Is Your Cyber Hygiene Suffering from a Candy Bar Security Model?
Is there something "phishy" happening in your home or small business network? Do your new computers run a little slower than they used to, even after such a short time of ownership? Are there mysterious windows that pop up from time to time that you did not initiate while browsing your favorite sites? If any of this sounds familiar, perhaps it’s time to take a look at your cyber hygiene. Cyber hygiene is a term used to describe the practices or steps taken to maintain the health and security of one’s computing resources. When addressing cyber hygiene, one might begin by first considering a multi-layered security approach and what that might look like for their respective environment.
Much like a castle protects itself with a draw bridge, moat (sometimes with alligators), gate with guards, tall impenetrable walls, towers, cannons, etc. Our digital world operates in a similar fashion, with multiple layers of security for protection. Should one of these security layers become compromised, all is not lost as another security layer is standing in the wings to protect you, often alerting you to something out of the ordinary so that you may react appropriately. No single layer of security can thwart a would-be hacker, however having multiple layers makes their objective much harder while hopefully buying you more time to defend against or even catch them in the act before any real damage is done.
When improving upon your cyber hygiene you’ll want to refrain as best you can from having a “candy bar” security posture. It may sound tasty, but in reality, it means you have put most of your time, money, and energy into securing a strong perimeter – or the crunchy outside. Unfortunately, this can leave the inside (where the crown jewels are kept) quite vulnerable or insecure, typically as a result of a lack of security layers. This “soft” inside can allow a bad actor to pivot rather easily once they have gotten through the strong perimeter, providing tremendous opportunity for them to obtain unauthorized access to your devices and/or exfiltrate sensitive data in the process.
This candy bar model can be found all too often in the home. Home consumers routinely put too much stock in their Internet service provider with the expectation that the router/firewall provided as a part of their standard service will protect them. Don’t fall victim to this approach and let your network become a Payday for a bad actor looking to enjoy a tasty snack!
In our next installment we’ll go into greater detail on what a layered security model should look like for your personal and/or small to medium size computing environment. It can only take just a handful of tweaks in your computing space, and for not a lot of money, for you to significantly improve your cyber hygiene while ultimately obtaining greater peace of mind when navigating in cyberspace.