday season to minimize your risk of attack and leakage of financial and personal information. Remember, we don’t have nine lives to deal with the protection and sanctity of our financial and personal information. Protect it like your future depends on it because it actually does. A few simple steps like the above can go a long way in keeping you safe this holiday season from cyber criminals but maybe not your Cousin Eddie! Happy Holidays, everyone!