We are finally nearing the end of 2020; can you believe that we are in October? It is jarring to think that not so long ago, our day to day lives have changed since going under a nationwide quarantine earlier this year. However, one part of your life that should not have changed is how seriously you need to take your cyber hygiene. A few years ago, former President Barack Obama declared that October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, also known as NCSAM for short. In today’s day and age, our homes, personal well-being, economic prosperity, and the nation’s security are all impacted by the internet. For the entire month of October, we will be highlighting essential topics that will complement the spirit of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
Thousands of Americans have experienced the transition from working at an office to now working from home. To some, this is a brand-new experience; to others, it is a welcome change. The line between our offline and online lives has slowly become indistinguishable. For this year’s overarching theme for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020, the National Cybersecurity Alliance Organization has adopted the phrase: “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart” with a big emphasis on the key message for 2020: “If you connect it, protect it.”
Here are some actionable items that you can do right now to be #CyberSmart:
- Maintain strong passwords
- Do NOT share passwords (This includes not repeating passwords across applications).
- Use multi-factor authentication when possible
- Update all of your devices with security patches when released.
- When possible, install anti-virus on all of your devices.
- Implement privacy settings on your social media.
- Do NOT overshare personal aspects of your life on social media.
- Verify all emails you do not recognize to ensure it is not a phishing attack.
- Never leave devices without password protection.
- Use encryption on all devices whenever possible.
- If your device or cell service provider offers the option, set tracking on your device.
- Know how to wipe your data remotely from your device.
- Do NOT connect to unknown people on social media.
- Take regular backups of your data.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when on public Wi-fi, to protect you.
Here's a video that will help you make a cyber pledge for October!
Overall, all of these tips will help you implement more robust security practices, raise your community awareness, educate your network, or even train your employees. If everyone can do at least half of the tips I presented above, it is without a doubt that your cybersecurity posture will have been improved substantially! Technology changes very fast, but the tips mentioned above are a great starting baseline for many of the actionable steps you can take. Following these best practices for cyber hygiene will most likely help protect you and help you quickly recover if you are a victim of a cyber-attack. We must keep ourselves safe, and also keep our interconnected world safer and more resilient for everyone.