As people, we wear many hats: friend, parent, mentor, boss, ally and more. Why can’t one hat encompass being cyber secure?
This October, we celebrate National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). At Kaspersky, we champion cybersecurity every day, but NCSAM is a special opportunity to unite individuals, government organizations and businesses alike to ensure everyone has the tools they need to create and enable a safe online experience.
This year’s NCSAM theme is “See Yourself in Cyber. #BeCyberSmart.”
So much of the cybersecurity news cycle revolves around large-scale data breaches or hacks that it can feel overwhelming and that there’s nothing you can do about it. This theme is meant to highlight the “people” part of cybersecurity and all that individuals can do to do their part in keeping the online world safe. So what can you do?
Use Strong Passwords
Time and time again, we’ve been told not to use simple passwords like “password” or “123456,” but it’s hard to think of a unique pass word for each account. Most passwords require capital and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters to best protect against a hack, but how does someone remember all of that without writing it down somewhere? A tool like Kaspersky Password Manager can help store all of your account passwords while also generating new and unique secure passwords for your accounts. With a password manager, you only have to remember one super strong password to store all of your log-in information for various different accounts.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Okay, so you’ve got unique passwords and a password manager. What’s the next step in securing your data? Multi-factor authentication.
Take advantage of this! With multi-factor authentication, you can either receive a text with a verification code to log in, or you can use an authenticator app that will generate new one-time codes each time you log in. Security keys, or security tokens, are another option which use a physical USB drive to connect with your devices and provide identity access. By enabling multi-factor authentication, you can help prevent an attacker gaining access to the account or system even if there’s a password leak.
Recognize and Report Phishing
Phishing can take a number of different forms, but there are various ways that you can identify a phishing attempt. Email headings can be the first sign. If the email subject reads “You’ve won a million dollars!” or “Your account has been blocked,” it might be a sign it’s a scam. Cybercriminals launching phishing attacks want to drive the recipient to click on a link that leads to a phishing website and enter personal information.
So how do you spot these attempts?
- Check e-mails carefully for suspicious or dramatic subject lines, inconsistent sender addresses, mistakes or typos in the text and links in the text.
- Keep your guard up in messaging apps or social networks and avoid clicking links you suspect are suspicious.
- Stop and think before entering bank account information. Who is asking for it? Where are you entering it? Do you have a secure connection?
- Use reliable protection, such as Kaspersky Premium*, to help identify red flags and protect against phishing (and malware too!).
But spotting phishing attempts isn’t enough. Make sure to report these phishing attempts to your system administrator, organization, email provider, etc. By reporting phishing attempts, you can help others know what to look out for and help keep more people safe.
Update Your Software
Last, but not least, it’s important to keep your software up to date. It can be tempting to ignore software update notifications. We get it, you don’t want to interrupt whatever you’re doing for an update that could take an undefined amount of time. Cybercriminals are constantly looking for vulnerabilities in different software and apps, and while companies do patch these vulnerabilities as soon as possible, it’s up to you to install the update and secure yourself. If that seems like too much pressure, you can even automate your software updates.
Cybersecurity shouldn’t be an afterthought and NCSAM, as well as Kaspersky, is here to remind everyone of that. It’s easy to do your part and help protect your portion of cyberspace. Use this month as an opportunity to analyze your online behavior, make it more secure and educate your friends, family and colleagues on how they can impact cybersecurity as well. The Kaspersky Daily blog is a great resource for the latest cybersecurity news, as well as the tips and tricks you can implement to stay safe in the constantly evolving online world. Remember, to #BeCyberSmart, you must #BeIdentitySmart.