4 Tips for Strengthening Your Personal Cybersecurity
In 2004, the President and Congress designated October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Since then, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) have used this as an opportunity to promote healthier security practices across the nation. This year’s theme is “See Yourself in Cyber,” encouraging people to see themselves as part of the solution by acting more safely online. As an official Cybersecurity Awareness Month partner, iVision has been focusing on best practices to implement to strengthen organizations’ cybersecurity postures.
As threats become more complex and frequent, cybersecurity must be at the forefront of everyone’s mind – on both an individual and business level. Being able to make informed decisions in your personal and professional life is key to keeping your data secure, and this year’s campaign includes four action items:
1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Many businesses employ multi-factor authentication, or MFA, to work platforms or devices, but did you know you can implement this practice into your personal use as well? Many e-commerce and social media platforms, like Amazon, Instagram and Facebook, allow for this extra layer of security when logging into your accounts. This not only helps safeguard your data but all the other accounts, payment info and addresses linked to this platform.
While it may feel redundant to have to grab your phone when trying to browse on your computer, you’ll never regret those extra ten seconds in the case of a cyberattack. Enabling MFA on your personal devices is proven to decrease the success of an attempted hack and will ultimately save you a lot of headache down the road.
2. Use Strong Passwords
Selecting strong passwords (yes, multiple!) is key to maintaining a strong cybersecurity strategy. Ditch your childhood pet, mother’s maiden name and birth year when creating passwords for your platforms. These details are too easy to obtain, whether it’s from social media, public record, etc.
Good news, though: you don’t need to incorporate a ton of numbers, unique characters and random capitalization into your passwords. Length has proven more effective than complexity when developing secure passwords, and “passphrases” are becoming more and more utilized. Think of a phrase that will be easy for you to remember, but impossible for strangers to guess.
It can feel overwhelming to have a different password for every account you use, but this can easily be mended using a password management tool. Using a tool to help store all your different passwords alleviates the stress of remembering lengthy, unique passwords for each of your accounts. Just be sure to choose a password manager you can trust!
3. Recognize and Report Phishing
In addition to your employer’s routine phishing tests, it’s important to keep an eye out for them on your personal platforms as well. Keep an eye out for typos, incorrect grammar, out-of-place hyperlinks and clunky language when receiving unexpected messages. The likelihood of your CEO needing you to urgently run out and buy $800 in gift cards is extremely slim, and the request is worth a second to stop and evaluate before completing.
In summary, think before you click and check out . This goes for links, attachments, images, etc. With the right identifying tactics, like ensuring that all URLs begin with “https://” and all email addresses are valid, it’s easy to dodge these bullets.
4. Update Your Software
Programmers are constantly finding new ways to develop more efficient and secure versions of their software. By updating software in a timely manner, you’re ensuring that your version is equipped with the best security measures. You may recall a few months back when Apple discovered a vulnerability in their devices and made an urgent call for users to install an update. By taking immediate action, these kinds of gaps can be quickly and effectively patched before bad actors have the chance to act upon them.
This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, don’t break your cybersecurity team’s hearts. Take these simple steps to develop safer, more secure habits to help protect yourself, your company and your coworkers. Looking for help implementing these action items?