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Easy Ways To Participate In The Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign
Your business faces significant cybersecurity threats each day. October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign helps your team and business address cyber threats and remain safe. Consider these easy ways you and your staff can participate in this awareness month and protect your business.
Toss Anything Suspicious
Evaluate every email attachment and all the links in your email, instant messages and online posts. If the attachments or links look suspicious, delete them immediately. Cybercriminals can insert damaging information into attachments and links and then gain access to your system. For security, evaluate and then toss suspicious content.
Passwords for every account should be long, strong and complex. The best passwords include a combination of letters, numbers and symbols. Give every account a different password that you change often, too, and never share or write down usernames or passwords.
Add a second layer of security to your password with strong authentication. It’s a one-time code that’s designed to verify that you actually own the accounts you want to access. Multi-factor authentication is available on most email, financial and social media accounts and improves security.
All computers and mobile devices should be cleaned regularly to remove potentially harmful information. In addition to removing cookies and cleaning the history and cache, update security software, the operating system and the web browser on devices that connect to the internet.
Make Backup a Priority
Backing up all your data both electronically and physically should become a habit that happens frequently throughout the day. This habit prevents costly data loss that can occur because of cyber theft, malware, viruses, computer malfunctions, or human error.
Guard your Devices
Train your staff to protect their devices from theft or unauthorized access. Computers, mobile phones and tablets should never be left unattended even for a minute. Also, lock devices when they’re not in use.
Report Suspicious Activity
Sometimes, you may experience a problem with your computer, question if a link is safe or receive phishing requests. Instead of blaming the problem on technology gremlins or ignoring it, report all suspicious activities to the IT Department. The professionals can fix the issue, offer sound advice for future safety and protect your business.
Share with Care
Only share essential information online. Personal and confidential details should not be sent through online channels. Use strict privacy settings, too, as another layer of information protection.
This October, celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month in several easy ways. Partner with the Stop.Think.Connect.™ Campaign as you protect your business from cybersecurity threats.
False Fears and Legitimate Threats
The main thing to keep in mind when comparing real threats to false flags: The most boring interpretation of the truth is usually the one that's closest to being correct.
Remember Y2K? Everyone was worried that turning our computer clocks over from 1999 to 2000 was going to crash the whole system and leave the world in chaos. Some companies even made a pretty penny by selling software that would make your system "Y2K compliant." Then what happened when the clock actually turned over? Absolutely nothing at all.
All that wasted time and energy spent fretting over something as simple as a change of date, and the world just kept on turning.
We need to be able to distinguish between a real threat and an imaginary threat for the simple reason that managing those threats demands that we draw upon finite resources. The team that you have chasing after false alerts are going to be too busy to handle actual threats to your data. Skilled cyber-security professionals are in short supply, which means that even if you have it in the budget to double your current cyber-security staff, the candidates might just not be out there. You might need to make it work with the people you already have on board, and that means spending less time chasing after false alarms.
Here are some steps we can take towards wasting fewer resources in cyber-security:
Let the software do its job
Preventive antivirus software is a good start, but it's also a good idea to cross-check with regular scans. This is common sense, but you'd be surprised at how many people don't do this. A prevention-only based approach is going to lead to longer infection dwell time.
Follow your security team's lead
You hire people so that you have less to do, and you've likely discovered that you tend to get the best results when you give your staff some breathing room and let them use their own judgment. Unless you're a cyber-security professional yourself, there's no reason to micromanage how your security team handles their responsibilities.
Don't stress about far-fetched threats
You probably don't have members of Anonymous working all day to crack your system. Don't stress about it.
The truth is that cyber-security is something that a good security team and some professional-grade software can manage. It seems like every few years the business world goes into a panic about Y2K or hackers or some supervirus ravaging systems across the globe. The truth is that leaked passwords and garden-variety malware are your main concerns.
Tips That Help You Avoid Being Tracked Online
Every time your employees perform an online search, advertisers collect and categorize that data and create targeted ads. To protect your employees’ privacy and prevent cybersecurity risks, follow several tips that help you avoid being tracked online.
Browse Privately with VPNs
Encrypt your connection with a virtual private network (VPN) and keep all your personal information private. A VPN connects you to one of its servers so you can browse anonymously.
Browse in Private or Incognito Mode
Every major web browser allows you to hide your browsing activity. Look for the spy in Chrome, “InPrivate” in Edge and IT, and mask in Firefox to ensure you’re browsing incognito. Remember, though, that this feature does not hide your browsing habits from your ISP, office firewall and routers with monitoring tools.
Use Third-Party Anti-Tracking Browser Extensions
Privacy Badger, Ghostery and Disconnect are three browser extensions that can prevent trackers from following your online search history. Research your options then install and use one to protect your privacy.
Change the Browser Cookie Settings
Advertisers use small files called cookies to record and store your online activities. For instance, they can track how often you see a particular ad, which websites you saw it on and the browser you used. Clear cookies from your web browser, delete third-party advertising cookies and limit or disable tracking to remove cookies.
Opt out of Ads
Choose not to receive targeted ads based on your online behavior when you opt out. Take this step on individual websites or use a browser extension with anti-tracking capabilities.
Check your Online Account Settings
Review the settings on your online accounts. Turn off personalized ad tracking to prevent websites from collecting and analyzing your search history.
See Who’s Tracking You
Do Not Track Plus, Privacyfix and Ghostery are three browser add-ons that allow you to see who’s tracking you on the websites you visit. After you have the information, you can opt out or limit access.
Read Agreement Documents
Instead of skimming or skipping the Terms of Service and Use Agreements for websites you visit or apps and software you install, read these documents. They contain details about which data the site collects. Some apps, for example, can access your contacts, GPS and other phone features.
Use a Private Browser on your Smartphone
In addition to protecting computers, anti-tracking tools protect smartphones, too. Firefox Focus blocks social trackers and erases browsing history and passwords at the end of each session. Chrome, Edge and Samsung also have incognito modes that enable private browsing.
Use these tips to avoid being tracked as you browse online. They prevent targeted ads and can help your company improve cybersecurity.
Tips to Combat Email Phishing Attacks
As many as one in five office workers fall prey to phishing incidents, but 14 percent of office workers don’t recognize phishing attacks. Learn more about phishing and how to combat attacks on your personal or company email.
What is Phishing?
Phishing is a scam that cybercriminals use to gain access to sensitive information. It often occurs via email. The cybercriminal will send you an email that looks official but actually includes spyware, malware or other malicious software. When you open the link or download the file from the email, the criminals can access confidential information like bank account information, your social security number and other data. In many cases, you never know that your information has been compromised.
How to Recognize a Phishing Email
Phishing emails are designed to look authoritative so that you will open them and give the cybercriminal access to your computer. While these emails often look like they’re from a real company, you can usually recognize them via five signs.
Before opening any email, look at the sender’s address. It may look similar to the official company’s address but could be slightly off. For example, it may use dot-net instead of dot-com or include a small spelling error like micrsoft or mircosoft.
Cybercriminals do a great job of imitating the graphics of popular companies. However, the logo, colors or design may be slightly off in a small way.
Spelling and Grammar Errors
Most companies and organizations employ a team of copywriters who write professional content that’s typically error-free. Emails with spelling or grammar errors, are possibly phishing schemes.
Email links are a cybercriminal’s primary phishing tool. You can hover your mouse over any links and verify that it matches the address of the email’s sender, a sign that the link is safe.
Cybercriminals use threats and fear to manipulate consumers. They may say that you will lose money, face criminal charges or suffer another devastating consequence if you don’t open the email. In most cases, these threats are meant to incite fear and get you to comply with their complicit wishes.
Steps That Protect Your Email
You can't prevent cybercriminals from targeting you. However, you can take steps to protect yourself.
Install spam filters and virus scans.
Learn to recognize phishing emails.
Only open email links from verified and trusted sources.
Delete any emails that look suspicious.
Train coworkers and associates to recognize phishing threats.
Purchase cyber insurance that protects you if you are a victim of phishing.
You can’t stop cybercriminals from targeting your email, but you can use these tips to protect yourself and your data.
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