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Cybersecurity and You: What You Need to Do to Stay Safe

In today’s world, cybersecurity has become a major concern for individuals and organizations alike. With cyber threats on the rise, it’s more important than ever to increase your cybersecurity awareness.

Here are six skills you can develop to make sure you stay safe:

1. Create strong passwords. It almost goes without saying but your online security is only as safe as the passwords you use. The best way to create a strong password is to follow these guidelines:

  • Use at least 16 characters. Shorter passwords are easier for hackers to crack.
  • Create passphrases. A passphrase is a series of words that is easy for you to remember, but hard for anyone else to guess. Some ideas could be a quote from your favorite media or a saying that inspires you.
  • Construct unique passwords. Each account should have a different password or passphrase. That way, if any account is jeopardized, your other accounts remain safe.

2. Whenever possible, utilize Multi-Factor Authentication. Multi-Factor Authentication is a security technology that requires users to enter more than a simple password. Along with your password, you may be asked to enter a code sent to your email or answer a security question. This adds an additional layer of protection to your account and can lower your risk of potential fraud.

3. Learn how to identify phishing attacks. Phishing is one of the leading threats facing organizations today. You can spot phishing attempts by looking for poor spelling and grammar, threating or urgent language, unexpected links or attachments, and email addresses with suspicious URLs. Use extreme caution when viewing unexpected emails because falling victim to phishing attempts may result in the following consequences:

  • You confirm to a hacker that you are a real person with a current email and that you are susceptible to further scams.
  • You could have your personal information stolen via webpages that look legitimate.
  • Hackers could hijack your session by intercepting the communication between your bank’s website and your computer. If this happens, the hacker has control of your ability to transfer money, passwords, and any stored personal data.
  • Your device could be infected with malware or ransomware. Malware is a type of code that corrupts your device and steals data. Ransomware encrypts data or locks systems until a ransom is paid. Corporations are particularly vulnerable to this type of threat.

4. Think like a scammer. Getting familiar with a scammer’s thought process will help you recognize when you’re being targeted. Scammers often try to use emotions against people by threatening or insinuating that an account has already been compromised. If anyone calls you asking for login credentials, always be cautious and find a way to verify their identity. One solution is to hang up and call the number directly listed on the company’s website to ensure your safety.

5. Report all incidents. If you are experiencing security threats while at work, make sure to report them to your organization right away.

6. Follow your company’s policy. Your company has security policies in place to protect the privacy of everyone they do business with – from employees to customers – by following these policies, you do your part in ensuring safety.

Developing these five skills will help you improve your cybersecurity awareness and protect yourself from potential threats. Remember to always stay vigilant and up to date with the latest security practices.

Source: Security Awareness News: February Edition