This is the nineteenth year the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) celebrate Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October.
With a message of “See yourself in cyber” and “Be smart online”, it’s a good time to remind everyone on your team of basic rules about cybersecurity.
We all tend to see reports of significant data breaches and think that could never happen to us.
It can. It does.
- A Clark School study at the University of Maryland found a near-constant rate of hacker attacks on computers with internet access - every 39 seconds.
- A study by BullGuard showcases that 43 percent of small and medium-sized businesses in the US and UK don’t have any type of cybersecurity defense plan in place.
Luckily, it’s not difficult to start putting one into play today. As a part of the “See yourself in cyber” theme, create change in four simple ways:
Always enable multi-factor authentication
Multi-factor authentication adds one simple step to every login process, and greatly increases the security of the account. This is especially important with any account that has access to critical data on either the personal or professional level.
It could include adding a PIN, answering a security question, having an additional code emailed or texted to you, or using a biometric identifier such as facial recognition or a thumbprint.
Increase password security and use a password manager
It may surprise you that one of the most common passwords is 123456789. Even with constant reports of data breaches and cybercrime activities, people still use simplistic passwords for ease.
No matter what accounts a password protects, it should be created with strict guidelines intact. They should be at least 12 characters long, be unique for every account you create them for, and be complex strings of letters, numbers, and characters that aren’t easily guessed.
Update your software
We’ve all updated apps and software, only to have patches become available almost instantly after the update process is finished. It can seem like a full-time job checking, pausing work for the update to occur, and learning new functions as they appear on our screens.
When possible, make it automatic. It’s the easiest way to ensure it stays up-to-date, and keeps you as safe as possible.
Phishing is a big problem
Phishing is the biggest source of breaches because it works. If you want to start with one employee training topic, phishing is the place to start. It takes just a few seconds to look at an email and determine whether it seems legit. Teach your employees to ask questions like:
- Is the writing poorly crafted, riddled with misspellings and bad grammar?
- Does it include requests to send personal information?
- Does it stress an urgency to click on unfamiliar hyperlinks or attachments?
- Is it a strange or abrupt business request?
- Does the sender’s email address match the company it’s coming from? Look for little misspellings like pavpal.com or anazon.com.
If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
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