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“we all play a role in protecting our data” December 4, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Inexplicable Memos From Above, Technology Trouble.
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One of our IT guys recently sent this e-mail to everyone in the building. He received it from the Home Office. Odds are good almost no one in the building read it, but it does contain useful tips that you probably already know unless you’re a grandparent or a corporate employee.

During the busy holiday season we would like to take a moment to remind you about the increased likelihood of computer threats. As USA TODAY states, there is a prediction that, “cybercriminals this year will launch even more sophisticated phishing attacks…”

Here are a few suggestions to make the holidays a little safer.

• When shopping online you should use well known websites that provide secure transactions. This can be denoted (advertised) by sites that begin with https:// or display a small pad lock in your browser. [[Images not displayed.]]

• Your financial institutions should never e-mail you asking for your password or any other information. Emails requesting that you use an embedded link are an attempt to scam you into surrendering private information for identity theft or other unauthorized purposes. Legitimate organizations should never request sensitive information in this manner. Always type the URL to your financial institutions in your browser.

• Each holiday, you can expect a flood of e-greeting cards from friends and family wishing you a happy holiday. While seemingly harmless, these holiday greetings can be dangerous. They may contain harmful viruses or may be used for identity theft. E-greeting cards should not be opened using a work computer or email account.

• If getting a new computer, you should ensure that once connected to the internet that it is updated with the latest security patches and has updated virus scanning software installed.

Remember, we all have an effect on security; we all play a role in protecting our data.

See? Real, useful, common-sense tips written in a way that people can understand even if they’re computer novices.

Too bad that, as I said, no one will read them.

The biggest problem I personally see around this time of year is e-cards. I never open them anymore. Not from anyone. I don’t need to waste 30 seconds of my day watching a flash animation that says Merry Christmas. And as for cards I send? Only people I really care about get cards; everyone else gets a thoughtful, individualized e-mail.

If you give your company’s IT guy one gift this year, give the gift of not ever opening an e-card.

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