Did you know that October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month? This year's theme is "Secure Our World: 2023 and Beyond." The program focuses on four simple yet critical actions that we can all take to secure our information, families, and businesses, and build a safer digital world. We can start by learning these easy ways to stay safe online at home, work, and school, and by sharing them with our friends and family. It's important that we keep these actions in mind every day, not just during October. So, let's get back to the basics and start protecting ourselves today!
Use strong passwords and a password manager.
Using an easy-to-guess password is like locking the door but leaving the key in the lock. Weak passwords are a quick way for computer hackers to gain access to your accounts and steal sensitive information, data, money, or even your identity. But don't worry, there's an easy solution... strong passwords!
To strengthen your passwords, follow these three tips:
- Longer is stronger: Use passwords with at least 16 characters. These are the hardest to crack, making them more secure.
- Hard to guess: Create a random string of mixed-case letters, numbers and symbols. If you need to remember your password, try creating a memorable "passphrase" of 5 – 7 unrelated words. You can even get creative with your spelling and add numbers or symbols.
- One of a kind: Use a unique password for each account. This ensures that if one password is compromised, your other accounts will remain secure.
Don't forget, using a password manager can make all of this even easier!
Turn on Multifactor Authentication (MFA).
Have you ever heard of MFA? It's an extra layer of security that can help protect your accounts from unauthorized access, even if your password has been compromised.
With MFA, you'll need to go through a secondary step to confirm your identity when logging into your accounts. This can be done in a few different ways, such as:
- Receiving a code by text or email: Once you've entered your password, you'll be sent a code to your phone or email that you'll need to enter to complete the login process.
- Using an authenticator app on your phone: You can download an app that generates a unique code that you'll need to enter along with your password.
- Using biometrics: This could be facial recognition or fingerprints, which can be used to confirm your identity and provide an extra layer of security.
- Using MFA is a great way to ensure that your accounts stay secure.
Recognize & Report Phishing.
Phishing is a common tactic used by criminals to try to steal personal information or infect devices by getting you to open harmful links or attachments. Phishing messages or "bait" usually come in the form of an email, text, direct message on social media or phone call. These messages are often designed to look like they come from a trusted person or organization.
You can look for these common signs:
- Urgent or alarming language
- Requests to send personal and financial information
- Poor writing, misspellings, or unusual language
- Incorrect email addresses, domain names, or links (e.g. amazan.com)
Spot a phish? Report it, then delete it!
Update Your Software.
Did you know that software updates are an important way to keep your devices protected against the latest threats? That's why it's a good idea to turn on automatic updates in your device's or app's security settings.
When you update your software, you're not only getting new features and bug fixes, but you're also getting the latest security updates. This can help keep your personal information and devices safe from cyber attacks.
So, make sure to turn on automatic updates in your device's or app's security settings. That way, you can be sure that your software is always up-to-date and you're protected against the latest threats.