October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month! We are here to give you 4 tips and tricks for you to be proactive before you need to become reactive.
As the number of cyberattacks increases, so does the importance of cybersecurity. To sufficiently protect your networks, it is necessary to become familiar with cyber essentials (many of which are low-cost or no-cost), rather than waiting and paying an exorbitant amount of money in ransom or data loss.
Throughout the month, on our social media pages, we are highlighting four main ways to protect yourself and your business from cybercrime. (Facebook & LinkedIn) If you missed it, don’t worry. Below are the four ways to put cybersecurity first, at home and at work!
Be Aware of Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks
Social engineering is when someone tries to manipulate you into performing an action or sharing confidential information. Most successful social engineering attacks are caused by human error. If you familiarize yourself with common social engineering methods, you may be able to recognize and stay safe from an attempted social engineering attack.
Phishing emails are more common than you think. Cybercriminals use urgency to “reel you in.” They lead you to malicious websites to steal your personal information or initiate downloads of malware onto your devices.
Be sure to watch out for:
- Digital Attacks
- Phishing: email-based social engineering targeting an organization
- Spear Phishing: email-based social engineering targeting a specific person or role
- Mobile/Phone Attacks
- Smishing: text-based social engineering
- Vishing: over-the-phone-based social engineering
We advise you to STOP, LOOK, and THINK before clicking on a link, opening an attachment, or giving sensitive information over the phone.
Protect Your Passwords and Use MFA
The average person uses the same three to seven passwords to log in to over 170 online accounts. If cybercriminals guess these passwords, they can access many of their victim’s online accounts. Even worse, the victim may not know that their password has been compromised for several months or years.
Follow the tips below to keep your passwords safe from cybercriminals:
- Create strong passwords
- Passwords should be as long, complex, and random as possible
- Don’t reuse passwords
- Reusing passwords puts you at risk of having multiple accounts compromised at once
- Use a password manager
- Securely store all of your passwords in one safe location
You can also use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to secure your online accounts. MFA is a verification method that requires multiple authentication factors to gain access to a website, network, or application. When you use MFA, cybercriminals will have a harder time gaining access to your accounts, even if your password is compromised.
Safeguard Your Devices and Increase Wi-Fi Security
The truth is that if you are online, you are vulnerable. Malware is a real threat that can steal your information and data, destroy your hardware, log keystrokes, and infect other devices connected to your compromised device. The best defense is to stay on top of the latest updates to your software, web browser, and operating systems.
Devices connected to your network that become compromised, leave the opportunity for someone to be eavesdropping on you — even in your own home or on encrypted Wi-Fi. When out in public, we advise you to avoid free internet access with no encryption. Your personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free Wi-Fi.
How to stay protected while connected:
- Check for the padlock icon in your browser bar to signify a secure connection
- Avoid free internet access with no encryption
- If you do use an unsecured access point, practice good internet hygiene by avoiding activities that require passwords or credit cards
Be Aware & Don’t Overshare
Social media can be a great way to update friends and family about your life, but it is important to be smart about what you post. Cybercriminals use your accounts as an easy source of information.
Follow these tips to stay safe when using social media:
- Guard personally identifiable information by limiting what information you share
- Check privacy settings to minimize the information that is available for viewing by the public
- Watch out for subtle methods of information gathering
Cybersecurity Awarenss Month Doesn't End Here
To turn away cyber-attacks, a little knowledge teamed up with critical thinking skills can go a long way. We hope you will take this information and use it to protect yourself and your business in the fight against the cybercriminals out there today!
Although Cybersecurity Awareness Month only happens once per year, these tips can be — and should be — implemented all year round. Please reach out to us if you have any questions about cybersecurity or want guidance in taking the next step in being #CyberSmart. Imagineering is here for you!