NCSAM 2019: Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility
If we were to record a time-lapse of cybersecurity awareness over time, it would reveal an exponential curve driven by news headlines of privacy breaches and data misuse. In today’s fast-paced digital environment, the most practical solutions for securing organizations and users are often clouded by bright shiny objects. Recognizing this trend, the theme for this month’s 16th annual National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is: “Own it, Secure it, Protect it”. Follow along as the ID Agent team breaks down the basics and outlines how cybersecurity is truly a shared responsibility for us all, as consumers, SMBs, and MSPs.
You are what you consume
In the wake of the heavily publicized Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, it’s no secret that even seemingly innocuous information in our digital profiles is incredibly valuable to hackers. To make matters worse, it is constantly being exchanged on the Dark Web in order to be exploited in the near future. Social media is a double-edged sword, enabling us to innovate and communicate at rapid speeds, but also inviting cybersecurity threats that can compromise personal data. How can we strike the right balance?
OWN IT. By understanding your digital profile, keeping privacy settings updated, and monitoring applications, you can take control of your personal information. Vigilance becomes increasingly relevant as we begin to see more social engineering methods, where fraudsters will take the guise of someone you trust in order to siphon your friend’s, family’s, or company’s data.
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There’s brilliance in simplicity
Did you know that the first computer password ever was developed in 1961? Passwords and passphrases may have a brief history, but when implemented correctly, they have the potential to stand the test of time. Below are best practices from the vantage point of users and businesses so that you can SECURE IT:
- Stretch out – Years of research proves that shorter passwords are easier for hackers to break. The National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) recommends that passwords be anywhere from 8 to 64 characters long.
- Gamify the experience – As a child, did you ever let your imagination wander and invent languages or words? Well, now’s your second chance. Mixing and matching languages confuses hackers and keeps your information off cracked lists. Try Elvish!
- Think bigger – Remembering a series of random numbers and letters that amount to 64 characters long seems almost impossible. But what if you were to build a sentence or phrase that was easy to remember? Pick your favorite lyrics to a song, but don’t forget to substitute some letters with numbers.
- Multiply your security – Enabling multi-factor authentication should be offered and even imposed by all organizations. Two locks are better than one.
- Keep an eye out – If you’re looking for to remind your users of how special they really are, look no further than biometrics. By matching your customers by signature, fingerprint, or iris scan, you can ensure a secure, seamless experience.
A stitch in time saves nine
If we examine data protection from a birds-eye view, best practices can be boiled down to instilling the spirit of proactivity. Updating to the latest security software, installing protocols and safeguards for maintaining information on a “need-to-know” basis, and staying away from public networks saves us from virtually joining the Dark Web and offers an opportunity to PROTECT IT. Coupling online methods with physical defenses, which can range from locks and badge checks to record shredding and restricted sharing, help facilitate an impenetrable cybersecurity posture.
Crawl before walking, walk before running
As the sophistication of fraud techniques and cybercriminals continues to rise, it’s tempting to match them by looking towards the solutions of tomorrow. However, seasoned security experts and gurus would advise you to consider the past and present before you’re ready to jump into the future. In other words, we must crawl before we can walk, and walk before we can run.
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Click here for access to more NCSAM resources and information! We’ve also created a free National Cybersecurity Awareness Month Toolkit to help you promote this important month!