Do you prefer to use a public toilet or a home-based one? When you have to, you can use the public one—but really, you try to touch as little of it as possible, right? Well, that’s exactly how you should feel about your equipment when out and about “in public.” You should want it to touch as little “public” anything as possible—including limiting the number of web pages you visit.
Every time you visit a website, almost invariably bits of code, cookies and digital flotsam and jetsam are exchanged and sometimes left behind. Use public Wi-Fi to connect? Imagine the build up. Over time, this electronic crap can bog down your equipment—slowing it down significantly. It can even contain malicious code that does everything from hogging resources, to logging all keystrokes, to whatever a coder can conceive and get code to do. And all you did was visit one website or, sadly, incorrectly type the URL of a site you visit frequently. You never know.
Yes, web surfing is that scary.
Now That I Have Your Attention: Quick Top 10 Digital Security Do’s
There is simply no way I can cover all you need to know about being secure when mobile—from using trusted sites to keeping your equipment clean—in this short space. But I can share my quick top 10 digital security do’s list, and give you a list of great articles that dig into the details of digital security.
- Always choose to connect through your own ISP, Wi-Fi, aircard or mobile hotspot if you can get a signal.
- Make sure connected equipment is protected—if your device has a firewall, turn it on.
- Disable file and folder sharing in Windows devices.
- Use a secure connection (https).
- Use care when downloading and installing software and apps.
- Keep your software up-to-date.
- Don’t leave your equipment unattended, even for a second.
- Use a passphrase on all mobile equipment and set the device to lock and require the passphrase just to fire it up.
- Don’t store anything on a mobile device that isn’t absolutely necessary.
- Pay attention. Pay attention. PAY ATTENTION!
Here is additional reading to help get you up to speed on digital security issues.
- Four Key Security Setups to Safely Connect to Public Wireless Networks, by Tina Sieber, staff writer and the editor of MakeUseOf Answers.
- Ethics of Mobile Computing: Obligations, Security Tips, an ABA E-News round-up of tips from Sharon Nelson and Tom Mighell’s ABA TECHSHOW 2012 presentation.
- Practical IT: How to Assess a Third-Party Provider’s Security, by cybersecurity specialist Ross McKerchar on Sophos’ Naked Security blog.
- Five Web Application Security Myths, an IT Business Edge slideshow with five common web security myths identified by Alan Wlasuk, managing partner at 403 Web Security.
- How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi by Steven Andrés, PCWorld.
Andrea Cannavina is a Master Virtual Assistant who helps attorneys, legal administrators and companies which service the legal industry better understand the role of technology and use of the web in the daily practice of law. Spending 15 years as CEO of LegalTypist, Andrea has actively helped 100’s of law firms run more organized and efficient practices. When not focused on trying to stop attorneys from spending far too much on a website or, worse, a “guru”, Andrea enjoys cooking and hanging with friends and family in the great outdoors (aka glamping).
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