Held every October, Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a collaboration between the government and private industry to empower everyone to protect their personal data from digital forms of crime. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) work collaboratively throughout the year in support of Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
CISA and NCA will promote these four key cybersecurity behaviors throughout October. These behaviors are simple and actionable for both individuals and businesses and provide the basis for Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
CREATE STRONG PASSWORDS & USE A PASSWORD MANAGER
TURN ON MULTIFACTOR AUTHENTICATION
RECOGNIZE AND REPORT PHISHING
UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE
In today’s world most of us have gone from having a few passwords or just the same one for everything, to managing anywhere from 20 to 100!That’s a lot of memorizing!! Or a lot of sticky notes if that’s your current method of remembering! This is where a password manager can save you the trouble of having to remember all of your passwords and can also recommend strong, unique passwords and can store them all in one place! Although it is tempting to use easy to remember passwords such as your dog’s name spelled backwards or grandma’s middle name, n cyberspace that is like locking the door but leaving the key in the lock! The good news is that strong passwords are one of the easiest ways to protect your accounts and reduce the risk of stolen sensitive information, data, money and even your identity.
Here are some tips to strengthen your passwords:
Remembering long, unique passwords for every account in our lives is impossible. Rather than write them down or reuse weak ones, use a password manager. Password managers generate complex and unique passwords for you, store them all in one place and tell you when you have weak, re-used passwords, or compromised passwords. They can also automatically fill credentials into sites and apps using a secure browser plugin. You only need to remember one master password—the one for accessing the password manager itself. ( Tip: Create a memorable long “passphrase” as described above and NEVER write your master password down! Here are two free password manager’s to get you started: https://1password.com/ and although this one is a free trial it is an excellent one to try https://lastpass.com/families/trial
The next important step in Cyber Safety is Multi-Factor Authentication
MFA provides extra security by providing a secondary method confirming your identity when logging into accounts. MFA usually requires you to enter a code sent to your phone or email, or one generated by an authenticator app. Push notifications are also common methods of MFA. This added step prevents unauthorized users from gaining access to your accounts, even if your password has been compromised
FOLLOW THESE STEPS TO TURN ON MFA
Open your app or account settings
It may be called Account Settings, Settings & Privacy or similar.
Turn on multifactor authentication
It may also be called two-factor authentication, two-step authentication or similar.
Select an MFA method to use from the options provided. Examples are:
Receiving a code by text or email
Using an authenticator app: These phone-based apps generate a new code every 30seconds or so.
Biometrics: This uses facial recognition or fingerprints to confirm your identity
It is always hard to implement new habits but in this age of fraud and scams this is one to really step up your efforts to affect and encourage friends and family to do the same. At the very least your 401K’s , bank accounts, personal email’s, and possibly highly uses accounts such as Amazon should be protected with MFA.