Don’t you just love October? The weather is cooler, the leaves start to change, and who doesn’t enjoy being spooked come Halloween? Less enjoyable, though, is the threat posed by cyberthreats- a threat far scarier and far less fun than your neighbor popping out of the bushes with a chainsaw. Maybe that’s why October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This month, we wanted to pass along some useful tips to keep you and, by extension, your business, safe from cyberthreats.
- Passwords: Change them frequently, and don’t reuse the same passwords across multiple sites. If one of your accounts is breached, those hackers could hold the key to the rest of your digital identity. If you’re worried about keeping track of all those passwords, you can use a password manager like LastPass or Dashlane to help manage your various credentials.
- Multi-factor authentication: Multi-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your digital presence. Think of how sites will often prompt you to answer a security question when you’ve already entered your username and password. Multi-factor authentication is like that, but even more secure; for example, you can choose to have a code sent to your phone which you’ll need to enter upon logging in to a site, or you can require a security key housed on a USB. A lot of people will scoff at the extra steps involved in multi-factor authentication, but think about the damage that could be done to your business if any confidential information were to be breached. It’s really worth the extra trouble to authenticate your users.
- Security: Your social media presence is a potential treasure trove of information for hackers. Things you post about may indicate your responses to security questions on various websites, such as ‘Where did you go to elementary school?’, ‘What was the name of your first pet?’, and ‘What is your favorite food?’, meaning that a simple trawl through your Facebook photos is providing cybercriminals with everything they need to know to access your accounts.
- Public WiFi: Halloween is generally seen as the kick-off for the holiday season, meaning an uptick in shoppers. While you’re contending with the hustle and bustle of the shopping season, try to avoid logging into sensitive accounts, like your bank account, while using the free WiFi offered at malls and big retail stores. Sophisticated snoopers will easily be able to pull your credentials, so as a rule of thumb, just don’t trust public WiFi.
- Links: As another rule of thumb, always be wary of links, especially from sources you’re unfamiliar with. Take a second to examine them before clicking- the extra time you spend ensuring that links are pointing to where they’re supposed to be pointing can save you a lot of potential headaches if you just click instinctively.
Even though October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it’s becoming increasingly important to be aware of your cybersecurity year round- every day, in fact. Remember, your data is a treasure trove to hackers and thieves. A little extra wariness will pay off in the long run, when you can rest assured knowing that your data is safe and secure.
Learn more about keeping your assets safe with our 10 Commandments of IT.