October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, making now the perfect time to think about your cybersecurity. It’s a topic relevant to both individuals and businesses, and the steps you take to protect yourself can prevent pain and losses down the road.
What Is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month?
NCSAM or National Cybersecurity Awareness Month has been in place for 17 years and aims to raise awareness of the threat posed by cyber crimes to businesses and individuals alike. This awareness initiative is promoted by the FBI and backed by a range of established and respected organizations. It’s focused on reducing the number of cyber crimes that wreak havoc across the country every year.
Security Practices Individuals and Businesses Should Implement
There is a range of security practices you should implement to keep your devices and systems safe. Dan Cashman, President of TrinWare, an IT company in Westminster, says, “We recommend that companies focus on proactive cybersecurity measures that will work to prevent attacks altogether. No cybersecurity plan is complete without threat protection and constant monitoring, as well as employee security training.”
We’re going to take a closer look at some basic security steps to take and how they’ll help protect you.
Be Wary of Unknown Links and Sources
It’s important to remember that it only takes one moment of weakness for a data breach to occur. You should always be cautious with communication, when receiving links, downloading attachments, and using unknown sources. Always assume the worst before and take the time to assess the site, attachment, etc. before proceeding.
Avoid Social Media Oversharing
One way in which people are undone and exploited by hackers and cyber criminals is when they overshare on social media. When you give too much away, you immediately make yourself a target for criminals and hackers, as they can use your personal details to create specific socially engineered attacks. And the same applies to the employees of businesses. Where the internet, and especially social media, is concerned, it’s often best to go private.
Keep Software Up to Date
When a company releases an update for their software, it’s because there’s a flaw in the old system. They want to patch those flaws so they can’t be exploited by cyber criminals and hackers. If you don’t update your software and Operating System to the most current models, cyber attacks could reach you through vulnerabilities that would otherwise be patched.
Strengthen Your Password Security
Password security is a cybersecurity basic, but that’s also why it’s so easy for many people to overlook or disregard it. Each password you use should be unique and complex; you shouldn’t duplicate passwords for different accounts or logins, and passwords should combine upper- and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. For the greatest security, avoid using dictionary words. Using multi-factor authentication is also a recommended failsafe, as it can protect your accounts even should your password fail.
Don’t Share Information Over Unsecured Networks
Finally, you should be careful about how and where you share information. Sensitive files, data, or communication sent over networks that are unsecured could be intercepted. You should use secure systems that offer encryption and end-to-end security when transmitting private information.
Following these steps will help you create a basic layer of security, but there are still many aspects of your system that need further measures. Talk to an IT professional for more recommendations for boosting your security!