Held every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online while increasing the resilience of the Nation against cyber threats. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) co-lead NCSAM.
This year, the theme is:
OWN IT. SECURE IT. PROTECT IT.
In Part One of this series, we begin with the theme “Own IT.” These tips cover both business and individual tips you can use to help become more cyber aware and proactive in taking action to avoid risks and be cybersecure.
Own IT … Cybersecurity Tips to Take Charge and Be Vigilant.
Internet-based devices are present in every aspect of our workday: in the office, working remotely and on the go. Constant connection presents opportunities for potential cybersecurity threats that can compromise your most important information. Understand the devices and applications you use every day to help keep work information safe and secure.
Be Cybersecure While Traveling
Cybersecurity is not limited to just the office. When you’re working remotely or traveling – whether domestic or international – it is always important to practice safe online behavior and take proactive steps to secure Internet-enabled devices.
- Stop auto connecting. Some devices will automatically seek and connect to available wireless networks or Bluetooth devices. This instant connection opens the door for cyber criminals to remotely access your devices. Disable these features so that you actively choose when to connect to a safe network.
- Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – such as at an airport, hotel or café – be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. You can also use a VPN to secure the network you are connecting to.
- Play hard to get with strangers. Cyber criminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email is from – even if the details appear accurate – or if the email looks “phishy,” do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available, use the “junk” or “block” option to no longer receive messages from a particular sender.
- Guard your mobile device. To prevent theft and unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information, never leave your equipment – including any USB or external storage devices – unattended in a public place. Keep your devices secured in taxis, at airports, on airplanes and in your hotel room.
Improve Online Privacy
The Internet touches almost all aspects of our working lives. When online, activities may require you to provide personally identifiable information (PII) such as your name, date of birth, account numbers, passwords, and location information. Be Cyber Smart when sharing professional or individual information online to reduce the risk of becoming a cybercrimes victim.
- Never click and tell. Cybercriminals are on the lookout for any information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity (PII). Keep both personal and professional information private when on the Internet, including login IDs, customer data and financial information. Regularly update private policy terms, access authorization and controls on who can process data to ensure cybersecurity and reduce data breaches.
- Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for network access, email, business banking, social media and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token – a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring.
- Shake up your password protocol. Use a strong password with a combination of at least eight characters (letters, numbers and symbols). Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach.
- Be up to date. Many breaches have occurred due to unpatched system vulnerabilities. Keep software updated to the latest version available by turning on automatic updates or engaging in a patch management solution so you don’t have to think about it. Set security software to run regular scans to continuously block malicious activity to keep systems cybersecure.
Next week, we’ll look at “Secure IT” in our series during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.