Cybersecurity has become one of the biggest hot topics both inside and outside of technology circles over the last two years. From securing learning devices due to a rise in digital learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, to coping with the fallout of high-profile breaches of national infrastructure such as the Colonial Pipeline, there is a seemingly endless news cycle dedicated to cybersecurity mishaps and concerns.
With all the jargon that is typically thrown around in relation to cybersecurity there is a longstanding misperception that cybersecurity is beyond everyday people and that it should be left to the professionals. In fact, everyday people have a huge role to play in cybersecurity threat prevention, detection, and remediation. For example, according to IBM, 95% of breaches have human error as a main cause; therefore, everyday technology users are the first line of defense when it comes to thwarting cybercrime.
Here are a few key best practices that anyone can implement today to enhance their own cybersecurity and create a more secure world for everyone.
Watch Out for Phishing
Phishing – when a cybercriminal poses as a legitimate party in hopes of getting individuals to engage with malicious content or links – remains one of the most popular tactics among cybercriminals today. In fact, 80% of cybersecurity incidents stem from a phishing attempt. However, while phishing has gotten more sophisticated, typos, poor graphics and other suspicious characteristics are still indicators of a “phish.” If you suspect a phishing attempt, then be sure to report the incident using the phish alert button. Doing so helps internal IT teams and service providers remediate the situation and prevents further victims.
Update Your Passwords and Use a Password Manager
Having unique, long, and complex passwords is one of the best ways to immediately boost your security posture. Password cracking is a regular tactic of cybercriminals to access sensitive information. If one repeats passwords between accounts, then a cybercriminal only needs to crack one password to access all accounts where it is used.
Granted, it can be tough to remember every account’s password. Fortunately, by using a password manager, individuals can securely store their unique passwords in one place. Plus, password managers can be incredibly easy to use and automatically apply passwords at a login screen.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) – which prompts a user to input a second set of verifying information – drastically reduces the chances of a cybersecurity breach. In fact, according to Microsoft, MFA is 99.9% effective in preventing breaches. Therefore, it is pivotal to enable MFA wherever possible to secure devices and accounts.
Activate Automatic Updates
Ensuring devices are running the latest software version is essential to closing vulnerabilities in the devices. Cybersecurity is an ongoing effort, and updates are imperative to address vulnerabilities as well as providing ongoing maintenance. Instead of manually checking for updates, enable automatic update installations whenever possible.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month Test Your Knowledge Competition
We invite you to show us what you know by entering our Test Your Knowledge: Cybersecurity Awareness Month edition.
Complete this activity to test what you know and receive an entry for a Bear Bucks award.
- Grand Prize: $1,000 BearBucks credit
- First Runner Up: $500 BearBucks credit
- Second Runner Up: $300 BearBucks credit
- Third Runner Up: $200 BearBucks credit
Head over to our competition page for more instructions about getting entered to win.