In 2004, Congress and the President of the United States officially declared the month of October Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This dedicated month serves as a reminder for both public and private sectors to come together and emphasize the importance of cybersecurity. Every year since then, Cybersecurity Awareness Month continues to be observed.
In a collaborative effort, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) have joined forces to provide valuable resources and messaging to organizations. These resources are designed to assist in conversations with employees, customers, and members about the vital task of staying safe online.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023: 4 Steps to Online Safety
2023 is a significant milestone, marking the 20th annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month. To commemorate this occasion, CISA is unveiling a brand-new awareness program. This initiative revolves around four straightforward steps that every American can take to bolster their online security. These actions should be integrated into our daily digital routines, not just actions to be observed during Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
1. Use Strong Passwords & a Password Manager
It’s difficult to overemphasize the importance of having a strong password for every online account. To maximize protection, your passwords should be long, random, unique, and contain a mix of uppercase letters, lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. However, managing these complex passwords for multiple accounts can be daunting. That’s where password managers come to the rescue. They not only help generate and store strong passwords but also simplify the process of logging into your various accounts securely. Many are available as free with your browser or low-cost browser extensions.
2. Turn on Multifactor Authentication
Unfortunately, as helpful as secure passwords are, relying solely on them for account security isn’t enough. Multifactor authentication (sometimes abbreviated MFA) provides an extra layer of defense. By enabling MFA, you significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to cyberattacks. Ensure MFA is active on all your online accounts that offer it, particularly on email, social media, and financial platforms. For added security, consider using authentication apps or hardware tokens.
3. Recognize & Report Phishing
Phishing attacks, whether through emails, text messages, or phone calls, remain the primary avenue for data breaches. Stay vigilant when encountering unsolicited messages or calls requesting personal information. Avoid sharing sensitive data or login credentials unless absolutely necessary, and never click on links or open attachments from unknown sources. Verify the authenticity of such requests by reaching out through a trusted channel. If you suspect a phishing attempt, promptly report it to the relevant authorities or your company’s IT department. Equip yourself with the knowledge to spot phishing signs and protect your data and devices.
4. Update Your Software
Regular updates ensure that you have the latest security patches and improvements on your devices. If automatic updates aren’t available, make it a habit to check for updates manually. Keep your operating systems, antivirus software, web browsers, and applications current to minimize vulnerabilities and enhance your overall digital security.
Taking Online Security Seriously
As we approach the 20th Cybersecurity Awareness Month, these four simple steps serve as a powerful reminder that our online safety is a responsibility we all share. Incorporating them into our daily routines can go a long way in fortifying our digital defenses.
However, these security steps don’t fulfill all your legal obligations on their own. Protecting data from external threats is only one part of ensuring customer data privacy. But we can help. Our flagship software, 4Comply, lets you keep track of all privacy laws that apply to your company and ensure that you’re using customer data properly while keeping it secure. Get in touch with us today to schedule a demo and take the next step in online security.