Blog: Ramblings of the Cybersecurity Evangelist

Day 12 #NCSAM. Update Your Router! Be more #CyberAware.

Oct 12 2015
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Well it's late in the day again and I'm a little tardy getting my post out for the 12th day of the ‪#‎NCSAM‬! I'm moving back to securing your router having spent the last two days looking at passwords. For today I'm going to keep it short. Your router, like your computer should occasionally be updated. You might think of your router as a small computer that has an operating system with the singular function of routing your communications in your network and out to the world. Many of today's consumer and small business routers are just like your computer in that they will let you know if there is an update available and what the update is for when you log into your router's interface that is also known as a GUI or graphical user interface. Alternatively you can periodically check the manufacturer's website for updates but the easiest way is to just log into your router and check for updates. When they are available you should download them and apply the updates. Remember ...

Day 11 #NCSAM Keep it Secure, Passwords Again! #CyberAware

Oct 11 2015
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Well today is the 11th day of the ‪#‎NCSAM‬ and I decided to focus on passwords one more time because of another article that may raise a few eyebrows. Yesterday's article focused on using 25-GPU's clustered together to make cracking a password by using an offline version of the original password that has been hashed (Wikipedia article on Cryptographic Hash Functions -- https://goo.gl/vL5tbV). This article discusses how researchers were able to recover passwords by using programming errors used by the Ashley Madison website. The key take away through from the 11 million+ passwords they were able to crack were the fact they were really simple passwords. The Ashley Madison website used "bcrypt" to encrypt the passwords but the fact is passwords need to be complex and should be longer than 8 characters. You really should have passwords that are at least 12 characters long, you should not reuse passwords on multiple sites, and you should not use your userID as your passw ...

Day 10 #NCSAM Keep it Secure, Easy Passwords not Stupid Passwords #CyberAware

Oct 10 2015
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Today is the 10th day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month‪#‎NCSAM‬. I'm going to deviate just a little because of an interesting article I read today about a computer that uses 25-GPU (Graphic Processing Units) AKA video cards that work in unison to break passwords at blazing speeds. The real take away for us has to do with password complexity and password length. You really need to be using a complex password that contains upper case letters, lower case letters, special characters, and numbers all while not using dictionary based passwords. If you are using an 8 character password then this computer would be able to break your password in not time flat. We all hate passwords but until there is a better alternative you still have options to make using passwords easier. I personally use the "Lastpass" password manager that makes creating complex passwords as easy as clicking your mouse and saving the new password to your password vault. Oh...and you can create some really ...

Day 9 #NCSAM Keep it Secure, Lock it Down at Night #CyberAware

Oct 09 2015
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Today is the 9th day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month‪#‎NCSAM‬. Many consumer and small business routers give you several options to apply different features that affect your networks security. Take a few minutes to learn about the different features and then set up some of them to see how they affect your experience. For example, if you are a parent of school age children you may want to either block their computers during certain times of the day or blocking all services at certain times of the day which will keep them from using the Internet during hours you choose. I used to have my router set to block all services between the hours of 11PM and 5AM. I've since changed that setting to block all services between the hours of 1AM and 5AM. My particular router would just as easily allow me to block their computer or smartphone between those same hours and leave all services unblocked allowing me access to the Internet or for watching Netflix if I choose to. Helping you ...

Day 8 #NCSAM Keep it Secure with an Access Control List #CyberAware

Oct 08 2015
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Today is the 8th day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (‪#‎NCSAM‬). Start today by creating an access control list for your router that uses the Media Access Control (MAC) address of the devices on your network. You can create either an "allow" or a "deny" list. The manufacturer of your router may use a different name for this type of a technical security control but if you look through your router's documentation or visit their technical support forums you should be able to quickly identify how to do this. You can also look through some of the videos I've cataloged / organized on my website with tutorials on how to do this and a lot of the other recommendations I've made since the start of the #NCSAM. You are well on your way to being more ‪#‎CyberAware‬.http://goo.gl/yAzUtW

Day 7 #NCSAM Keep it Secure, Why Hackers Hack Easy Prey #CyberAware

Oct 07 2015
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Today is the 7th day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (‪#‎NCSAM‬). You should beginning to see that it is easier to become more ‪#‎CyberAware‬ than you may have thought at first. The key is to learn small things that you can do to have a big impact on your overall security. So...continuing where we left off I want to focus on your router again. Yesterday you learned it was important to change your router's default password and userID. Why is this important? The answer is related to human nature and it results in default settings being one of the easiest ways a hacker can breach any network or other computing resource. We want things to be easy so we leave the defaults and we don't really believe we have anything of value to a hacker. You might even think any changes you made could be hacked by anyone really wanting to get in but to quote a Billy Joel tune...you maybe wrong but then again you may be right. The question I have for you to consider is why wou ...

Day 6 #NCSAM Keep it Secure, Change your Routers UserID and Password Be #CyberAware

Oct 06 2015
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Today is the 6th day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (‪#‎NCSAM‬). Following along the same lines we want to focus on simple things we can do to become more ‪#‎CyberAware‬. So for today I want to focus on securing your home network. This will span several days so check back each day to see what to do next. The first thing you should do is change your router's default password and if your router allows you to create a new user name you should do that as well. This will help you keep hackers guessing which way to go next. Check out some of these videos about common routers and the steps you can take to change your default user name and password (depending on your router).http://goo.gl/gxtzV1.

Day 5 #NCSAM Keep it Simple, Keep it Secure #CyberAware

Oct 05 2015
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Today is the 5th day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (‪#‎NCSAM‬). Will keep it simple tonight but that's what being more‪ #‎CyberAware‬ is all about. Make sure your have your computer set to update the OS automatically and also learn how to check your third party software (ie...applications you install that are not part of your operating system) for updates. Some of your third party software will have builtin reminders to run an update when they are available but others do not. For those applications that do not have an automatic updater you need to go to the publisher's website and check for updates...especially critical updates. The reason this is so important is the "WHY" you need to do this...hackers and malware developed by hackers take advantage of vulnerabilities in order to compromise your computer system. Software publishers will develop patches for software that is still being supported when they learn of vulnerabilities. These are the updates you n ...

Day 4 #NCSAM Anti-Virus Software, Keep it Secure.

Oct 04 2015
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Today is the fourth day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (‪#‎NCSAM‬). I had planned on posting this earlier in the day but as life goes I was overcome by events (OBE) and am only now posting this. Adding to our growing list of tips you can employ to make your online experience safer I want to focus on anti-malware software which includes traditional anti-virus but includes more features that help mitigate threats. There are a lot of options available and all platforms are pretty well represented. If you are using a desktop or notebook there are packages available for Microsoft, MAC, and Linux products. If you are using a smartphone or tablet you are not excluded either...there are so many options it can be difficult to find one that meets your needs. The main key I recommend is to have protection that is updated routinely and can be set to update automatically as well as scan you system full time. Check out this link on my website that contains links to a lot of differ ...

Third day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month ‪#‎NCSAM‬ be #CyberAware

Oct 03 2015
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Today is the third day of the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (‪#‎NCSAM‬). Learn to be more ‪#‎CyberAware‬ today. The world can be a scary place but you can make the Internet a little less scary by using a DNS service like OpenDNS or Norton ConnectSafe for Home. Both of these services will improve your Internet, automatically block millions of undesirable websites known to host malware, are know to be used by hackers intent on catching unsuspecting users off guard and may even allow you to filter specific types of websites for all devices on your network (pornography, drugs. Check out these easy to follow videos I compiled from Youtube that will make configuring either of these a walk in the park.http://cybersecurityforeveryone.com/…/tabid/136/Default.aspx