Your Cybersecurity Questions Answered

Our recent Cybersecurity Webinar on October 19, 2021, featured Jonathan Wojtkun, Senior Technology Consultant at Charles Schwab. Jonathan gave an overview of common cyber threats and tips on how to reduce your risk of being exposed to a cybercrime. Many great questions were submitted, and Jonathan was able to address most of them during the webinar. However, we ran out of time to get to all of the questions that were submitted. As promised, these questions and Jonathan’s responses are provided below. 

Q: What do you do with old cell phones to ensure that your personal information remains safe?
A: I generally trust the factory reset on my cell phone. First, I make sure I remove the SIM card as well as any extra memory I may have added. I then run a factory reset on the phone, let it reboot, and confirm that it is back to its original factory settings, which means there are no pictures, no accounts associated with the phone, and nothing to link it back to me as the owner. I typically keep my most recent phone as a back-up just in case something happens to my new phone. Any phones prior to that I bring back to the provider. This is a great way to be sustainable, and I prefer that providers get the electronics back and use them for new phones. Staples® has a great program for free where they will take back most consumer electronics.

Q: Do you recommend additional security software for Apple devices as with Windows/PCs? If so, which do you recommend?
A: Apple has good security, but more and more viruses are targeting both PCs and Macs. Just because it is a Mac device doesn’t mean it is impervious to breaches. I would definitely look at what antivirus/antimalware measures are available and use them accordingly. In addition, it is important to keep your operating system up-to-date to ensure that your device is utilizing the latest available security.

Q: Regarding links to portals that are generated by the sender and are personalized to the recipient, you mentioned that recipients may be suspicious of a portal link sent by email. If that is the case, what would you recommend? At times I have been able to go directly to the main site to enable portal access but that is not always an option.
A: Any medium, link, or information request, sent via e-mail should be scrutinized and verified. This is especially true if there’s no way to authenticate yourself or prove who you are before logging in to a portal that asks only for your email address as identification. In the example I mentioned during the webinar, I spoke directly to the company representative who sent me the portal link, to confirm they did send it, and they confirmed my account was active post account setup before uploading any sort of information. Your e-mail address is public information, and, therefore, that only proves that someone knows it, not that you are the person entering the information. 

Q: What do you think of the Brave application and the Duckduckgo browser?
A: I have a co-worker who is a huge fan of both Brave and Duckduckgo. I only use Google and other search engines for informational purposes, so I’m not worried about data mining of my personal information. But for security sensitive internet browsers, I hear very positive feedback.

Q: When I go to a new website, I often get a message that the website uses cookies, with a prompt to click “Accept” to allow cookies to be used. Is this a security threat to my device and what should I do?
A: The problem with blocking all/most cookies is that a lot of websites will lose functionality or not load if you choose to not load cookies. So, while there is nothing wrong with blocking cookies, it may prevent you from getting full access to the website you are trying to reach. Better to keep antivirus/antimalware up to date. Also, not going to suspect websites, and deleting cookies every now and again is a good best practice. Browsing smartly will help minimize risk. 

We hope you find this information helpful. You may access this recent Cybersecurity webinar by clicking here.


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