The top 10 security land mines

The 10 most common security land mines that experts say you need to avoid.

Many companies spend a small fortune and deploy a small army to secure themselves from the many security threats lurking these days. But all those efforts can come to naught when making any of these common mistakes. The results can range from embarrassing to devastating, but security experts say that all are easily avoidable.

And almost all can be done without spending one more cent.

Here are the 10 most common security land mines that experts say you need to avoid.

1. A slip of the finger reveals the company secret

Many of the most prevalent security issues are the result of small technological habits that can easily be avoided.

For instance, imagine how many inadvertent data loss events could be eliminated if more users were instructed to turn off the e-mail address "autofill" feature in Microsoft Outlook and other messaging systems, said Steve Roop, senior director of marketing and products at Symantec.

"When employees are quickly addressing their e-mails, they inadvertently tab and select the wrong name in haste. The employee thinks he is sending an e-mail internally to Eric Friendly, but autofill instead sent it to Eric Foe," Roop said. "We've all done this. [But] if the e-mail contained sensitive data about a proposed merger or acquisition, then the secret is out."

As much as 90 percent of all information leakage events are tied to inadvertent e-mail foibles, including the autofill accidents and mistakes in handling encryption or misinterpreting usage policies, Roop said. Just the simple act of turning off something like autofill could save businesses a lot of headaches at no extra cost, he said.

2. People give away passwords and other secrets without thinking

More often than not, users -- not outside intruders -- are responsible for coughing up the passwords and personal data that allow attackers to break into their computers and their employer's networks to wreak havoc and tarnish their names.

Despite all the education people have been given about phishing, spyware programs, and hacked Web sites, many users are still willing to hand out their data whenever it is requested without checking to ensure that they aren't be duped or misled, said Dave Marcus, security research and communications manager at McAfee. "People assume the legitimacy of sites as presented; this is fundamentally incorrect in a Web world," Marcus said. "The easiest way to steal someone's identity online is simply to ask them for it."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Hines

InfoWorld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?