Category Archives: Cybersecurity

Secure Holiday Shopping: Tips on How to Stay Safe

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: November 27, 2017

secure holiday shopping

Image: https://www.invespcro.com/blog/global-online-retail-spending-statistics-and-trends/

There’s no doubt you’ll be doing some, if not all, of your holiday shopping online this year. While most of us do it, statistics show that only 29% of us have privacy concerns. You may be in the holiday spirit, but there are others who come out during this season looking to hack and steal identities. Reports from 2016 show that $16 billion was stolen from about 15 million U.S. consumers. Exercise caution during your shopping because as we all know, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Passwords, passwords, passwords
Even though it might be easier to reuse the same password for almost every account, change this habit! Each time you create a password it should be unique, complicated, and only used for one account. Use a mix of upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. It’s also a good idea to completely overhaul your current passwords before we’re fully in the swing of the holidays.

Don’t save your information
Many websites boast a faster, hassle-free checkout if you simply have them save your credit card information. This may be tempting, but just don’t do it. You lose control of your information when a third party site saves it for you. Take the extra two minutes to find your card and enter in its information when confirming an online purchase.

Finalize purchases at home
Sure, it can be a blast to sit at Starbucks and scroll through gift ideas while you enjoy your beverage. Just make sure you don’t actually purchase anything while using public wifi. Not many of us have access to a VPN, so it’s safer to brainstorm your ideas while in a public space, but don’t do any purchasing until you’re home. Even then, double check that your URL reads https:// and make sure there is a padlock in the address bar. If you don’t see either of these, you’ll want to cancel that order and try again somewhere else.

Don’t follow email links
Countless scams are conducted via email. If there’s a great deal being advertised, then it should be visible on the company’s website. Avoid following links, shortened bitly links, or coupon codes, especially if you see it on social media first.

Stay up-to-date on all your accounts
You should consistently monitor your bank accounts all year round, but be extra diligent during the holidays. Monitor the purchases you’ve made and cross reference your receipts to ensure everything lines up. Use a credit card to make online purchases; this way, the money is not withdrawn directly from your account. If there is a purchase that doesn’t look familiar, contact your bank immediately to rectify the situation.

Use websites you trust
Just as you would be weary of a brick and mortar store if something felt a bit off, exercise this same caution online. If you can, stick with trusted, big-name stores like Amazon. Many times the apps from places like these have an extra layer of security, so consider using them to make purchases if you have to while in public.

We wish you didn’t have to worry about something as negative as identity theft during your holiday shopping, but unfortunately it’s a real threat. Use caution and be smart about any online purchases, and this season will pass by smoothly!

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Considering Cybersecurity in Project Design

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: October 17, 2015

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/freepress/7419840396

Image courtesy of https://www.flickr.com/photos/freepress/7419840396

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and we wanted to discuss this topic on the blog today to make this national issue something you and your business should be monitoring…right down to security issues in your project designs.

Cyberattacks seem to be on the rise in recent years and businesses are trying to ramp up their defense efforts. The annual cost of cybercrime globally is over $100 billion and by 2017 it’s expected to be $120 billion. As project manager, it’s becoming more necessary than ever to ensure the safety of your plans. If you don’t already, now is the time to begin incorporating data security into your project planning process along with setting aside time to have discussions with your team.

What needs protected?

It’s easy to view your systems with a mindset geared toward user-friendliness, but what about user-unfriendliness? Do you look at your data through the lens of someone with malicious intent? What parts of your project would be most affected if you were to experience a data breach? Identifying these risks can help you determine where to focus your security efforts.

Does your team have someone who can devote all of his/her time to strengthening the protection of your data? It can be expensive to hire an expert, but depending on the importance of your project or the sensitivity of the data, it may be necessary to account for this role in the budget.

Since not sure? As yourself this: Is the risk of losing your data greater than the cost of hiring experts? If so, sit down with your client or your organization to determine what is the best course of action for keeping your information safeguarded.

Do your research no matter how large or small your organization!

Hackers are the new con-artists who view this crime as a profession and oftentimes, something to brag about. Follow stories of other security breaches as a way to learn from other organizations’ mistakes. Although larger corporations, and even the government, have made headlines because of cyberattacks this doesn’t mean that you are safer as a small to medium sized business.

Don’t view security as an add-on step toward the end of the project. It should be integrated throughout the entire process and given the proper amount of time and attention. Constantly test your projects and review what is and isn’t working.

Want to read more on cybersecurity? The Project Management Institute and PM Times both have articles with helpful information on this topic.

Plus, you owe it to yourself during National Cyber-Security Month to think about other areas of your daily life that might be at risk: sdfghsfdghfsghsfghsf
How to protect your smartphone data
How to shop online safely

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Smartphone Users: How to Protect Your Data

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: March 31, 2014

protect your data

Photo credit: Getty Images

As a tech savvy business professional, you more than likely use your smartphone for a number of business matters—from client to company data. Unfortunately, if you are not careful, you could be compromising a great deal of sensitive information.

To reduce the chances of this devastating issue, it is important to play it safe. It’s essential to protect your data—but how? Let’s take a look at a few ways to keep information on lock…

#1: Password Protection. This may seem like the most obvious way, but you would be surprised by how many individuals do not lock their phone with a password. It may seem like an extra step (and nuisance) to unlock your phone every time. Fortunately, there are ways to minimize this annoyance, such as changing the setting to auto lock after 5 minutes of inactivity. Without a lock, sensitive data may be at the mercy of just about anyone—especially if you misplace your device. Lock it up!

#2: Data Back Up. Instead of assuming “that will not happen to me,” it is best to back up your data as often as possible. Whether you choose to use iCloud, Dropbox, or even Google Drive, these apps will make sure that your data is being stored to the cloud.

#3: Download Approved Apps Only. Much like you would avoid unrecognizable downloads to your computer, it is important to understand what you are downloading to your phone. You should only download approved apps from a qualified app store (Google or iPhone.) If you choose to download an unapproved app, you could expose your phone to harmful malware. This could lead to the loss of data, whether stolen or corrupted.

What do you do to protect sensitive data on your smartphone? We want to hear your tips and tricks! Do not hesitate to tweet us or simply comment back. We’re looking forward to it!

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5 Steps for Smart and Safe Online Shopping

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: October 31, 2013

Safe Online Shopping Tips

Photo credit: http://identitysafe.norton.com/

Make sure you’re using safe online shopping habits this holiday season.  With our hectic schedules, it can be daunting to find the time for holiday shopping, and we often rush to make quick purchases. But we have to be careful – it’s easy, but not as simple as just finding and buying, and the seeming ease of online shopping can get us into trouble that is much trickier to get out of down the line.

Before we begin our online shopping sprees this season, there are some security measures we need to keep in mind.  Here are five tips from Bridge to ensure that your valuable personal information stays safe during the holidays, and always!

1) Use your OWN computer.

Seems obvious, but countless instances of online fraud stem from people using public computers and leaving their credit card information accessible and unprotected.  Whether you want to buy the latest Samsung or Apple product or the last of that olive green yarn for your sweater-knitting traditions, you should always use your own computer or that of someone you trust.

2) Shop on FAMILIAR sites.

Only shop through sites that are trustworthy and reliable. If a site seems questionable, save your future self the hassle, and try one that’s better-known and reputable. Never take chances with your credit card information!

3) That LOCK is key.

When making online purchases, make sure the site features a secure sockets layer.  An easy way to tell is to check to see if the URL reads https://, not just http://.  There will also be an image of a padlock in the address bar.  If you don’t see either, we recommend you try another site before entering any personal info.

4) Be mindful of SHARING INFORMATION.

Think about what the site is asking for in terms of your personal data before you can make a purchase.  You should only need to provide basic information when online shopping.  Never, ever, release your social security number – it has nothing to do with that holiday gift you’d like to purchase, and it’s more than likely a scam!

5) CHECK your bank statements.

Always review your bank statements prior to the end of the month. Cross reference your receipts and make sure all of the numbers and transactions line up.  You can never be too careful when it comes to your personal cyber security.

The holidays are just around the corner.  You’re making a list and checking it twice – so why not be just as prudent and prepared when shopping online?  The season will be much merrier the less you have to worry about the safety of your online shopping excursions.

Those perfect holiday gifts are just a hop, skip, and a click away!  No lines or wait; no traffic, no crowds – when you’re a safe online shopper, holiday deals abound!

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