National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, it is important to establish online habits that keep your workplace and your home safe from unwanted intrusion and theft. According to the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the first three months of 2020 saw a 20% increase in cyber fraud as criminals took advantage of the global pandemic. Here are some tips to be cyber smart:

Workplace safety

CISA reports that in 2019, U.S. businesses had a 17% increase in data breaches, and that cybercriminals often rely on human error – employees failing to install software patches or clicking on malicious links – to gain system access.

Treat business information as personal information. Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary data. While you may think of trade secrets and company credit accounts, it also includes employee personally identifiable information through tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.

Don’t make passwords easy to guess. As “smart” or data-driven technology evolves, it is important to remember that security measures only work if used correctly by employees. Smart technology runs on data, meaning devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers, and other devices are constantly exchanging data to complete tasks. Take proper security precautions and ensure correct configuration to wireless devices in order to prevent data breaches.

Be up to date

Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it and set your security software to run regular scans.

It only takes one time. Data breaches do not typically happen when a cybercriminal has hacked into an organization’s infrastructure. Many data breaches can be traced back to a single security vulnerability, phishing attempt, or instance of accidental exposure. Be wary of unusual sources, do not click on unknown links, and delete suspicious messages immediately.

At home

Secure your Wi-Fi Network. Your home’s wireless router is the primary entrance for cybercriminals to access all of your connected devices. Secure your Wi-Fi network and your digital devices by changing the factory-set default password and username.

Double your login protection

Enable multi-factor authentication 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 MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring.

If you connect, you must protect

Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense is to stay on top of things by updating to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. If you have the option to enable automatic updates to defend against the latest risks, turn it on. And, if you’re putting something into your device, such as a USB for an external hard drive, make sure your device’s security software scans for viruses and malware. Finally, protect your devices with antivirus software and be sure to periodically back up any data that cannot be recreated such as photos or personal documents.

For more information, visit www.cisa.gov/cybersecurity.