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 newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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 Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?