October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
It’s not often that writing about politics intersects with my day job of managing servers for a large company. It does happen from time to time, but for the most part, they’re two very different worlds. This month being National Cyber Security Awareness Month brings me to one of those intersections.
(I’ve got a site disclaimer that covers this, but it’s worth mentioning again that the opinions expressed by me are my own and that I’m not authorized to speak on behalf of anyone other than myself.)
National Cyber Security Awareness Month is an effort by the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security to promote awareness of security vulnerabilities and encourage people to follow best practices with their security online.
If you’ve read any of my posts for more than about 12 seconds, you’ll know that I’m no fan of government bureaucracies. DHS is no exception to that rule, but rather than discussing the inadequacies of DHS and its agencies, I’d like to use this opportunity to encourage you to do some things to enhance your security online.
Security is important. You should guard your data. You should guard your personal information. You should be careful about posting information that will compromise your physical safety. This stuff is all very important.
A while back, I was using FourSquare and checking in everywhere I went. A girl from my gym (who I didn’t know) added me as a friend. From that one interaction, I was able to find her elsewhere online. That led to a complete stranger having access to her work schedule, address, phone number, email address, and an active feed of where she was checking in around town.
I was no threat to her, but she didn’t know that when she added me on her FourSquare profile. I’ve since deleted my FourSquare account and would encourage you to rethink your usage of social networking “check in” options.
Though you should take internet security seriously, it’s also important to remember that your security online is your responsibility. With initiatives like National Cyber Security Awareness Month, there is risk of efforts to expand DHS to include agencies to keep you safe online.
That would be about the same as having a federal officer check to make sure you windows and doors are locked every night before you go to sleep.