October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!
We here at Lighthouse IT Solutions will once again be joining to raise awareness of digital threats and offer knowledge on how to protect yourself from said threats. So the best way to start doing that is to go through the common cyber-security threats!
One of the most common methods hackers employ in breaching networks and stealing secure information is phishing attacks, which is when they disguise their malicious websites or emails as legitimate ones. We have discussed phishing before and will again in more detail next week.
Hackers are constantly looking for exploits in systems that they can abuse to access data they shouldn't have access to. Thankfully developers are also on the lookout for these exploits. Whenever one is found, they spring into work to patch the vulnerability. However, a patch is only helpful if implemented, so a vital step in cyber-security is ensuring that all your software and hardware are up to date with the latest updates.
Another common security vulnerability is one that most people create themselves, that being weak passwords. It is a hassle to have to make and remember dozens of passwords, but it is also important. Many users reduce the strain of managing their passwords by making them simple or reusing the same password across multiple accounts. However, this is poor practice as it makes hacking into these accounts significantly easier. Simple passwords are easy for hackers to guess or brute force their way through, and if they are shared across multiple accounts, the hacker only needs to figure it out once.
While many appreciate the convenience of free Wi-Fi that many institutions offer, it does not truly come with no costs. Public Wi-Fi is insecure because it is public; if anyone can access it, then anyone can monitor it and the traffic going across it. This train of thought can apply to individual websites as well. If a website has HTTPS instead of HTTP at the start of the address, then that means that your connection to that website is secure. You should always make sure you have both a secure internet connection and a secure website connection when working with sensitive information online.
One last easy step you can take to protect your data is to use antivirus software. There are plenty of free options that will monitor your computer, looking for suspicious activity that could be an indicator of an infection. Additionally, a well-programmed firewall can help protect your device as well.
Finally and possibly the most crucial element in cyber-security is what we are doing right now, educating people on how to be cyber-secure. Everyone in an organization must be aware of the role that they play in protecting the organization's data. It only takes a single breach in security for a hacker to compromise an entire network, so everyone must do their part and practice good cyber-security habits. Your network is only as strong as it's weakest link.
We highly recommend you get our Cybersecurity Essentials for Business Owners to understand the state of cybersecurity in today's climate.
Remember: Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.