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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM). The goal of CSAM is to help Canadians stay cyber-safe by equipping them with knowledge through the following four themes:

This week’s theme, “Prevention” focuses on 5 actionable steps to prevent becoming a victim of cybercrime.

Tip #1: Use Strong and Unique Passphrases and Passwords

Did you know that at least 65% of people reuse the same passwords across multiple sites? Although this makes remembering your credentials easier to do, this also makes your accounts vulnerable to cyberattacks.

By creating complex passphrases and unique passwords for each site you use, you instantly tighten up your security, making your accounts less attractive to hackers. Some best practices for creating complex passphrases include:

  • Avoiding family, pet, company, and familiar names that can be easily guessed by others
  • Using unique combinations of letters, numbers, symbols, and cases for each site you use
  • Creating passwords with at least 4 words and 15 characters long

Tip #2: Use A Password Manager

Our passwords protect the things that are important to us, such as our financial information, our social media accounts, and more. But with all the platforms and websites we actively use, it can be difficult to keep track of unique and complex passwords for each platform.

Password managers such as Google Password Manager and LastPass can help you create complex passphrases and store them so that you never forget a password again.

Tip #3: Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)

Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is an added layer of security that is catered to you so that only you can access your accounts and private information. This dual layer of security is simple to implement and consists of two or more independent credentials to verify you are who you claim to be. Three of the most common credentials consist of what the user knows (password), what the user has (security token) and what the user is (biometric verification).

Some common forms of MFA include:

  • Fingerprint scanners
  • Voice verification
  • Facial recognition
  • Security questions
  • PIN numbers
  • SMS authentication
  • App-based authenticators
  • Hardware tokens

Implementing MFA is an excellent way to add an extra security layer to your system. Did you know that by adding something as simple as MFA to your accounts, you can protect yourself from 100% of automated bots, 96% of phishing attacks, and 76% of targeted attacks?

In short, MFA works to prevent malicious activity on your network, keeping your sensitive data safe and secure. We suggest you allow MFA everywhere it can be used and if you don’t have the capabilities perhaps it’s time to invest in a little extra digital security.

Tip #4: Regularly Backing Up Your Important Data

Your important data is important! Be sure to keep it safe on your devices so that it does not get lost, corrupted, or fall into the wrong hands. One of the best ways to keep your data safe is to regularly back up your important data.

There are many benefits to taking the time to back up your data, including:

  • Ensuring you always have a backup in case of a disaster such as a cyberattack or breaking your device
  • Freeing up storage space on your device
  • Protecting your special moments from accidental corruption

Backing up files is easy to do! You can back up your data physically and/or digitally. To back up your files physically, you’ll need an external device such as a USB stick or an external hard drive. Once your files are backed up physically, you’ll want to ensure that you keep your external device stored in a safe location.

To back up your data digitally, you can use a reputable online cloud server. There are many great options to choose from! Some online cloud servers offer free storage up until a certain amount, while others have subscription fees.

Whether you decide to back up physically or digitally, choose what works best for you.

Tip #5: Protecting Your Small Business Against Phishing Attacks

No business is too small to become a victim of a phishing attack. In fact, more than half of email scams and phishing attempts target small businesses.

Phishing is a common method that hackers will use to steal valuable information from both individuals and organizations. Phishing scams are often disguised as messages from people and organizations that you trust, making them easier to fall victim to.

It’s important for small businesses to take steps to protect their private and important information. The following are simple tips for small businesses to follow:

  • Only visit legitimate and trusted websites while working from a business computer or device used for business operations
  • Verify that you are only providing personal and business information to trusted sources
  • Always question why your personal information is required when asked for it
  • Do not remove or disable any security safeguards on your business network and devices such as anti-virus software

For more information about securing your small or medium-sized business, check out this guide from Get Cyber Safe.

Stay Cyber Safe

Whether it’s Cyber Security Awareness Month or any other day, always keep cybersecurity practices in mind to keep your cyber safe. For more information about CSAM, tune into our weekly CSAM articles for the month of October.

For all your cybersecurity needs, contact our security experts at AlphaKOR today!