Everyday Security Made Simple

As our world becomes more and more digitized and the amount of information we store about ourselves on the cloud or other online servers grows, it becomes all the more important to ensure that we are equipped with the means to keep this information safe. In a Lynda.com series about protecting the information we store in our digital footprints, Scott Simpson presents viewers with a toolkit covering this topic.

As someone who prioritizes her personal cybersecurity, I am often looking for new ways to keep my devices and data protected. However, the primary reason I chose to watch this Lynda.com series is because of my desire to share the importance of cybersecurity with the people around me. Often, I find that people are not particularly concerned with their data being compromised, whether it be because they do not believe their data is valuable enough to tamper with or because they don’t believe they are tech savvy enough to implement any precautionary measures. Simpson proves that this is not the case by presenting viewers with strategies that require little to no technical experience, which I would love to pass on to the people around me.

Of the protection measures we were presented with, whether it is using a password manager, choosing good passwords that utilize a wide range of character types, or using two-factor authentication when signing into our online accounts; one of the most interesting tactics Simpson presented was how to secure our smart home devices. Smart home devices have irrefutably grown in popularity over the years, and while I have tampered with the idea of getting one, I ultimately have never followed through due to skepticism revolving around their security. 

The first thing Simpson advises is to ensure that we trust the company we are buying the device from, as the developers for particular smart home devices are the ones who are responsible for ensuring the security of their equipment. If that first hurdle can be passed, Simpson then advises users to invest in devices that have the power to update their software and firmware. Technology is imperfect, and because of that, bugs are often found in new devices. If one’s smart home device’s software and firmware cannot be updated, the user runs the risk of never being able to get rid of any detected bugs in the system, potentially giving hackers a clear entry point into the equipment that controls the user’s home. Additionally, Simpson notes it is in the user’s best interest to be smart about the placement of their equipment. For instance, if a home makes use of smart cameras, they should never be pointed towards any valuables or private spaces, on the off chance the device does get compromised, hackers will have a direct view of these spaces and can be influenced to act accordingly. Though these are not actions that require a large time commitment or technical capability to put into place, they are still the actions that can really make the difference in safely using a smart home device. 

Overall, I would recommend this workshop to anyone who regularly uses the internet or has any smart devices, as cybersecurity is important for any person with a digital footprint. Even for individuals who do not believe their data would be at risk for being compromised, it is still much more beneficial than not to have a general understanding of one’s own security and how to stay safe, and how could we say no when given such simple yet effective tactics by Simpson? 

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