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Are you and your company ready for a cyberattack or data breach?

 - 
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Kind of like the once elusive sound of a car alarm in a packed parking lot in the 80s to the flooded number of parked cars with car alarms today, as is the discussion of cyberattacks, cybercrimes, data breaches and such. 

I remember being around seven years old and in our local K-Mart parking lot with my mom, when a sound emerged from somewhere among the parked cars. That’s the first time I had ever heard a car alarm. Today, a car alarm is an annoyance at best and not really “heard” by many people anymore. 

Likening that to the cyber world, I remember becoming so intrigued with cybersecurity, cyberattacks, cybercrimes and such about 10 years ago, when I became heavily involved in social media. It was something exciting and different than had ever been seen before in true crime stories that intrigue and whet the public’s palates. Fast-forward to today, and it’s become common-place to see these types of stories throughout all aspects of media reporting — online articles and blogs; social media platforms; TV news stories; documentaries; radio reporting; etc., so much so, that people are already or becoming numb to it, passing it off as just “one of those things we have to deal with in life.” However, especially as a security professional, cyberattacks and data breaches not only shouldn’t be taken lightly, they absolutely cannot be, as they have literally ruined business and people. So, I ask you: “Are you ready and prepared?” 

Sad to say, but if you’re like the majority of the over 800 CISOs and other senior executives across North America, Europe and Asia, surveyed (commissioned by FireEye and delivered by Kantar, an independent market research organization), the answer is unfortunately, “no.” The study found that: 

  • 51 percent of surveyed organizations don’t believe they are ready or would respond appropriately to a cyberattack or data breach; 
  • 29 percent of these organizations with response plans in place haven’t tested or updated them in the last 12 months or more; and
  • 76 percent of the organizations plan to increase their cyber security budget in 2020. 

The survey also highlighted varying global viewpoints. In Asia, Japan plans to prioritize detection capabilities in 2020 and expresses concerns regarding cloud security, while Korea believes nation states are the most likely source of cyberattacks. The U.S. is leading the transition to cloud; Germany is concerned about cloud security and France believes employee training to be a top protection measure. 

I urge you, don’t become a parked car in a sea of cyberattacks and data breaches with your alarm going off and people just walking by like nothing is wrong. Prepare by creating a plan and know/understand exactly how to execute that plan before, during and after a cyberattack or data breach. This is a must. Think about it – it can’t be underestimated just how smart cybercriminals really are; it’s all they focus on day in and day out. They are experts at their craft and we must know how to prevent as must as possible and reciprocate, when necessary, to stay safe.

Industry service trip helps families in need

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

One of the more heartwarming aspects of reporting on security is seeing how much the industry gives back, in a myriad of ways, through individual and company efforts, and through work with organizations like Mission 500, the non-profit charity supported by the security industry and dedicated to serving the needs of children and communities in crisis.

Mission 500 recently completed its fourth service trip within the United States, making this the second trip to Puerto Rico to assist families still struggling from the devastating damage caused by Hurricane Maria.

“Unless you have spent time in these communities, it’s hard to understand the enormous impact of these tangible, real actions on the families we help,” George Fletcher, Mission 500 advisory board member, said in the announcement. “We added an 8 by 8 foot addition and a full bathroom to one home, for example. The main breadwinner of that family has been diagnosed with stomach cancer, and will no longer have to use the detached outhouse that the family had been living with. Maybe the best thing about a program like this is that both the families we help and the industry volunteers benefit. Bonding, lifelong friendships, and touching families’ hearts – these intangibles also deliver life-changing impacts.”

Thirty Mission 500 volunteers lent their physical support along with financial assistance to help assist two families this year. One house was essentially rebuilt from the foundation up by reinforcing unstable flooring, installing new siding and a new roof. The second house received a small addition and a new bathroom that replaced an old outhouse. One house received a new washing machine, and the other received a new refrigerator. The team also provided new doors for bedrooms, bedsheets and carpet to provide improved living conditions for the families.

Tom Nolan, director of Strategic Partnerships, Mission 500 said that this year’s Mission 500 service trip was “truly amazing. Every person on the team brought their unique viewpoint and skillset and was ready to help. Even though this particular group had never worked as a unit before, the team dynamic was so unique and special — and we worked so well together — that we were able to accomplish much more than any one of us had imagined possible.”

Volunteer support came from representatives of 11 companies, including ADS Security, Altronix, Axis, Brinks, Core Logics, Five Alarm Security, Galaxy Systems, Gould Alarm Communications, Hikvision, Milestone, Resideo Pro Security and WeSuite.

“We are excited about how the Service Trip brings together security industry professionals who care about helping others,” said Jason Lutz, Industry Affairs at Resideo Pro Security. “The Resideo partners are big supporters in their local communities, and we were happy to make an even bigger impact on this trip by uniting with the extended team.”

Ronnie Pennington, National Sales Engineer at Altronix, added, “The service trip was beyond all expectations. Thirty volunteers started this journey as strangers and left as a family with a bond that will last a lifetime. Our collective ability to provide hands-on assistance to two families in need was both rewarding and very humbling. It is a life experience I urge others to consider should the opportunity present itself.”

To donate or volunteer for this worthy cause to help American families in need, please visit https://www.mission500.org/ or contact Tom Nolan at [email protected], or call 516-903-7291.

The importance of customer satisfaction and how to increase it

 - 
Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Yesterday’s J.D. Power 2019 Home Security Satisfaction Study that includes both professionally (pro) installed and DIY home security systems got me to thinking about the importance of customer satisfaction as it pertains to the security industry. 

The study, based on responses from 5,289 customers, fielded during July and August of 2019, measured customer satisfaction with home security based on the following: billing and payment; customer service; price; professional monitoring; purchase and installation; and quality of the system. 

In the pro installed category, Brinks Home Security ranked highest in customer satisfaction with a score of 858, followed by ADT, scoring 847. The DIY category ranked Ring Alarm highest, with a score of 904, while SimpliSafe was a close second, with a score of 900. 

Other key findings include: 

  • Desire to upgrade: the most common reason customers in pro and DIY install start shopping for a home security system. Pro install customers were spurred to act by special discounts and bundled packages; DIY install customers are motivated by peace-of-mind and protecting their property. 
  • Brand reputation and pricing: Pro install customers are mostly driven by brand reputation while DIY install customers lean more on price in their decision-making process. 
  • DIY install customers are more satisfied than pro install customers: DIYers are especially satisfied with pricing and are more likely to have additional security-related products beyond control panels, keypads, hubs and alarm sensors, such as video doorbells, exterior cameras and alarm sirens. It is critical to provide pricing options that meet customers’ needs and are easily understood by consumers.

In response to this study, I did some research, and while I think there will always be a part of the population who prefers DIY home security systems, there are three key actions home security professionals can take to retain customers, gain new ones and win-over some of the DIY segment of the industry.

Create extraordinary customer experiences. 

  • Each customer is unique, so it’s necessary to use different tactics to delight them. In other words, consumers want a customized experience. 
  • Treat each as a person, rather than a persona; work hard to understand how each customer feels; and appreciate their needs. 
  • Timeliness matters and most customers expect to find whatever they need — pricing, inventory, etc. — from a company in three clicks or less. To solve complex issues, most consumers expect to speak to one person.
  • Use multiple channels to engage with customers and potential customers including email, in-person, phone, online chat/live support, mobile apps, online portals, online knowledge bases, messenger apps, online forms, social media, text messaging, online communities and voice assistants. 

Be innovative.

  • Embrace and become “the expert” in new technologies so you can show savvy consumers you are up-to-date and teach other consumers who may be behind the curve. (Think artificial intelligence and machine learning). 
  • Connectivity is a major trend in security and offering consumers the opportunity to connect their devices — security systems, smart speakers, fitness trackers, smart thermostats, and more — is key. 

Trust is super important. 

  • Honesty is the best policy when earning customer trust. Through the eyes of a consumer, security, reliability, transparency, ethics and authenticity all equal trust.
  • Make sure strong security controls are in play to protect customer data. 
  • Show consumers that their data is being used legitimately.

 

Here’s a few other resources to help you, the pro installer, increase customer satisfaction: 

 

Recent ADT and Alarm.com deals making waves

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Recent mega deals — Alarm.com acquiring OpenEye and ADT bringing on I-View Now — couldn’t be more timely as this month’s News Poll looks at the topic of M&A, which seems to be as active as ever with big deals hitting what seems like weekly.

These two deals, which happened within the same week, are making waves in both the residential and commercial markets.

SSN caught up with John Mack, executive vice president and co-head of Investment Banking with Imperial Capital, which represented OpenEye in the Alarm.com deal, who said that the deal makes a lot of sense for Alarm.com.

“Alarm.com has a lot of exposure to the residential alarm business, and while there still is good potential there, to try and continue to show 20- to 25-percent year-over-year growth, diversifying into other channels that are going to show strong performance is going to be important,” Mack said. “Commercial is probably the biggest and most obvious of the areas to move into and this deal is an important enabler for commercial, where video and related information is increasingly critical to success in that sector.”

He continued: “They’ve got the intrusion piece; they have been developing the access control piece; and this OpenEye deal gives them the cloud-managed video piece, so they kind of have the triple play, as well as all of the accouterments that you can add to the triple play, like video analytics, where they have some of the leading engineers and also in software, data analysis and cloud hosting, so they are a pretty formidable competitor.” 

Mack pointed out that this deal is also indicative of the interest there is in cloud and managed services, noting that there is strong M&A activity in this area.

Looking at the ADT deal for I-View Now, George De Marco, ESX chairman/managing partner, DECO Ventures LLC, noted on the phone and in his blog that alarm verification technology, like I-View Now’s, propels monitoring services to the next level.

“With the recent announcement of ADT’s purchase of I-View Now’s technology, this move may finally propel the industry to aggressively adopt and adapt next-gen solutions that use sensors, images and data to effectively determine the threat level from an intrusion or fire alarm activation,” De Marco said. “False alarm dispatches may finally become a thing of the past.”

False alarm dispatches have plagued first responders since the dawn of the alarm industry, he noted. “Always a contention, the common denominator with police departments is that — 98 percent of all dispatched alarms are false and draw valuable resources away from other police priorities.”

Mack noted that Larry Folsom introduced video verification technology that is “critical to the residential alarm business. The professional residential alarm business needs to be much more focused on verification and reducing false alarms and they have been talking about it for years in the industry. This is the technology to kind of make that real and to be serious about solving this problem. This technology is the wave of the future and ADT wants to be out in front and say that it is the point of differentiation for buying an ADT system.”

Top 10 security megatrends revealed

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Once again this year, the folks at the Security Industry Association (SIA) — including Don Erickson, Scott Schafer and the rest of the incredible team there — have identified the key “megatrends” that are impacting the security industry as we move into 2020.

Hard to argue with any of the trends on the list, as SIA always has its finger on the pulse of the industry, providing thought leadership and bringing top industry subject matter experts together for education at key industry conferences such as ISC West/East, Securing New Ground and Cyber:Secured, to name just a few.

Drum roll, please … The 2020 Security Megatrends are:
•    Cybersecurity Impact on Physical Security
•    AI
•    Facial Recognition
•    Emphasis on Data Privacy
•    Cloud Computing
•    National Security Concerns
•    Connectivity and IoT Everything
•    Workforce Development
•    Move to Service Models
•    Identity as the New Perimeter

SIA’s signature annual Security Megatrends report defines these top 10 factors influencing both short- and long-term change in the global security industry.

“Cybersecurity resoundingly tops the list of Security Megatrends again for 2020. With the increased risk and frequency of cyberattacks, today’s systems integrators and product developers are working to make sure that security solutions meet or exceed an organization’s cyber-preparedness standards,” Scott Schafer, chairman of the SIA Board of Directors, said in the announcement. “SIA also forecasts that the trends of artificial intelligence and facial recognition will dramatically impact the industry in coming years. Both AI and facial recognition are experiencing clear technology advancements, and SIA will continue to track the industry and consumer tech adoption rates and emerging applications for these dynamic Security Megatrends.”

The selection of 2020’s Security Megatrends was based on fall 2019 focus groups and survey data gathered from top security industry business leaders, association leadership, key volunteers and speakers for the 2019 Securing New Ground (SNG) conference taking place Oct. 29-30 at the Grand Hyatt New York in New York City.

Each year, SIA produces the Security Megatrends report, which is made available to SIA member companies and registered attendees of SNG, the security industry’s executive conference. The Security Megatrends are the top forces at play in security, expected to have far-reaching impacts on businesses across the industry. As such, these trends play an instrumental role in the insights and discussions at SNG, an annual conference bringing together the leading entrepreneurs, luminaries, CEOs and investors in the security industry for top-level information sharing, networking and business analysis.

For the second year in a row, cybersecurity was identified as the predominant trend shaping the security industry and a major concern for C-suite executives, government buyers, enterprise organizations, integrators and more. Moving up the list from being ranked fifth in SIA’s 2019 Security Megatrends report to ranked second for 2020 was the trend of artificial intelligence (AI). Respondents noted AI’s role underlying advancement behind nearly all technology promises.

A resounding number of respondents called for facial recognition to be added as a 2020 Security Megatrend, bringing the newcomer to the number-three position. Also new to the 2020 Megatrends are national security concerns and identity as the new perimeter.

In addition to defining the latest Security Megatrends, the forecast for 2020 also denotes potential disruptors in the security industry and other forces at play that may have a clear impact on some or all businesses.

The official 2020 Security Megatrends report will be published in December 2019 and available online for download and/or purchase.

Heading to Resideo Connect 2019

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

As the weather cools off here in Texas, I’m heading to the desert — Phoenix, Arizona to be exact, for some (more) sun and warmth, but most importantly to join Resideo at the CONNECT 2019 dealer’s conference. It’s here that I’ll learn all about the connected home – security, HVAC, plumbing and more — and bring all that knowledge to you! Below is a description of all that you can look forward to in the coming days. 

The Partner and Innovation Showcase offers the opportunity to meet with the Resideo team to see their latest technologies in action. On Thursday, Oct. 24, I’ll be tweeting about the latest and greatest connected/smart home technologies offered by Resideo @SSN_Ginger, so be sure you’re following me as well as our hashtag #SSNTalks. 

On Friday, Oct. 25, I’ll bring you tid-bits of information via Twitter from Scott Harkins, VP/GM, Connected Home, Resideo, on how energy, water, air and security provide new opportunities to drive additional revenue and how you can become the smart home hero and expert, presented by Quentin Gunther and Rick Desch, both from Resideo. Also, Bruce Kimbrell of the Disney Institute will be presenting on how to inspire employee engagement through a culture of effective feedback and empowerment.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, I’ll be heading back to Texas, but before I do, Resideo VP/GM, Global Pro Security, Alice DeBiasio will talk about the booming smart home market, forecasted to include approximately 1.3 billion devices by 2022. With the majority of consumers saying they’d choose to have their smart devices installed by a professional versus installing themselves, this is must-have information to create your smart home strategy within your business. This will be followed by how-tos from Jen Tagle of Resideo about selling video alarm verification — how to design, demo and price it to stay ahead of your competitors, create a higher RMR and provide priority police response to your customers. 

Again, be sure to follow me on Twitter @SSN_Ginger as well as Security Systems News’ hashtag #SSNTalks to be the first to see what’s going on at Resideo Connect 2019. 

SIA unveils new Center of Excellence

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Security Industry Association (SIA) has unveiled the new SIA Center of Excellence, a member-driven learning consortium for education, research and training resources serving the security industry. This online repository of vendor-neutral, vetted information includes easy-to-access, on-demand learning and development tools and resources like training courses, e-learning modules, webinars and articles created to improve individual, team and organizational performance.

“The SIA Center of Excellence was created to foster security industry expertise and help SIA members and the entire security ecosystem stay at the forefront of evolving market demands,” SIA CEO Don Erickson said in the announcement. “This new learning tool will help provide tangible value to our members and help raise the industry’s level of professionalism and knowledge.”

SIA Center of Excellence content is organized by category and type and can easily be searched to find the most appropriate resources and learning tools.

“In addition to creating a centralized learning and development environment where industry stakeholders can access high-quality educational resources, the SIA Center of Excellence is a collaborative space where member organizations can contribute training content and share best practices,” said Dr. Elli Voorhees, director of education and training at SIA. “We encourage SIA members to get involved with this exciting new initiative by submitting content for consideration and help us in growing the future of workforce development in our industry.”

To learn more about the SIA Center of Excellence or become a contributing member, please contact Elli Voorhees at [email protected] or 301-804-4798.

Formjacking, a newer way of stealing personal data online

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Cyber Security Awareness Month is in full swing; social media is buzzing with extremely helpful content and resources, mostly of which is free to help businesses and individuals gain and stay in control of their digital worlds. As the saying goes, “you learn something new every day,” or you should. Through social media related to #NCSAM, #cybersecurityawarenessmonth and #BeCyberAware, I heard about a newer way hackers are stealing data – formjacking.

I knew the term “jacking” meant stealing, but combing it with the word “form,” it could mean a variety of things, so I reached out to my friends at the Security Industry Association (SIA) for some guidance. 

“Formjacking is the injection of malicious code into a seemingly trustworthy website form that relays a copy of the field inputs to an attacker,” Joe Gittens, director of standards, SIA, explained. “In these cases, the victim’s transaction with the trust source is not interrupted; however, information from the from, which could include sensitive data, is relayed to the attacker.” 

That literally gave me chills. I can’t speak for you, but I know I have filled out at least hundreds of forms in my digital life; reflecting back over my past 20 years, there’s no telling what data I’ve shared. And, with formjacking, here’s the kicker – there are no red flags for the average online user to look for. 

“Unlike with spoofing and phishing, there are very few tell-tale signs that a form has been compromised,” Min Kyriannis, head, technology business development, Jaros, Baum & Bolles and member of SIA’s Cybersecurity Advisory Board. In fact, the only way to detect formjacking is looking at the code, “and, unless you’re trained, it’s hard to detect,” Gittens said. 

It looks like the regular, every day Joe who is going online and filling out forms has absolutely no way of knowing his data could be at risk, although end users can self-sabotage through installing browser plug-ins, Gittens said. Therefore, it’s mainly up to the company behind the online form to ensure people and their data are protected. 

“Companies need to ensure that all software, plug-ins and any third-party applications or extensions have been vetted and check for vulnerabilities,” Kyriannis advised. “These need to be continuously checked, since software is constantly being updated.” 

It amazes me how smart cybercriminals/hackers truly are, and it’s important to never underestimate them. Think about it in these terms: once a threat is recognized and identified by the “good guys,” the “bad guys” have already moved on “looking for more covert ways to harvest data,” Gittens said, in a way that’s the “easiest to hide and what’s most lucrative” for them,” added Kyriannis.

Gittens identified partner trust as key and noted that formjacking can and has affected large and mom-and-pop institutions. “Just like with other attacks, understanding exactly what type of privileges a third-party service has on your website or your browser and only allowing the most trusted services into your ecosystem can help protect you and your business. Also, be careful about what types of information you are collecting in forms in case you are attacked. If you don’t have to collect sensitive data, don’t do it – contract a trusted third party to perform the transaction for you who has better security protocols in place and can provide you and your customers with assurances. The SIA Cybersecurity Advisory Board will soon look to provide guidance on how security stakeholders can foster more trust within the device and application ecosystem.”

Kyriannis concurs that trust is key, but “people with malicious intent will always find new ways to sneak under the radar. The industry must lead in bringing awareness to their clients, customers, etc., and self-awareness is critical – for end users, that means setting up security parameters for themselves,” such as tagging credit cards to constantly monitor charges. 

Formjacking Key Takeways

  1. Any and all information shared via an online form is at risk of being stolen. 
  2. The only way to detect formjacking is to look at the code. 
  3. Ensure software, plug-ins and any third-party applications or extensions have been vetted and regularly check for vulnerabilities.
  4. Understand the exact privileges a third-party service has on your website/browser. 
  5. If you don’t have to collect sensitive data, don’t. 
  6. Set up security parameters for yourself.

SecurityNext education program unveiled

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Security Systems News is very excited to announce the education program for SecurityNext, which will be held in New Orleans, Feb. 9-11, 2020 at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

The overriding theme for the conference, “Securing Profits in the Age of Convergence” speaks to the seismic shift that has been going on in physical security with the emergence of IT and IoT, and cybersecurity as a result.

The truth is, the world of security is getting so much larger and more expansive, providing both challenges and opportunities for everyone, whether you are a systems integrator/dealer, consultant, end user or manufacturer. Toward that goal, SecurityNext was designed to help you navigate, leverage and profit from the latest technologies, trends and products to stay ahead of the competition and improve your bottom line.

To put together the program for SecurityNext, SSN enlisted the help of some of top thought leaders in the industry to be on the conference advisory board and help to advise on and provide ideas for the program. The result is sessions like:
•    The Race to Identity: Protecting in the Age of Privacy;
•    Securing Profits in the Age of Convergence and Compliance;
•    Systems Integrator Focus: How to Stay Relevant and Profitable;
•    How the Cloud is Changing Everything in Security; and
•    Building a RMR Business Model: Monetizing from the Consumerization of Security.

And, last but not least, the “End User Mega Panel” will feature security pros from Mastercard, Biogen, American Electric Power and the Air Force Insider Threat Hub. This one-of-a-kind panel will be led by Andrew Lanning, co-founder of Integrated Security Technologies, and this year’s recipient of the SIA Jay Hauhn Excellence in Partnerships Award. This will be a good one!

Beyond the panel discussions, we have industry thought leaders leading discussions on topics ranging from the cloud to company culture. For example, Steve Van Till, President and CEO of Brivo — and this year’s SIA George R. Lippert Memorial Award winner — will present a session called “The Cloud Won. Now What?” and Chris Peckham, COO, Building Intelligence Inc. will present “Making Sense of Security in the Cloud.”

Other notable presentations include “Security by the Numbers: A Financial Forecast and Guide” from John E. Mack III, Executive Vice President, Co-Head of Investment Banking, Imperial Capital, and “The Secret Sauce to Success: How Top Companies Bridge the Gap from Good to Great” from SSN class of 2016 “20 under 40” winner Amanda Utter, senior account manager, VTI.

Oh, and let’s not forget the two amazing keynotes lined up: SecurityNext opening keynote, “Realizing the Dream of AI, IoT and Smart Cities” will be presented by Sameer Sharma, Global GM for IoT Solutions for Intel, who will look at how IoT, AI and ICT (5G) can create a data-centric opportunity for Smart Cities beyond just public safety, showing how leveraging more than just camera/vision sensors can produce something far more comprehensive and predictive.

And for our day two keynote, I am ecstatic to have George Barlow Brown, Information Technology Manager for the New Orleans Real Time Crime Center (RTCC). In addition to providing a unique look into the development, challenges and successes of the award-winning crime center that opened in 2017, attendees will have an opportunity to tour the RTCC to cap off the conference on day two.

In addition to soaking up all of this education and checking out the latest products and services in the exhibit portion of the show, there will be plenty of time to network, unwind and celebrate. For instance, the SSN “40 under 40” award reception on the evening of Feb. 10 is always an amazing night, providing a chance to rub elbows with the next generation of security professionals.

Hope to see you in the Big Easy in February!

9 tips to stay cyber safe while traveling

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

As October presents itself in terms of pumpkin-spiced “everything,” cooler temps, colorful leaves, National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) (ICYMI – we are 2019 Champions) and the announcement of SecurityNext’s program, Fall is a whirlwind of excitement! This time of year also reminds me of the extensive travel that takes place to family and friends’ homes for holiday gatherings, industry conferences and other work trips, vacations and the like. And, since the world is so hyper-connected, it is critical and crucial that everyone plans for and takes cybersecurity action when traveling. 

Based on information provided by National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS), an online resource for cybersecurity training that connects government employees, students, educators and industry with cybersecurity training providers throughout the nation, as well as the Department of Homeland Security, and in honor of our SecurityNext conference, February 9-11, 2020 at the Royal Sonesta in NOLA, and NCSAM, here are some tips to keep yourself, family and friends safe before and during travel:

Before Travel

Update mobile software. Keep the operating system software, web browsers and apps updated will improve your device’s ability to defend against malware. Sign up for and/or turn on automatic updates; set security software to run regular scans; and use anti-virus software.

Back up information. Put contacts, financial data, photos, videos and other mobile data onto another device or external hard drive, or in the cloud. 

Keep devices under lock (and key). Lock your device when you’re not using it; it only takes a few minutes for someone to steal/destroy your data. Set devices to automatically lock after a short time; use strong PINs and passwords. (This is a cool video from HABITU8 for establishing passphrases!) 

Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for email, banking, social media and other services that require logging in. Enable MFA on trusted mobile devices, an authenticator app or a secure token (a small physical device that you can hook onto your key ring, for example.) 

During Travel

No auto-connecting. Disable remote connectivity and Bluetooth to prevent wirelessly connecting automatically to other devices — headphones, automobile infotainment systems, etc. Be choosey when deciding which wireless and Bluetooth networks to connect to. 

Think before connecting. Before connecting to any public wireless hotspot, confirm the network name and exact login procedures with appropriate staff. Your personal hotspot is usually a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi, and only use sites that begin with “https://”.

Play hard to get with strangers. If an email looks “phishy,” do not respond or click on any links or attachments. Use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from the sender. 

Never click and tell. Limit the type of information shared on social media and other online places. Keep your full name, address, birthday and vacation plans private, and disable location services. Before posting pictures, make sure there is nothing in it to identify your location such as an address on a building, a street sign, the name of a business, etc. 

Physically guard mobile devices. Never leave devices or components, such as USBs or external hard drives, alone and keep them secured in taxis, at airports, on airplanes and in hotel rooms, lock them up in the commonly provided safe if you don’t want to lug them around with you.

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