This year, during October's Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the theme is "It's easy to stay safe online," where we are encouraged to focus on four key behaviors to stay safe online:
- Enable multifactor authentication.
- Use strong passwords and a password manager.
- Update software (and keep it updated.)
- Recognize and report phishing.
First, multifactor authentication allows you to protect yourself in multiple ways. MFA is sometimes called two-factor authentication or two-step verification. It is an important cybersecurity measure that requires you to prove your identity in numerous ways. Typically, this includes verifying your identity another way after entering your username and password. Examples include using a fingerprint or responding to a text message.
Second, establish strong passwords and use a password manager. Since passwords are the keys to your digital castle, regardless of which accounts they protect, create all passwords using three guiding principles:
- LONG (at least 12 characters long),
- UNIQUE (each account needs its own unique password) and,
- COMPLEX (one with upper and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters).
Third, keep your software and apps up to date. Doing this is one of the easiest ways to boost your cybersecurity. You may do yourself a favor by turning checking for software updates into a regular habit.
Fourth, phishing. This ploy's goal is for you to take the bait. Criminals use all kinds of tricks like fake emails, social media posts, or direct messages. All with the same goal of luring you to click on a bad link. Be aware that if you click on a phishing link or file, you can likely hand over your personal information to the cybercriminals. Click this link to learn about reporting phishing.
There are ways you can get involved to promote online safety. Post online safety tips and use the hashtag #CybersecurityAwarenessMonth! Share helpful information with your friends and family - even vulnerable groups like senior citizens. You may want to host a family "tech talk" and discuss how each family member plays an essential role in protecting their devices, accounts, and personal information. At work, share the importance of cybersecurity with your colleagues. And should you have been a victim, share your experience to encourage others to do what it takes to stay safe.
Since 2004, the President of the United States and Congress have declared the month of October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a dedicated month for everyone to work together to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity; let’s get involved!
Visit the government website for more information, and if you have found this post helpful, please share it with your friends and family.