Fort Leavenworth Legal Assistance Team
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are teleworking from home. It is important to practice good cyber security in the office and at home.
Here are a few tips for preserving security:
• As a general rule, do not send personally identifiable information — full name, Social Security number, bank account information, etc. — over the internet. If you have to do so, make sure the information is securely sent via encrypted e-mails and that you are 100 percent sure that the intended recipient will be using it for an official purpose.
• Ensure anti-virus/spyware software is installed on your computer and keep that software updated. Having redundant backup systems is a good standard operating procedure, especially for important files.
• Consider keeping copies of important documents somewhere you can readily access, but won’t be affected by an attack on your system, such as an online storage database or a removable USB drive. (Keep in mind that USB drives are not authorized on government computers).
• Do not open e-mails or attachments if you are unsure of the sender. A document released by the Joint Regional Intelligence Center Feb. 4 reported an increase in phishing attacks using e-mails encouraging users to read the latest on COVID-19, but when the attachments were opened, they spread malware.
• Social engineering attacks have also seen an increase. Social engineering uses human interaction to gather information about user organizations or computer systems. This is done when the attacker claims to be a person the user would normally trust, such as a new hire or network security personnel, and gathers information that can be used to compromise the integrity of a system. A document titled “Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks” released by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, gave tips on how to avoid becoming a victim, including not revealing personal information, being suspicious of unsolicited e-mail messages and confirming identities using trusted sources.
• Don’t download programs from unfamiliar sites. Many sites may seem credible, but always use third-party sources to verify the authenticity of a site. Many times, if it seems too good to be true, it is, especially if it is free.
• If you shop online, use only trusted sites to transmit information and payments. It would also be prudent to check the charges to your bank account at least monthly to ensure only legitimate charges are listed and no one else has gained access to your accounts.
Even giant retailers are not exempt for cyber security. In his article “Cyberattacks: The Retail Industry’s Greatest Threat in the Digital Age,” Andres Puerta detailed the numerous cyberattack on retailers such as Target and Home Depot, some going unnoticed for months and resulting in the theft of millions of credit card numbers.
For questions regarding legal issues, call the Fort Leavenworth Legal Assistance Office at 684-4944.