October isn’t just for pumpkin spice lattes and Halloween decorations. It’s also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month! In an age where our lives are becoming increasingly digitized, cybersecurity has never been more essential. Over the next month, MCSnet is here to help guide you through all things cyber and provide some education about the cyber threats we face every day.
Tips for Getting Cyber Safe
Ensure your operating system, software, and applications are updated regularly. Often, these updates include patches for security vulnerabilities that have been discovered since the last version.
Opt for complex passwords that combine uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special symbols. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts and consider using a password manager to keep track.
Where possible, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA). This provides an additional layer of security, ensuring that even if someone knows your password, they can’t access your account without a second verification method.
Be Wary of Suspicious Emails and Links
Phishing remains a common cyber threat. Always check the email address of the sender, and avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading attachments from unknown sources. You can report suspicious text messages to 7726.
Secure Your Home Network
Change the default username and password on your router. Consider setting up a guest network for visitors so they don’t have access to your main network where your devices might be connected.
Use a VPN
If you’re using public Wi-Fi, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). A VPN encrypts your internet connection, making it harder for cybercriminals to intercept your data. We suggest OpenVPN.
Regularly backup your data, both physically and in the cloud. If something goes wrong, like a ransomware attack, you’ll be grateful to have an untouched copy of your data to restore.
Educate Yourself and Others
Invest in Security Software
Use reputable antivirus and anti-malware software to protect your devices. They can detect and remove a wide range of threats before they inflict damage. If you have Windows installed on your computer, you are all set with Windows Security Essentials.
Limit Social Media Exposure
Be careful about what you share online. Cybercriminals often use information from social media to craft personalized phishing attacks or to guess security questions
The folks over at GetCyberSafe.ca have a lot of great resources for Cybersecurity Month and an online quiz to see if you are being cyber safe. By following these tips and keeping alert to existing cyber threats, you will be able to sip your pumpkin spice latte in peace knowing you are cyber secure.
Stay tuned to future articles this month focussing on Tech Tips for Businesses, Tips for Avoiding Online Scammers, and Top Cybersecurity Threats Facing Rural Internet Users.