While October is commonly known for the awareness and prevention of all forms of bullying, it’s also a month to observe Cybersecurity Awareness. It serves as a reminder of the digital threats we face and the importance of effectively protecting ourselves online.
Why Cybersecurity Awareness Matters
The digital age has changed how we live, work, and connect with others, but it has also given cybercriminals new opportunities. With the abundance of cyber threats we now face, it’s very important for people to be well informed and cautious.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month was created to remind us how important it is to be proactive about online security. It aims to teach people about digital threats, promote safer online behaviour, and make everyone accountable for their online safety.
Best Cyber Safety Practices
- Stay Informed: Cybersecurity awareness begins with understanding the ever-evolving digital threats we face. Regularly reading cybersecurity news, blogs, and reports is essential to keep yourself updated.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA): 2FA adds an extra layer of security by requiring two forms of verification before granting access to your accounts. This could be a password and an additional code from an authentication app, email, or text message.
- Regular Software Updates: Keeping your operating system and software up to date is crucial. Updates often contain security patches for known vulnerabilities that cybercriminals exploit. By maintaining your software, you reduce your exposure to these threats.
- Beware of Phishing: Phishing attacks use deceptive emails, websites, or messages to trick you into revealing sensitive information. Be cautious about clicking on unfamiliar links or providing personal data to unsolicited requests.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN): A VPN encrypts your internet connection, making it more challenging for cybercriminals to intercept your data. It’s an excellent tool for protecting your online privacy, especially when using public Wi-Fi networks.
- Regular Backups: Data loss can occur due to various reasons, including cyberattacks. Regularly back up your data to an external device or cloud service to ensure you can recover it in case of a breach, hardware failure, or lost or stolen devices.
- Lock Down Your Social Media Profiles: Review your privacy settings on social media platforms to ensure that you are sharing information only with those you know and trust. Cybercriminals often use information from social media pages to craft convincing phishing attacks.
Setting a Strong Password
One of the most basic yet critical aspects of cybersecurity is using strong, unique passwords for your online accounts. Passwords are the keys to your digital life, and creating strong ones is vital to safeguarding your online accounts.
A strong password should be complex and not easily guessable. Avoid using common words, phrases, or information that is easy to find, like birthdays, names, or the word “password”. Instead, opt for a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Longer passwords are more secure. Aim for a minimum of 12 characters. A phrase or sentence can be a great choice, as it’s easy to remember and difficult to crack.
Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. If a cybercriminal compromises one account, they could potentially gain access to others. Use a unique password for each account or consider using a reputable password manager, such as LastPass, to generate and store strong, unique passwords. Never share your passwords with others unless necessary, and never write them down in easily accessible places.
Lastly, you should regularly review your account activity. Look for any suspicious activity or unfamiliar logins. Most online services provide tools to help you monitor your account’s security.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October serves as a reminder to check in with your digital security and adopt best practices to protect yourself from online threats. Remember that cybersecurity is an ongoing process, and by following these practices, you’ll be better equipped to safeguard your digital world.