When people traditionally think of October, they associate it with Halloween and the leaves turning color. However, it is also National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Cyber Security has become a major topic circulating in the news and mainstream conversation in the last few years. The most recent and high profile cyber breach appears to have come from Russia and other actors hacking the emails of the DNC and John Podesta and then leaking the information to Wikileaks and other news outlets. These leaked emails have the ability to seriously influence the election depending on what is written in them.
The cyber-attack that really seemed to kick off greater awareness was the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack back in November 2014. The hack leaked a lot of private, valuable information and also opened up threats of terrorist attacks against theaters who were planning to run the new movie, The Interview.
The next largest profile cyber-attack was reportedly carried out by Chinese agents on the U.S. government last year in 2015. This stirred up a lot of concern about how the government is protecting national secrets and created a major push to improve their security. It’s also worth noting as we enter the age of “the internet of things” the threat of critical infrastructure being hackable is a serious concern.
It’s important to understand for all of these high profile cyber-attacks, the level of security was quite high and yet these systems were still breached. The internet is becoming more connected with every aspect of our daily life rapidly. The need for cyber security is only going to grow as technology evolves. Individuals and businesses that do not invest in protection and practice good cyber security methods are putting themselves at risk for losing a lot of information and being exposed.
Today we want to share some simple steps that will help you improve security for both your work and personal information.
- Keep your machine organized and clean. Having an organized device makes it much easier to keep track of what is on it and whether it belongs. Make sure you’re regularly updating apps and security software on all of your devices. Updates help keep criminals from exploiting of weaknesses and stealing information.
- Enable Strong Authentication/2-Factor Authentication. Not all services that you have a login for will have this available, but many do and more are adding it. 2-factor authentication requires both a password and a special PIN which can be emailed or texted to you in order to log in. The second line can also be your fingerprint or a security question. Take advantage of these when possible!
- Use long, strong and unusual passwords. It’s been said before, but the more complicated the password, the better. Use numbers, symbols, lower case and upper case to really make it difficult. Also use different passwords for your various logins. If you have trouble remembering this, keep it written in a secure place not connected to the internet where people won’t recognize what it is or have access to it.
We hope you enjoy cyber security awareness month and are always glad to answer questions and provide consulting to clients worried about the strength of their cyber security.