Be Cyber Smart

October is National Cyber Security Month

Author: Kirstin Toms - MarCom/Tuesday, October 5, 2021/Categories: Home Internet

Get Familiar with the Cyber Basics

 

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and all month long, Consolidated will be sharing information to help our customers, employees and our communities stay safe online. 

 

These days, we rely on the internet to keep us connected more than ever. So, being “cyber smart” is of the utmost importance. This year, we’ve seen more than a fair share of attacks and breaches, including the Kaseya breach and high-profile attacks on the Colonial Pipeline and other critical infrastructure. These attacks are becoming more sophisticated with more evolved bad actors cropping up each day. Luckily, there are several steps that we can take on a daily basis to mitigate risks. Here are a few quick tips:

 

Enable MFA

 

Multi-factor authentication (MFA), adds that necessary second check to verify your identity when logging in to one of your accounts. By requiring multiple methods of authentication, like your password and a text confirmation code, your account is further protected from being compromised, even if a bad actor hijacks your password.

 

Use strong passphrases or a password manager

 

This may seem obvious, but it’s so important. Long, complex and unique passwords or passphrases are the first step in protecting your information.  are a but all too often securing strong passphrases/password managers is overlooked. Unfortunately, with every website and account asking for a password, people get frustrated and resort to using the same or similar passwords over and over again, making every account less secure. An easy way of keeping track and remembering your passwords is by using a password manager.

 

Perform software updates

 

When your device has software updates available, it can be tempting to put it off and update later. However, having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system on devices is one of the best defenses against online threats. So, don’t wait - update.

 

Do your research

 

Common sense is a crucial part of maintaining good online hygiene, and an intuitive step to stay safe online is to do some research before downloading anything new to your device. Before adding new apps, plugins or software, check who created the app, what the user reviews say, and if there are any articles published online about the app’s privacy and security features. Quick tip, do a web search for “app name + scam” and see if there are complaints.

 

Check your settings

 

Regularly check your privacy and security settings, and keep on top of who can access your documents. Sometimes app updates will reset your privacy settings to the default, so it pays to be vigilant. This extends from Google docs, to Zoom calls, and beyond. For meetings on Zoom, for example, always use meeting room passcodes so only those invited to the session can attend, and restrict who can share their screen or files with the rest of the attendees.

 

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Being cyber smart and maintaining stellar online hygiene is the best way to protect yourself and others from cyber-attacks. No single tip is foolproof, but taken together they create layers of protection that make a real difference for taking control of your online presence. By taking preventive measures and building a habit of practicing online safety, you can decrease your odds of being hacked and stay safer online.

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