Cybersecurity Awareness Month, now in its 18th year, aims to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity in both our professional and personal lives. Held every October, Cyber Month is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure that individuals, organizations, and businesses have the cybersecurity tips and resources they need to be safe and secure online.
Every year, led by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), Cybersecurity Awareness Month sends a clear message about security and the importance of partnership between government and industry, from the White House to individuals.
Doing our part to help raise awareness, Coretelligent will be sharing information and resources to help keep your business safe from cybersecurity threats. To kick things off, we have put together a list of cybersecurity tips as a quick introduction to persuade your team to assess your firm’s current security readiness from a cyber attack. Stay tuned throughout October for more cybersecurity tips and resources.
Cyber Security Tips for Good Corporate Cyber Hygiene
- Double (or triple) up on login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) across your organization for all accounts and devices to ensure that only authorized users gain access to your secure data. CISA’s Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) How-to-Guide is a good resource for more information.
- Shake up your password protocol. According to the NIST guidance, users should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Encourage end-users to switch up passwords across applications, accounts, and websites. Using unique, strong passwords can make it more difficult for cybercriminals to gain access and protect your organization in the event of a breach. A password manager and online password generator can be employed to generate and for remembering different, complex passwords. Another solution is to employ SSO to control passwords centrally and avoid user password sprawl across various platforms, which can lead to poor password choices, reuse, and insecure safekeeping.
- If you connect, you must protect. Whether it’s a laptop, smartphone, or another networked device, the best defense against viruses and malware attacks is to perform updates on a regular basis to verify that the latest software updates get applied to your software, browser, and operating systems. A plan that includes the automatic security update is a critical layer of security and part of a multi-layered defense strategy.
- Don’t get hooked. Cybercriminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. So 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 attachments or suspicious links in emails. Instead, report the phishing attempt to help your IT team and email provider block other suspicious fake emails before they arrive in your inbox. In addition, the use of random phishing simulations are a valuable exercise to help end-users spot phishing attempts.
- Beware of social engineering traps. Many people don’t realize that much of the posts seen on social media asking for seemingly random details are created by criminal networks. They use these posts to gather data that can be mined for potential passwords and other secure information. For example, posts like, “What car do you wish you still had?” or “Tag your childhood best friend” can be used to help criminals work out the answers to your security questions. Not only can these tactics impact personal data, but are used to target employees in order to gain access to corporate networks. Read CISA’s Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information about good social media and cybersecurity practices.
- Don’t forget about mobile. Most connected Internet of Things devices are supported by mobile applications. Mobile devices are often filled with suspicious apps running in the background, or using default permissions users never realized they approved, that are gathering personal information and login credentials without user being aware. A robust cybersecurity posture should include a plan for protecting data from employees using compromised mobile devices to access to corporate networks.
- Stay protected while connected. Utilizing Virtual Private Network (VPN) for employees remotely connecting is the best way to protect networks. A VPN creates a secure connection that encrypts information so that it’s hidden as it travels. This connection makes it harder for attackers to see and access data. VPNs are essential when accessing sensitive data like personally identifiable information (like social security numbers) or protected health information, especially when using public wi-fi networks. In today’s hybrid workplace, VPNs are a must to protect against suspicious activity.
From a phishing attack to a ransomware attack, cyber threats are constantly evolving. If you are unsure whether your firm employs good cybersecurity hygiene practices or not, then it may be time for a security check-up. Remember, cybercriminals will use any security vulnerabilities they can find to gain access and steal data. You can start with these cybersecurity tips and move on to using our free Cybersecurity Checklist to review your security measures. Coretelligent is here to help with advice from our cyber security experts about our enhanced security solutions designed specifically for small-to-mid-sized companies. Reduce your risk from security incidents, contact us today for help responding to your cybersecurity gaps.