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October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Celebrating its 15th year (just like our company) the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) was established to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity, both personally and professionally. Each year, NCSAM is a shared cause between the technology industry (that’s us!) and the government to help ensure all Americans have the necessary protections to feel safe online.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – Stay Safe!

What does Cybersecurity mean to you?

The first cybersecurity question we have for you – does your business rely on internet and technology to function? (66% of small businesses answer yes to this*). Now, answer this second question – do you have an internet security policy in place? (Sadly, only 23% of businesses can say yes to this). That’s a big gap… nearly 2 in 5 businesses are without a policy in place. This means they’re at a great disadvantage should they be targeted with a cyber-attack. Data breaches and crimes are non-discriminatory… if you have data & money, they want it.

On the personal side of things, roughly 1 in 14 people worldwide are affected by a cybercrime every year*. This includes phishing attacks, mass data breaches, and both mobile and desktop hacks. That’s a lot of people, and it’s the worst when it happens to you.

What can you do today?

There are quite a few easy steps you can take right now to improve your cybersecurity. From password updates to a digital spring cleaning, we’ve got you covered.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

By far the best thing you can do to add a level of security to your business – enable two-factor authentication. Yes, it takes a minute to log-in to your servers and services when you’re out of network, but it also puts the clamps down on hackers trying to do the same. Not interested in the time swamp – check out our other password security thoughts now.

Speaking of Passwords, Change Them!

This should seem basic for general security, but the basic fact is many people have one password for everything. Year after year, the list of most common passwords is released and we see the same options: password, 123456, asdf1234, 12345678, password123, and on and on it goes. Don’t pull a Kanye and have 000000 as your phone password.

Instead, we recommend customized passwords for all of your apps – perhaps your social media accounts share one, and your emails and bills have another, but none of those should be the same password as your banking information. Because if your password is hacked from that Yahoo account you created 5 years ago, and you’ve never changed it, that hacker now can get into all your other accounts, simply by typing it in. The moral of the story here: if someone is going to hack you, at least make them work for it.

Delete Those Unused Apps

Too many apps have surprisingly broad access to your microphone, contacts, camera, and other personal information. How do we know this? Because the average person has 60-90 apps on their phone and spends over 2 hours a day using them** – holy cow! This number has jumped 30 minutes from 2015 to 2017, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down. If you’re worried about your personal usage, the newest iPhone update added a native feature in the menu settings, ‘Screen Time’, allowing you to check out how much time you spend in your apps. It will also show you apps you don’t use, which you can simply delete!

Secure your Wi-Fi network

Your wireless router is the primary vulnerability when it comes to cybersecurity attacks. Hackers will look to invade your network via the router, compromising everything else in the network, from your phones connected to Wi-Fi to your gaming systems. If you have a smart home, the number of potentially affected devices skyrockets. Securing your network with a difficult password (we suggest 30 plus characters including numbers, letters, and symbols) can help protect you more than you think.

Create a Human Firewall

When it comes to security training in the workplace, KnowBe4 is where it’s at. From education to testing and everything in between – their comprehensive program will help educate and keep your team current on how to identify and avoid malicious emails, attachments, and links. Learn more about their programs and all too common phishing attacks on our ‘Not Your Fathers Phishing’ blog.

And honestly, the best way to stay safe is to be conscious of what you share and where you share it. Limit the amount of personal data you put online. Is a game asking you to link your accounts to play? Either don’t play that game or create a dummy account to use as a link. You can disable your location settings in many apps, which keeps them from tracking you and sharing that data with third-parties. In general, limit yourself, and you limit your risks.

Stay safe out there.

Additional IT Security Reading:

Citing our Sources:

* https://www.cisecurity.org/blog/october-national-cybersecurity-awareness-month/

** https://www.appannie.com/en/insights/market-data/global-consumer-app-usage-data/

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