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Do Your Part, #BeCyberSmart

by Madelyn McConnell

Would you leave for an overnight trip with your front door wide open? Never! Your home holds your most valuable and personal possessions. Just as you protect the security of your home, you should also protect your online information. Especially now as we live our lives increasingly online, you may be more susceptible than you think.

For the National Cybersecurity Alliance’s Cyber Security Month, we are getting our cyber-self-defense basics down. Some easy measures can go a long way to keep you, your data and your network safe.

Cybersecurity Basics

  • For each account, make a long, unique passphrase. Length is better than complexity when it comes to passphrases: they should be at least 12 characters long. And try using a positive phrase or sentence, something that makes you happy to remember. You’ll get a daily boost when you type it in.
  • Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA), like biometrics or one-time codes, to ensure that you are the only person who has access to your account.
  • Stay up to date. Keep the software on all your devices — personal computers, tablets and smartphones — updated to the latest version. This keeps your devices protected against ransomware and malware.

Beware of Phishing (Not the Fun Kind)

No, we’re not headed out to the lake: we’re talking phishing with a ‘ph’. Phishing is the cybercriminal tactic of impersonating a reputable source in order to get you to engage and share information, such as passwords or credit card numbers. Phishing accounts for 80% of reported security incidents.

A simple rule: when in doubt, throw it out. If you receive any kind of online message or advertisement that makes you hesitate, just junk it! Getting people to click unknown links is the easiest way for cybercriminals to operate. And make sure to report any suspicious content that you receive.

Join us this Cybersecurity Month and #BeCyberSmart. Spend some time now learning the basics, securing your devices and updating your passwords. A little work now will prevent major headaches in the future. And not only will it keep you safe, but it will also keep everyone in your network safe, as well.

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