It's getting close, but the month's not over yet. So, it's still National Cyber Security Awareness Month which means now's as good a time as any to become that much more aware of the risks out there. So we thought we'd take this opportunity to share with you the top 10 things to keep in mind as you're working in this computer age...
1. General Cyber Security Awareness. Stop, think, connect.
Before you sit down at your computer (on autopilot), just stop for a second and remind yourself to think about what's going on as well as to not take anything for granted. If you see something weird or suspicious, don't click on it. Take a second to make sure your anti-virus is up to date. Take a second to remind yourself of the environment you're working in.
2. Create a Culture of Cyber Security at Work
If you're in charge of your technology - own it! Make sure you and your company is doing everything it can to protect your technology assets, proprietary resources, and information. If you're not the one in charge and this isn't happening - speak up!
3. The 80/20 Rule Applies to Cyber Security
20% of security safeguards are based on the technical while 80% rely on the user adhering to good computing practices. The house is only as safe as you make it when you leave. If you leave the door unlocked, windows open, and security alarm inactive you're begging for a robbery. Same thing with cyber secuirty. It's all about the user's awareness while connected.
4. Encrypt, encrypt, encrypt!
Keep in mind - anything that's sent unencrypted over the internet can be read by EVERYONE on the internet. Always make sure that no communications are sent via clear text!
5. Lower Your Security Rights
Yes, that's right LOWER your security rights. If you're setup as a local administrator on your machine, malicious software applications can install anything at any time on your machine. Reducing the rights you have during the times when you're connected the most (and using the Administrator login only when you need to install or configure something), is one of the best ways of protecting your machine from malicious software.
6. Don't be afraid to STOP!
If you suspect you've been infiltrated with a virus, malware, or ransomeware don't be afraid to stop what you're doing and immediately disconnect your machine from the internet. This is one of the fastest ways to minimize the damage should you be infected with something online.
7. Lock Down Your Systems
Always, always, always use a screensaver with a password to lock your computer, tablet, and smartphone. Make sure the autolock feature is set to the shortest time allowed. While it's a nuisance, it's one of the easiest ways to secure access to your information.
8. Hide Your Passwords
Keep your passwords your passwords. This means don't share anything with anyone. If you need to share your login with someone, change your password first, share it, then change it back. Don't give anyone enough information so that they can figure out what your password naming convention is or give them the keys to your castle (ie: now they know how to login to your Amazon account!). Don't email passwords. And while it goes without saying (I still feel compelled to say it), don't leave passwords on a Post-it note on your monitor!
9. Don't Open What You Don't Know.
As they say, curiosity killed the cat. Don't open an email when you don't don't who it's from. And when you think you know who it's from, make sure of it! There are tons of ways to "spoof" emails so that you think it's from someone you know, when it's really from a spammer or cyber criminal. And last, but not least, don't open ANY attachments unless you know for 100% sure it's ok.
10. Get Involved
- Use the National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015 hashtag #CyberAware in your social media messages.
- Join the weekly National Cyber Security Awareness Month Twitter Chat series on Thursdays in October at 3pm EST using #ChatSTC.
- See what National Cyber Security Awareness Month activities are taking place in your area.
- Find information on how your government, law enforcement, business, school, or organization can take action.
- Teach elementary, middle, and high school students about Internet safety and security.
- Post cybersecurity tips, news, and resources highlighting National Cyber Security Awareness Month on social media sites.
So there you have it. 10 great tips to stay safe while connected. As always, be #cyberaware!