The Legal Tech Podcast

Cybersecurity While Away From Home - Practical Tips For Keeping Your Devices & Data Safe from Hackers

June 06, 2022 Daniel J. Siegel Season 1 Episode 9
The Legal Tech Podcast
Cybersecurity While Away From Home - Practical Tips For Keeping Your Devices & Data Safe from Hackers
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode, techno-ethics attorney and cybersecurity expert Daniel J. Siegel provides practical information and tips how to keep all of your devices, including cellphones, tablets, and so many other items, safe while you are away from home.  It is easy to let down your guard while relaxing or away on business, and cybercriminals know this, and they are ready and want to take advantage of these moments.

In this Legal Tech Podcast, Dan Siegel emphasizes that cybersecurity should not be limited to the home and office. It is equally important for all of us to use safe online behavior and secure our Internet-enabled mobile devices whenever we travel for business or pleasure.

Offering tips from the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and other sources, Dan focuses on practical solutions to minimize cyber risks everywhere.

Remember, no one is exempt from the threat of cybercrime, at home or away. By following some simple advice in this podcast, you can stay safe online when traveling.

Attorney Daniel J. Siegel is the principal of the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC and Integrated Technology Services, LLC, and is a nationally-known lecturer and writer on cybersecurity, techno-ethics, legal ethics, and topics and regularly represents and provides guidance on these topics to attorneys and businesses.

Dan Siegel is the author of 14 books, has taught 100s of Continuing Legal Education classes, and is Chair of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Committee on Legal Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

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Hello and welcome to the latest edition of the Legal Tech podcast, sponsored by the Law Offices of Daniel J.

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Siegel, LLC and Integrated Technology Services, LLC, both located in suburban Philadelphia, but assisting attorneys and consumers throughout the region with issues including cybersecurity, techno-ethics for lawyers and other topics.

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But today's podcast is a little different because we're going to be talking about cybersecurity away from home.

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How to protect yourself while you're traveling with the summer upon us, many of us will be heading out.

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We might also be traveling in the fall or the winter, whether it's for business, for personal matters.

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But regardless of how you are traveling or where you are traveling, cybersecurity matters.

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And that's why we're here today.

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So let's begin the program today is going to be looking at cybersecurity practical tips, and there are lots of sources for these tips, but we're going to be mainly focusing on tips that are provided by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, or CISA.

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Cisa, as the agency is known.

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The agency is part of the Department of Homeland Security, and many of us haven't heard of it.

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But CISA is important because it is responsible for protecting the nation's infrastructure from physical and cyber threats.

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And its mission is to build the national capacity to defend against cyber attacks, both for businesses and for individuals.

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And cybersecurity matters to all of us.

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Well, what I do Dan Siegel, the attorney, often focuses on assisting lawyers and law firms and small businesses.

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We also have to recognize that cybersecurity extends far more than that.

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Just ask anyone who has had a password or an account hacked or a Facebook account taken over.

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And when you are involved in that, you understand that cybersecurity is far more than just something that attacks the electricity grid or anything like this.

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And remember, your devices and cybersecurity go way beyond computers.

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Many electronic devices are, in fact, computers, whether they're cell phones, tablets, video games or the GPS in your car.

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And computers provide increased features and functionality, as do these devices.

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But they also introduce new risks that attackers want to take advantage of.

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And they try to attack things that most of us thought were or think are safe.

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For example, an attacker may want to infect your cell phone with a virus and steal your phone or wireless service, or simply access the data on your device.

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Depending on what you do, if you're a lawyer, you might have client information.

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If you operate a financial services company, you may have other information like that.

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And these activities by these cyber attackers have implications for your personal information, but also for your corporate information.

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As a result, all of our devices are susceptible to risks, and particularly when you're doing online transactions.

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So you really have to take the same precautions with your smartphone or other device that you do with your personal computer, and perhaps even more, since often our guard is down while we're away.

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Any piece of electronic equipment that uses some kind of computer component is vulnerable to all of these types of attacks.

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And the risk increases, of course, when you're connected to the Internet or a network where an attacker could access it.

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And a wireless connection introduces all of these risks.

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So that's what we're going to talk about, practical information to help you prepare to travel, to be away from home, and what you need to do.

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And all of these tips that I'm going to provide to you are practical.

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They're easy to implement and do not require you to have any fancy technology skills or to hear or know any tech Jarden.

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So first, remember physical security.

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Make sure you have access to your device and don't leave it unattended in public or easily accessible areas.

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Second, keep the software up to date, which means installing updates for the operating systems on your devices and installing updates for any apps or programs on your devices as well.

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Next, use strong passwords and you want to use and own devices that allow you to protect information with passwords.

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And you can select passwords that are difficult for thieves to guess and use different passwords for different programs and devices.

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There are lots of tips online on how to create these types of strong passwords, and there are services that can help you store them across your devices.

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Just do a search online.

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Also, you need to remember that when possible, you should disable remote connectivity because your devices are contained or equipped with wireless technology such as Bluetooth that can be used to connect to other devices and if they're not in use, you should disable them.

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You also, when possible, should encrypt files, which is essentially putting a password on them so that no one can see them except you or someone who has that password.

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And most of our mobile devices now make it easy to use encryption.

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Just go to your device's settings and search for encryption and you'll see how easy it is to encrypt any of your devices and also those external cards.

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And of course, what you always hear is be cautious of WiFi networks.

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You always want to confirm the name of the network and the login procedures with staff to ensure that the network that you are connecting to is in fact legitimate.

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Whenever possible, do not use public WiFi networks for sensitive activities like shopping, banking or for any kind of sensitive work.

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And if you're using these public WiFi networks, only access sites that begin with Https.

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When shopping or banking, whenever possible, only use the mobile network connection, the data connection, the one you often have limits on, which is far more secure than a public wireless network.

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What I'm going to do now though, is sort of take you through the continuum of what to do first before you go and then tell you what to do during your trip.

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I'm going to cover some of the items I've mentioned before, but it's important because anything we discuss here are really the critical actions you should be taking to protect yourself, your data while away.

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And if you have to connect, you need to protect your devices, which means updating all of the software.

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You should sign up for automatic updates and protect every device with antivirus software.

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There is a really good Phishing P-H-I-S-H-I-N-G tip sheet from SCisa, which is at cisa dot

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You also should be backing up all of your information your contacts, your financial information, photos in case your device is compromised.

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And you have to do what we all hate to do reset it to factory settings, keep your device locked.

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That means if you're not using it, you should have it automatically locked.

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You can change the time that it takes to lock a device, and that time should be very short when you are away, because that is when you are often vulnerable to people who may try to steal devices or try to access information and use strong pins, those code numbers and passwords to get into your device.

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You also, whenever possible, should essentially double or perhaps even triple your login protection by enabling the multi factor authentication to ensure that the only person who accesses your account is you.

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In other words, when you log into a site, it may offer to text you or may require you to text, or may send it to a separate piece of equipment, or may require also your fingerprint.

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Those are the types of protections you want.

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You want to use multi factor authentication for email, for social media, for banking, and any other service that requires logging in.

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If your device itself allows you to use multi factor authentication, do it during your trip.

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What should you be doing? Well, the first thing you should do is turn off or make sure that your device is not auto connecting.

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Many devices are set to automatically seek and connect to wireless networks or to Bluetooth devices and at home.

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That may be acceptable, but these are instant connections.

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And if you're not even aware that your device is connecting to these types of auto connecting areas, you don't ever realize that you open the door for these cyber thieves to remotely access your devices.

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Disable the features so that only you can choose when or if to connect to a safe network.

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As I said before, and one of the key areas is the mobile connections of WiFi and Bluetooth.

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And I can't emphasize it enough.

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Don't use public WiFi networks for any type of personal, financial or business information or transactions, and if you're going to use it to do that, turn off the WiFi and use the cellular data connection for Bluetooth.

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Turn it off if it's not in use.

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If you turn off Bluetooth, then the cyber criminals can't even try to connect with your phone whenever you're connecting now, if you really insist on using these WiFi networks, confirm the name of the network and the exact login procedures with staff at the facility.

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Wherever you are to make sure you are connecting to a legitimate network.

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There are fake devices that thieves set up to emulate a real network, and you could log into one of them and never know.

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Alternatively, and what I do is travel with a personal hotspot or jet pack.

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They may cost you a little bit of money every month, but these are secure connections that you can use and will allow you to sort of preserve the battery life on a phone or a tablet while assuring that your connections are secure.

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Remember, also some of the things that you're told at home and at work about email, and those types of things play hard to get.

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Don't allow yourself to be subject to a phishing P-H-I-S-H-I-N-G attack.

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If you're unsure of who an email is from, even if it appears accurate or if it looks fishy, do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments in the email.

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If your email system allows you to have a junk folder or a block option, use it.

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And please, if you're traveling, don't post on social media that you're going away or how long you're going to be away.

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This can be an enormous problem.

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First, if you're doing that, you're telling people that your home is going to be unattended, or your office or whatever location you're going to be away from is going to be unattended and is ripe for someone to try to break in.

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People do not need to know you're away on social media.

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Tell your family and friends privately and keep as many details as you can.

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There's a reason that law enforcement looks at social media first.

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People like to brag, but it's also the place to see what everyone is doing.

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And if a thief knows that your neighbor is spending two weeks down the shore at her Shorehouse getting away from everything, they also know that there's no one home to protect the house.

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So these are the types of things you need to think about.

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A couple others as we finish up with this podcast.

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First is if you are going to charge your device at a charging station that is not your own, like at an airport, be careful.

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Using a USB cable sometimes allows software running on a computer or a nearby device to gain access to your device.

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You might not even realize it.

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So try not to use public charging stations when you take these tips that we're talking about, and they're all really practical tips.

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Know where your device is.

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Keep your software up to date.

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Use strong passwords.

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Turn off Bluetooth and WiFi whenever encrypt your information.

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Those types of pieces of recommendations are really practical items, but even so, it is possible that you could become a victim if you find that you are a victim of some kind of hacking or phishing or scam, call the bank, the store, the credit card company and your mobile phone provider to let them know you need to report fraud and criminal activity in a timely manner because this will help limit the impact of the activity and lessen your personal responsibility.

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If you do have become a victim, you should also change passwords on any accounts and follow the recommendations of your banks and other providers.

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There is also a really excellent website called idtheft dot

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I recommend that you visit it if in fact you are a victim of some kind of cyber criminal.

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These have been tips on how you can practice good or excellent cybersecurity away from home.

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These tips are provided to you by me, Dan Siegel.

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I operate the Law Offices of Daniel J. Siegel, LLC, which you can find on the web at D-A-N-I-E-L-J-S-I-E-G-E-L dot com and my technology and techno-ethical consulting firm Integrated Technology Services, which you can find on the web at T-E-C-H-L-A-W-Y-E-R-G-Y dot com. My businesses represent individuals and businesses both for legal services in Pennsylvania as well as cybersecurity consulting and advice throughout the country.

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Our goal is to keep you and everyone you know safe from cyber attackers so that when you're away from home you can enjoy yourself and then when you get home post those pictures, relaxing on the beach, enjoying that ride or just spending some time with family or friends.

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Again, this is the Legal Tech Podcast.

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I'm Dan Siegel.

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Thank you for listening and hope you will subscribe to these podcasts so you can hear all of the information we provide.

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Thank you again for listening.

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