October is Cybersecurity Awareness month and we’re kicking it off with 8 cybersecurity tips that you can start utilizing today!
Tip #1: Encrypt Sensitive Data in Your Emails
If you need to send sensitive information, it’s important to encrypt data that’s attached to your emails. In the event that a third party can intercept an email, encrypted information is much less likely to be compromised.
Tip #2: Use Public Wi-Fi with Caution
If you decide to relocate your virtual office to a public space like a coffee shop or shared workspace, it’s crucial that you utilize a secure internet connection. Public wi-fi, especially that which is not password protected, is not secure and can easily be infiltrated.
Some options when using wi-fi outside of your home or office include:
- Activating a personal hotspot from your phone or personal computer.
- Use a VPN (virtual private network), which provides a secure connection to different services (web pages, email, a SQL server, etc.).
- Establish encrypted remote connections to a remote desktop or other individual servers.
Tip #3: Keep Work Data on Your Work Computer
It may not seem like a big deal if you do some work on your personal computer, but in some cases, it can be. If your company has a dedicated IT person or team, it’s likely this person or team is sending important updates to your computer, regularly running antivirus scans, and blocking malicious sites. In other words, your work computer may have preventative work and maintenance done on it to help keep you safe and protected online. Unless you’re diligently doing the same at home, your personal computer may not be as well protected.
If antivirus scans and software are not running regularly in the background, then what you’re doing online could be intercepted by a third party. Depending on what you’re doing, accessing work documents or backend sites on your home computer could be putting your company and its network at risk.
Tip #4: Avoid Email Scams and Phishing
Remain vigilant of potential scam emails, either by unknown addresses or by scammers posing as people/businesses you know. Once a scammer gains your trust or injects an undetected virus into your computer, they may try to steal important information such as passwords, account numbers, or your Social Security number.
Tip #5: Don’t Leave Your Laptop Unattended
It may be tempting to do so, but never leave your laptop out in the open when working somewhere other than home. This could include keeping it in the car, on a table, or anywhere unattended. You never know who may be watching and waiting to take your belongings when you walk away.
Tip #6: Be Selective When Using USB Flash Drives
You may have various thumb drives sitting around that you’ve acquired over the years. If you can’t remember where it came from, think twice before using it. Do not continue to use one if you have plugged it into a system for whose safety you can’t vouch for.
Tip #7: Use a USB Data Blocker When Charging at a Public Station
If you find yourself somewhere that you have access to a public charger, like a shared workspace, consider using a USB Data Blocker to prevent data exchange and guard against malware.
Tip #8: Keep your Passwords Safe
Make sure that you keep your computer, email, and important documents safe and secure. To do so, you may want to consider using a password-saving tool, such as LastPass or Dashlane. These third-party tools allow you to safely store passwords you typically use online, saving you the headache of having to remember multiple passwords across various sites.
When it comes to password creation and maintenance, there are a few tips you can follow to help keep your accounts secure:
- Don’t use real words
- Don’t use personal information
- Create long passwords
- Change passwords regularly
- Don’t type them on public devices
Stay tuned for more resources we’ll be sharing throughout the month that will help keep yourself and your company’s information safe online.