MADISON, Wis. -- Not that long ago, all we had to worry about was the security on our desktop computers. Laptops, cellphones, tablets, even our cars and refrigerators could be susceptible to cybersecurity attacks.
“Securing all of these devices in the vast Internet ecosystem is a challenge,” said Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, Wisconsin’s adjutant general and Homeland Security advisor. “The more connected we become, the more interdependent we will be on one another and the country’s basic infrastructure which keeps the lights on and the water running and enables Internet access.”
Let’s start with cellphones and tablets. Here are some basic questions to consider:
• Screenlock: Do you have a screenlock on their mobile device? If so, is it a strong, unique lock? This is one of the most important steps to take to protect your if it is lost, stolen or hacked.
• Updated: What is the version of the mobile device operating system — is it the latest one? It is very important to update your devices.
• Apps: Where are downloading your apps from a trusted source? You should also download apps that have been around for a while, with large number of downloads with a majority of positive reviews.
• Privacy: Do you have geotracking enabled on their devices. In other words, are your apps track your activity? Read the permissions on apps before clicking “OK.”
• Disposal: What do you do with your old devices after they buy a new one? Everyone needs to understand the importance of disposing of old devices in a safe and secure manner. Performing a backup first, then a factory reset is a good way to go.
“Securing all of these devices in the vast Internet ecosystem is a tremendous challenge,” said retired Lt. Col. Gerald Eastman, the public-private partnership development coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs. “The more connected we become, the more interdependent we will be on one another and the country’s basic infrastructure, which keeps the lights on and the water running and enables Internet access.”
What about “The Internet of Things?” We are increasingly investing in gadgets like security cameras, smart thermostats, and even refrigerators that talk to us. In many cases, weak security on the network you use or the devices themselves can leave holes for hackers to climb through. Here are some tips:
• Router Password: For starters, make sure your home network router is using a strong password, not the default one it came with out of the box.
• Smart Device Password: Change the default password on your smart device, using a different password for each.
• Disable Universal Plug and Play Feature: The Department of Homeland Security recommends disabling the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) feature on your router and devices. This feature was designed to make connected devices to your network easier, but it could also allow malware onto your network.
• Consider Separate Networks: You may want to create a separate network just for your smart devices to keep them isolated from the computers on your main network.
This October, ReadyWisconsin is highlighting efforts to keep everyone in Wisconsin safe from cybercrime. Visit https://readywisconsin.wi.gov for more information. You can also follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.