Week 1 of CyberSecurity Awareness Month: Be Cyber Smart!

October 4th begins Week 1 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month and this week’s focus is Be Cyber Smart.  To do so, start with a few basic cyber hygiene steps.  Here are a few quick tips to get you started.

Enable Multi-factor authentication (MFA).  This adds another layer of security to your accounts.  MFA allows you to have multiple methods of authentication to your account.  So, not only will you need to know your password, but will also have to enter a special time sensitive code that is sent to you via an email, a text message, a phone call or by using a special app that provides you with the code.  This is just one example of how adding MFA to your accounts would work. Using MFA makes it harder for hackers to access your accounts even if they were able to acquire your username and password.

Use a strong passphrases/password manager.  This seems simple, but you would be surprised how many people still use their favorite pet’s name as a password and then tell everyone on Facebook how precious “Rocky” is to them. A strong passphrase is the first line of defense against the bad actors.  And using a password manager app is a great way to store all of your passwords in one safe place.

Perform software updates.  This can be aggravating, but most of the time a software update is rolled out because a vulnerability or security hole has been detected in a piece of software.  They also can add new features or improve the stability of software applications.  It is recommended to install software patches and updates often and soon after they are released.

Think before you download new software or apps to your devices.  As with any application, you should do your research. Know who developed the app, what do the reviews say about it, what are the terms of service, what is their privacy policy say and how secure is the software. Make sure you actually read the privacy and security terms.  Don’t just assume that your new app is looking out for you and protecting your privacy.  Be diligent on your privacy and security settings. Do your homework.

Good cyber hygiene is the best way to protect yourself and others from a cyber attack. These are not things that can be done once and forget it.  This is an ongoing battle against the ever-changing landscape of cyber security. Own your role in protecting your information and securing your devices by downloading and following the basic steps in this cybersecurity tip sheet.

Do Your Part and Be Cyber Smart!