Being cyber smart is the best way to protect yourself and others from cyber attacks. In honor of Cyber Security Awareness Month, Blue Team Alpha has compiled 5 simple tips to mitigate your cyber risk. Following these tips is easy, and free. Using all of these tips together can make a real difference for taking control of your online presence. But it’s important to keep in mind that no single tip is full proof on it’s own. Read on to learn 5 simple tips to mitigate your cyber risk that you can implement today.
1) Use strong passphrases/password manager
While it can be frustrating having to create a new and complex password for every account, it is essential for cyber security. Using strong and unique passphrase/passwords for each account makes it harder for attackers to access your account. If a hacker still manages to hack an account, having unique passwords stops the attacker from subsequently hacking all of your accounts.
There are a number of secure password managers that will remember passwords for you so that you only need to remember one master password for the password manager. Using a password manager is an easy way of keeping track and remember your passwords.
2) Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a second check to verify your identity when logging in to one of your accounts. MFA utilizes at least two pieces of information to prove your identity. The pieces of information must be from two different categories; something you know, something you have, and something you are. The most secure MFAs require all three.
MFAs make it more difficult for attackers with password cracking tools to break into accounts. Even if a bad actor hijacks your password, due the additional multiple methods of authentication, your account is protected from being compromised.
3) Perform software updates
Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system on devices is one of the best defenses against online threats. When a device prompts that it’s time to update the software, it may be tempting to simply click postpone, and ignore the message. However, postponing or ignoring updates can leave vulnerabilities for threat actors to take advantage of. So, don’t wait – update.
4) Do your research
Common sense is critical for good online hygiene. Before downloading new apps, software or tools onto your devices, research to make sure that what you are downloading is safe. Check who created the app, what the user reviews say, and if there are any articles published online about the app’s privacy and security features.
5) Check your settings
Set reminders to double check your privacy and security settings. It’s critical to be aware of who can access personal information on your devices. This extends from Google docs, to Zoom calls, and beyond. For meetings on Zoom, for example, create passwords so only those invited to the session can attend, and restrict who can share their screen or files with the rest of the attendees.
2021 has already seen more than a fair share of cyber attacks and breaches such as the SolarWinds and Kaseya breaches. There has also been high-profile attacks, like the attack on the Colonial Pipeline and other critical infrastructure. It’s evident that the number and sophistication of cyber attacks is growing. By taking preventive measures and making a habit of practicing online safety, you can decrease your odds of being hacked exponentially – and prevent lost time and money, as well as annoyance.