October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month – A Collaboration Between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA)
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), which is a collaborative effort between the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). NCSAM occurs each October to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity.
The mission of cybersecurity awareness month is to ensure businesses and individuals stay secure online. Awareness of cyber security includes learning about safe internet usage, learning to recognize scams and phishing emails, using software to protect smartphones, laptops, tablets, and desktop computers.
Cyber security awareness and training protects businesses, networks, employees, and individuals.
CISA has a lot of resources and information to supplement cyber security training programs. Visit the NCSAM 2019 webpage and the NCSAM 2019 Toolkit for ways to participate in National Cybersecurity Awareness month.
Although we should always be concerned about online safety, October is a good time to review cybersecurity policies, data privacy practices, social media account security, and internet safety at home and at work. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month can mean a month of training for employees learning how to identify phishing emails, and improving everyday device security, protecting sensitive while traveling on vacation or for business.
This month will feature a cybersecurity post every day with tips and how to secure electronic devices, personal data, secure credit cards and other payment information at work and at home.
Cybersecurity While Traveling Tips
Traveling for business and holidays can be a time when people are in a hurry to reconnect with loved ones or workplaces. Often, travelers aren’t exactly careful with how and when they use the internet. The temptation of free WiFi connections to save on mobile data charges or to get faster connection speeds, leads many mobile device users to connect to open and unsecured WiFi networks. When travelers login to any account and share sensitive information like email addresses, social media credentials, login into banking or shop online they put themselves at risk for identity theft and other online scams.
When traveling, people should be especially mindful of how they use the internet and what networks they connect their phones and laptops to at hotels, coffee shops, airports, vacation homes or any unfamiliar internet connection.
Almost everyone knows about the privacy concerns surrounding Facebook and other social media sites. But do you realize that many apps, games, and banking apps also track you everywhere you go? Google apps including Google Maps, Chrome web browser, and even YouTube track your location so they can sell your aggregate data to advertisers and study user behavior to improve their products.
Social Media Cyber Security
Although it may seem like social media it’s not a high priority privacy concern, it really is. People become lax in their use of social media accounts because they think there’s nothing in them that a hacker can use. But the reality is the information that people share openly on social media is often the answers to common password reset questions. When you give hackers solid data like your hometown, children’s names in tagged photos, parents’ names, pets’ names, where you were married, where you went to school, or announce birthdays you give hackers and scammers who scrape social media data with automated software a good start to stealing from you.
When you connect to unsecured WiFi in coffee shops, stores, airports or other public locations, you can give a hacker login credentials. Even without the proper login information, public posts might give hackers answers to your password reset questions by over sharing which, along with an email address, could be enough information for them to get into your banking accounts.
Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IOT) is a term for any internet-connected device that makes our home and business environment easier.
IOT devices include internet connected televisions, lighting systems, and sound systems. IOT devices need to use secured internet connections with strong usernames and passwords to protect them and the network they are connected to. Some IOT televisions can track viewing behaviors and then transmit that data back to manufacturers who sell it to advertisers.
Creating a Strong Password
Each year a study is put out with the most ommonly hacked passwords. If you haven’t seen it, check out this year’s list here.
Often, people use their passwords across multiple accounts including banking and social media. It’s almost impossible nowadays not to get hacked or compromised somehow. Creating a strong password that is unique to each online account or app and enabling multi-factor authentication can help secure credentials and protect your information.
A How-To Guide for Multi-Factor Authentication
Two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) is the practice of adding an extra step or more to gain access to any online account, hardware, or app. For example, you can have a social media accounts send a text message with a code to your phone to authenticate logins rather than just using a password. Biometric logins can be used as 2FA or MFA along with some other form of authentication.
Cyber Security at Work
Ransomware cyber attacks are an increasing risk for businesses. Enterprise ransomware increased by 12% last year. Corporate websites can give a hacker a lot of information about individuals in a company. Public data about employees supplies helpful contact details but also leaves the company open to scammers and hackers including W-2 fraud and BEC scams. So far, in 2019, over 30 governmental organizations and schools have been the victims of cyber attacks, specifically ransomware attacks. Learn how to identify suspicious behavior and secure your IT system.
How to Identify Phishing Emails
Most malware cyber attacks begin with a phishing email or spear phishing email. Learning how to identify a phishing email and adding spam filters to your email reader, like Outlook, can help protect your laptop or smartphone at your home and your work and protect IT systems from hackers.
Identity theft can start with something simple like a phishing email or an online account. In 2018, new account fraud totaled $3.4 billion in losses, and increase of $3 billion in 2017. Hackers can also steal tax returns, medical information, and social media profiles and eventually steal your identity. Identity fraud often results in credit cards loans and mortgages opened in your name.
According to the Federal Trade Commission internet scams account for millions of dollars of fraud each year and are on the rise. Internet scams include tax fraud, romance scams, spoof websites, and other online scams. Learn how to identify and report an internet scam.
Michelle writes about cyber security, data privacy focusing on social media privacy as well as how to protect your IoT devices. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years and owns METRONY, LLC. Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers