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Traveling Securely

Summer is finally here, and for many of us, that means it’s time to get away! It’s not surprising that many cybercriminals target travelers. Luckily, with a little care, it’s possible to protect yourself and avoid potential problems.

Sharing isn’t always caring:
     Avoid publicly posting details of where and when you’ll be traveling. When you reveal these specifics, you’re providing information that could be used by criminals to target your home or your family while you’re gone. 
     Sending private posts and photos during your vacation to family and friends is OK, but if you post them publicly, you increase the risk of someone using that information for malicious activities. Also, ensure your children and friends understand the risks associated with posting your vacation plans.

Accessing public computers and Wi-Fi:
     Don’t use public computers and open wireless networks for sensitive online transactions. Wi-Fi® spots in airports, hotels, coffee shops and other public places can be convenient; however, they’re often unsecure and can leave you at risk. 
     If you’re accessing the internet through an unsecured network, you should be aware malicious individuals might be able to eavesdrop on your connection. This could allow them to steal your financial information, login credentials or other sensitive information. Any public Wi-Fi should be considered “unsecure.” 
     Consider turning off features on your computer or mobile device that allow them to automatically connect to Wi-Fi and other services such as social media websites.
     Also, consider using a cellular 3G / 4G connection as a hotspot, which is generally safer than an open Wi-Fi connection. If you do connect through your hotel’s Wi-Fi, verify the name of the Wi-Fi hotspot with a hotel staff member.

Know the law:
      Keep in mind that if you’re traveling abroad, different countries have different laws, which may allow government employees or law enforcement full access to your device without your knowledge or permission. It’s also important to know the local laws regarding online behavior, as some online behaviors, such as posting disparaging comments or pictures of illegal activity on social media websites, can be illegal.

Recommendations: Below are tips to protect your important information.

1. Use discretion when posting information online. Consider keeping your social media pages private, so only authorized individuals can visit.

2. Password protect your devices so if they’re lost or stolen, the information is protected. Also, enable device tracking.

3. Make sure your laptop and other mobile devices have the latest patches installed. Your software vendor should notify you whenever an update is available. Set your devices to automatically update.

4. Use of security software is a necessity. Some programs can also locate a missing or stolen phone, tablet or other similar device. Some devices can even back up and remotely wipe all data from them, if reported stolen.

5. Make sure you have anti-virus software installed, updated and running.

6. Don’t access sensitive accounts (for example: financial institutions, credit cards, etc.) or conduct sensitive transactions over public networks, including hotel and airport Wi-Fi and business centers or cafes. Whenever possible, use wired connections instead of Bluetooth® or Wi-Fi connections.

7. Don’t plug USB cables into public charging stations. Only connect USB-powered devices using the intended AC power adapter.

Brought to you by:  Center for Internet Security - "STOP-THINK-CONNECT"

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Cybersecurity Tips

From Wipfli CPAs and Consultants

Tip #1

Use Strong Passphrases

Passwords are naturally subject to many different attacks. Shared password conventions can increase the likelihood of passwords being guessed. Shorter passwords of dictionary words with few or predictable numbers (e.g., the year) and not using all types of complexity are easily cracked with freely available tools and inexpensive graphics cards.

What can you do?

Avoid your username, the same password with just a different digit, seasons, and other easily guessable aspects to your password. Instead, use a passphrase. A passphrase is a sentence that you can easily remember. The longer your passphrase, the stronger it is.
Making your passphrase strong can limit the success of humans and/or computers in guessing your passphrase. Using only simple sentences is becoming less effective with the decreasing cost of consumer graphics cards, which allow  approximately 8,810,000 NTLMv2-encrypted password hashes (how domain user’s passwords are stored in Active Directory) to be attempted each second.

How to make a strong passphrase

Start with a normal phrase that means something to only you so you can remember it. Do not use common quotes from books or other cultural artifacts. Write it down, including spaces.

Super best phrase of pass that only I can remember

Add capitalization in odd places.

SupEr best pHrase of paSs that Only I caN remember

Add numbers.

SupEr7best90 pH32rase of paSs th00at Only I c4aN rem9ember

Add special characters ( !#$)(*&%<>?”:{}|][,./;’ @).

SupE$r7best90 pH32&rase” of paSs: th00at O,nly I c4aN re;m9ember

That looks too hard for me to remember so I’ll simplify.

SupE$r best90 paSs:

I’ll type it into a window that will not save my work but will allow me to read what I have typed a few times to engage muscle memory.

SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:
SupE$r best90 paSs:

Now that I’ve typed it a few times, I have an idea of how I usually mess up typing the passphrase, which I use as part of my memory of how to type out the passphrase. Destroy the written copy of this password-generation process that we started with. Now you have a strong passphrase that you can remember.

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