Digital ‘Spring Cleaning’ Tips: SSL, Plug-Ins & Biometrics

Part 3 of 3 in the Series — Digital Spring Cleaning

Cyber security is a huge concern heading into 2014. Unfortunately, even the strongest security policy can have unintended holes that leave end-users unprotected, potentially putting the entire organization at risk. For example, users can inadvertently leave the company vulnerable to a security breach or malware attack simply by visiting an unsecure website or losing their mobile device.

This is part three of a series (Digital Spring Cleaning: Part One) designed to help organizations protect end points from malicious activity. Follow these “spring cleaning” tips for 2014 to boost security and keep vital information safe:

1. Understand SSL Certificates

It’s never too late to understand how SSL certificates work. SSL certificates act like credentials for websites, showing that a website is safe and that it protects sensitive information. When you connect to a site protected by an SSL certificate via your browser, the server sends back information letting you know that the connection is secure. Users can look for a closed padlock in the browser window. This shows that a site’s SSL certificate is active and up-to-date. In addition, the letters “HTTP” at the beginning of the address will change to “HTTPS” when the connection between the server and the browser is secured by SSL. If the browser address bar turns from white to green, it means the website is using Extended Validation SSL.

2. Remove Unneeded Plug-ins/Add-ons

It happens to many users: they install software and forget to uncheck the “install toolbars” or “install plugin” box, or they click on an ad and suddenly find something has been planted on their system they didn’t want. Some add-ons and plugins for desktop browsers are valuable, especially if they come from a service you trust and you use them regularly. However, many are rife with malware and adware, and send users to an unsecure site that may install malicious software or spyware on the system if used. It’s a smart idea to remove all add-ons that aren’t critical. This will help protect the network from potential malware, as well as uncluttering the browser and increasing its speed and performance to make it more functional.

3. Try Biometrics to Protect Smartphone Applications

Smartphones are extremely useful, but today smartphone apps also tend to contain a large amount of sensitive information, from financial data to corporate emails to photos, schedules, spreadsheets, and medical information. If the device is lost or stolen, a user never knows if an unknown party might be using apps on the device to make purchases and perform other activities. Biometrics can change all that. Biometrics protect smartphone applications and sensitive data by requiring a unique authentication to access the apps on the device, such as a fingerprint or voice authentication. For example, Apple’s iPhone 5S debuted TouchID, built-in fingerprint scanning technology that uses a user’s unique fingerprint rather than a PIN number to unlock the device. Other companies now have voice recognition software to unlock apps and databases. The advantage of biometrics is that they are affordable, and can go a long way toward improving smartphone security.

Click here to learn more about enterprise cyber security concerns, and find out how digital certificates from Entrust can help protect your system.


Entrust provides identity-based security solutions that empower enterprises, consumers, citizens and websites in more than 5,000 organizations spanning 85 countries. Entrust's identity-based approach offers the right balance between affordability, expertise and service. With more than 125 patents granted and pending, these world-class solutions include strong authentication, physical and logical access, credentialing, mobile security, fraud detection, digital certificates, SSL and PKI.


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