October is the month for Cybersecurity Awareness! Alongside the National Cyber Security Alliance (NSCA), Zartech will be championing cybersecurity month. Week 1’s tagline was #BeCyberSmart. Week 1 was for everyone to get familiar with the basics of cybersecurity.
With technology advancing and with everyone connected more than ever, everyone must #BeCyberSmart. It is especially important considering all the cyber attacks and breaches that have occurred throughout the year. Cyber breaches include the breaches on SolarWinds and Kaseya. Some high-profile cyber attacks include the Colonial Pipeline and other critical infrastructure.
Additionally, as seen with the most recent breaches, cyber attacks have evolved and become more sophisticated. As a result, more bad actors have started appearing and attempting to attack and breach into critical assets and data. Thankfully, however, there are several simple steps that you can do daily to mitigate these cyber risks. Use these quick tips to stay one step ahead of the cyber attackers.
Enable Multi-factor Authentication
#BeCyberSmart by enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA adds a second step to verifying your identity when logging into your account. With multiple layers of authentication, your account will be protected from being compromised even when a hacker finds your password. This is because even with the password, the hacker will need to verify their identity – which is much harder to do than getting a password from a password cracking tool. Therefore, enabling MFA will only benefit you because it makes breaking into your account much more difficult.
Use Strong Passphrases or a Password Manager
While this may seem obvious, passwords are actually one of biggest reasons for a cyber breach. Many people use weak passwords or reuse old passwords which is bad password practice because it makes it easier for hackers to identify the password. Having a strong and secure passphrase will make it harder for hackers and password cracking tools from figuring out your password.
Password managers are also a good alternative as it allows you to store complicated passwords with multiple symbols, letters, and numbers. With a long, complex, and unique password, your account is less likely to be hacked. Furthermore, password managers will help track and keep your passwords organized.
Perform Software Updates
Software updates sometimes take a while, which is why it is tempting to ignore messages that prompt you to update the software on your device. However, postponing or ignoring the software update opens your device to security threats. Having the latest security software – whether it’s on your device, web browser, or operating system – is one of the best defenses against online threats.
This is because, software updates have new functions and actions that will protect your device or account from cyber threats. Furthermore, these updates are often made to combat the evolving techniques and programs of cyber attackers. Therefore, having the most recent software update will protect your device or network from the increasingly sophisticated cyber threats.
Do Your Research
Like how you would only invite people into your house after getting familiar with them, you should do the same with software you download onto your device. Your device is like your home – it has all of your information and data. Therefore, why would you invite someone or something you know nothing about into your computer?
Therefore, you should do your research to #BeCyberSmart. Before downloading an application onto your device, research the application to see if it is safe. This step is crucial to maintaining a good cyber hygiene. Learn everything you can about the app or software before downloading (or “inviting”) the app onto your device. Look for reviews and the creator of the app. See if there are any articles regarding the app. Consider all aspects of the app and determine whether it is safe. Only download the app or software after you have determined it is safe for your device.
Check your settings
Always double check your privacy and security settings. Also, check who has access to your documents. Checking your settings for every application you have access to – such as Google Docs, Zoom, Microsoft SharePoint, etc. – will help you find where potential vulnerabilities are at. For example, you can create passwords for meetings on Zoom so that only those invited can attend the meeting. You can also restrict their permissions, which will limit who can share their screen or files on the Zoom call.
Doing these steps will reduce the potential openings for hackers to use when they are trying to infiltrate your network or account.
#BeCyberSmart and maintain online hygiene to protect yourself from cyber attacks. Doing one will improve your security, but it will not protect you or your accounts from all cyber attacks. However, by practicing all the above tips, you will make a huge difference in taking control of your online presence. Make these preventative measures a habit to decrease the chances of being hacked. This will save you from dealing with a hacked account which will also prevent you from losing time and money.
Of course, there are other options you can take to ensure your online and company network safety. Consider using software such as antivirus software or security scanning software to further protect your device from a security breach.
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