People as a security feature, not a risk

As I have talked about in the article about the most important security feature, we as people and our mentality towards technology is pretty much the determining factor. That is why this article will focus on how you and the people around you, be it friends, family or employee’s, can become a security feature, not a security risk.

It mainly boils down to two determining factors, a mindset of staying safe and the knowledge to stay safe. The mindset is the easier part, as it is mostly about persistence and practice. This can be accomplished by making appointments with yourself to go over your spam emails or other issues you have had over the past week in regards to security or problems. Slowly and surely you will get more used to identifying issues before they become a problem and you will eventually train yourself to the point where you will automatically identify threats.

The knowledge is a bit harder to deal with, because there is a ton of information available out there, some conflicting, some made up and even some that is impossible to understand. Part of that is what I will try and combat with this ongoing series, which should give you an easily digestible insight into internet safety, with an article every day over the coming weeks. We shouldn’t be your only source of information though, find 2-3 online magazines you feel like you can trust and that is easy for you to read, in regards to computer security. There are quite a few easily readable ones, that is as much entertainment as they are good knowledge. HowToGeek is one of the ones I use myself.

People as security

In regards to getting everyone else on board with the idea of people as security, you will usually have to convince people why it’s a good idea. A few good talking points on this is how knowing a bit more about technology, will help them from losing the things that are important to them, like their photos and having a working phone. In their professional lives, this also spreads into being more efficient when working on a computer and therefore having a more relaxed work day, as well as avoiding becoming the employee that ended up shutting down the whole office, while a hacker is waiting to get paid a ransom.

Knowledge is power is a very popular quote and with good reason, even something as simple as shortcut keys on a keyboard can make you vastly more productive and help eliminate errors, that could in turn also turn out to be a security issue. It might be a bit of an oversimplification, but mastering your devices as well as staying current with changes in technology is your number one defense against an attacker and it usually comes with the added benefit of becoming better at your job or being able to complete some tasks more easily.

What I am trying to say is, that in order for you and your nearest to be a security feature and not a risk, you have to learn more about the devices you use and be more critical about what you let on your devices. The better you know your device, the more shortcomings you know about your device, which means you can be the security barrier for those shortcomings. This is also where curiosity comes in, reading and understanding the things displayed on screen, checking the settings of an app or program and even just poking around on your device “to see what happens”. Poking around is actually how a lot of IT professionals find problems and escalate them to authorities that can fix them, which you can be part of as well.

It is also why it is so important that you share what you know with others, as you will boost their knowledge and by extensions theirs and your own security. In many ways it is like helping vaccinate your digital soul, as the more who get inoculated, the safer we are as a group.

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