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Action Line: Are you cyberaware?

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Do you have a technology checklist? Are you cyberaware?
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Do you have a technology checklist? Are you cyberaware? Bay Area News Group

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Do you have a technology checklist? Are you cyberaware?

Businesses and consumers use all kinds of technology daily. Each piece of technology we all use comes with different risks and different ways to protect them. Here is a checklist that is designed to help you identify the technology in your business or your home that you need to protect.


▪ Use strong administrative and network access passwords

▪ Use strong encryption (WPA2 and AES encryption)

▪ Use separate WiFi for guests

▪ Physically secure WiFi equipment

▪ Get savvy about WiFi hotspots – Limit accessing sensitive information on public WiFi – Use VPN when using public WiFi

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

▪ Use strong passwords, authentication and encryption

▪ Limit access to those with valid business need

▪ Provide strong anti-virus protection to users

Network devices

Routers and switches

▪ Use a network-monitoring app to scan for unwanted users

▪ Restrict remote administrative management

▪ Log out after configuring

▪ Keep firmware updated

▪ Use strong passwords


▪ Default rules should block everything that is not specifically necessary for the business


▪ Scan USBs and other external devices for viruses and malware when connected

▪ Only pre-approved USBs allowed in company devices

▪ Educate users about USB risks


▪ Keep software up to date

▪ Require users to create strong passwords to access

▪ Prevent direct access to upload files to site

▪ Use scan tools to test your site’s security – many are free

▪ Register sites with similar spelling to yours

▪ Run most current versions of content management systems or require Web administrator/hosts to do the same


▪ When in doubt, throw it out: Educate employees about remaining alert to suspicious email

▪ Provide all email recipients with an option to opt off your distribution list

▪ Require long, strong and unique passwords on work accounts

▪ Get two steps ahead: Turn on two-factor authentication

Social networking

▪ Create page manager policies and roles

▪ Limit administrative access

▪ Require two-factor authentication

▪ Secure mobile devices

File sharing

▪ Restrict the locations to which work files containing sensitive information can be saved or copied

▪ If possible, use application-level encryption to protect the information in your files

▪ Use file-naming conventions that are less likely to disclose the types of information a file contains

▪ Monitor networks for sensitive information, either directly or by using a third-party service provider

Free services do not provide the legal protection appropriate for business

Point of Sale (POS)

▪ Make unique, strong and long passwords and change regularly

▪ Separate user and administrative accounts

▪ Keep a clean machine: Update hardware and software as needed

▪ Avoid Web browsing on POS terminals

▪ Use anti-virus protection


Secure disposal

▪ Be aware that many devices, not just PCs and phones, have memory. Know how to clean old data before disposing

Internet of Things (IoT)

Consumer protection and defense recommendations

▪ Isolate IoT devices on their own protected networks and change default passwords

▪ Know what information is being collected and how and where it’s being stored and protected

▪ Consider whether IoT devices are ideal for their intended purpose

▪ Purchase IoT devices from manufacturers with a track record of providing secure devices

▪ When available, update IoT devices with security patches


Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 4201 W. Shaw Ave., Suite 107, Fresno, CA 93722 or