October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, find out why this month is so important to us and why it should be important to you too as we share some tips and tricks on how to be #CyberSmart!
October is a spooky month, and it can get even spookier if you’re not being safe and secure on the internet. October is also National Cyber Security Awareness Month and our goal is to make sure you are always staying safe online and protecting your information. This year’s theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month is Own IT, Secure IT, and Protect IT. This theme highlights the personal responsibility that everyone should account for when doing anything from surfing the web, to simply connecting to Wi-Fi.
Let’s face it, we all spend a good amount of time on the internet. As of this year, 45% of the world’s population is using some type of social media platform. In other words, 45% of the population is sharing their information on the internet to their preferred extent. Just remember, if you put it out there, your information is accessible and it’s crucial that people are mindful of the things that they post. Even if something is deleted there is a high probability someone already saw it.
We all have full control of the amount of information that we provide to people. So be wise, think before you post! We also need to be conscious that social media isn’t the only way cybercriminals can gain access to information. One of the most common ways that cybercriminals can remotely access your device is through unsecured Wi-Fi connections, and phony emails. Try to avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi - that anyone has the ability to access! - and be cognizant of suspicious emails and the links that come along with them.
Securing any account involves coming up with a password. Passwords are very important when it comes to securing your information because a good password makes it more challenging for a hacker to get ahold of your information. Yes, it can be tedious when the website has you add characters that you normally wouldn’t add, or when a password has to be reset because we totally forgot what was set, but get creative when setting your passwords and don’t make them easy to guess.
It’s also important that there is a different password for all your accounts because if someone knows the password for one of your accounts, chances are they will try the same password for another account. Even passwords aren’t enough sometimes. Enabling a multi-factor authentication is an enhanced mechanism to ensure that you, and only you, are getting into the account. Multi-factor authentication uses features in combination including something you have with something you know to make sure it is you and not a cybercriminal. If it is available on your account, enable it.
Technological advancements bring on many pros and cons. There are mostly pros related to information access. We can be continuously informed of what is going on not only in the world in general, but also at home and in your personal life. For example, new digital systems that can be installed in your home allow you to be informed with locks, motion, and video in your home 24/7. These security systems are extremely helpful and convenient, however, if they are not protected a cybercriminal could potentially gain access to your information and do some damage while you’re away.
Some ways to avoid this happening is to secure your Wi-Fi network, stay up to date with your software, and always download from a trusted site or vendor.
By securing the Wi-Fi in your home or office, you are assuring you won’t be a soft target for a hacker who can access the primary source of all things you do on the internet. Secure your Wi-Fi by changing the default password to a more complex password and limit the amount of people that know this password. Stay up to date with all software on your computer, smartphone, and tablet for the best performance and functionality. Updates offer the best version of the software where there are no security flaws, and help you protect your data as much as possible with the latest technology. Last but not least, when downloading anything, from apps on your phone to a document online, make sure it is on a secure website and that you are downloading from a trusted vendor because through these downloads cybercriminals may be monitoring the usage on your device without you even knowing it. It is important to adjust your apps to a setting with the least amount of privileges to protect your privacy. If your Wi-Fi device offers the ability to create a main and guests’ network, you can consider putting IoT devices on a password protected guest or separate network.
Participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month by trying to learn as much as you can about being aware on the internet and how to avoid being a victim of cybercrime. People often don’t realize how making simple changes can heighten protection of their information online. We want to ensure that everyone knows what it means to be #CyberSmart.