In celebration of Cyber Security Awareness Month, we’re bringing you this checklist to make sure you stay #CyberAware not only in October but all year long.
✔ Update your passwords.
According to National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Be sure to customize your passwords for different sites, which can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach.
TIP: Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts.
✔ Reinforce your login protection with multi-factor authentication.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in.
✔ If you connect, you must protect.
Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software.
✔ Stay vigilant for things that look “phishy.”
Cybercriminals 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.
✔ Be careful what you share on social media.
Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Be sure to disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are – or where you aren’t – at any given time.
✔ Don’t let apps run amok.
Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use — and only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
✔ Stay protected while connected.
Stop and think before you connect to any public wireless hotspot – like at an airport, hotel, or café. If you do use an unsecured public access point, practice good internet hygiene by avoiding sensitive activities (e.g., banking) that require passwords or credit cards.
TIP: A personal hotspot is often a safer alternative to free wifi.
✔ Back up sensitive data.
Make electronic and physical back-ups or copies of all important files and work. Data can be lost in many ways, including computer malfunction, malware, theft, viruses, and accidental deletion. It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to backing up your data.
✔ Report suspicious activity right away.
Any suspicious emails, phone calls, messages, or network activity should be reported to your IT department as soon as possible. Always follow your IT department’s reporting protocol, and never click or open any malicious-looking emails or files.