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  • Jeffrey Ransom

Cyber Awareness Month #PayAttention

Updated: Oct 19, 2022

Have you ever received an e-mail saying, “You’ve won a Massive Grand Prize!!!!” only to then be disappointed 10 lines later with the statement: “All you need to do to claim your prize is pay for the transfer fees of $1000! [It’s like they think we’re excited about this?]”. We all know what it feels like to read that one sentence and have disappointment fill our bodies, especially knowing that you’ve now got to cancel the big luxurious dinner you invited your parents to 5 minutes prior.

We’ve all been targets of these malicious cyber-attacks at one point or another. This is why Cyber Awareness Month was formed, to help ensure that everyone has the knowledge and resources they need to remain safe and vigilant in today’s ever-growing technological age.

Where did you get the photos? Like them, just worried about copyright issues. Why should I care? Cyber Awareness Month is a collaboration between the government and private industry to raise awareness about cyber security and to help empower people to protect their personal data from malicious acts of cybercrime. This was a movement started in the USA by the National Cyber Security Division and the non-profit National Cyber Security Alliance in October 2004 with the aim to raise awareness about the importance of cyber-security. Now in its 19th year, Cyber Awareness month is bigger than ever, helping people across the globe protect themselves from cyber-attacks. While there is usually a theme for every week of the month, this year it has been decided that they are focusing on four key behaviours: · Updating/patching devices and software · Recognising and reporting phishing · Using strong, unique passwords (paired with a password manager) · Enabling Multi-factor (MFA) / 2-Factor (2FA) Authentication

What can you do to protect yourself?

Patch/update your devices: One of the easiest ways to keep your information safe is to ensure all your apps, software, and devices are up to date with the latest updates/patches released by the company itself. The best practice is to activate auto-update wherever possible and be aware of the news about critical updates to ensure that you have protected yourself against significant threats.

Use strong, unique passwords: The general good practice to ensure you have a strong password is to ensure you use a minimum of 10 characters, and a mixture of upper case and lower letters as well as special characters (such as !,.?#%$). The most important part of ensuring a strong, secure password is to make each one unique and that you don’t share your password with anyone or store it insecurely.

Enable Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): MFA is a user-enabled security function that will require you to present a combination of two or more credentials to verify your identity to log in to your account. These credentials can be a mixture of 3 things – Something you have (a phone that receives a One-Time-Pin/OTP), something you know (Your password), or something you are (Your fingerprint or eye scan). Making sure that you have MFA enabled protects against many types of attacks (Especially Phishing).

Recognise & report phishing attempts: Phishing is a type of social engineering where an attacker will send you a fraudulent message designed to trick you into revealing sensitive information or to deploy malicious software onto your device. The golden rules are to verify before you click and report it when you are uncertain.

What happens when October ends?

Sadly, all the hackers don’t go into hibernation once the month of October ends, in fact, they do the complete opposite. Since 2013, it is estimated that 3.8 million records are stolen every single day [source: Norton Security]. It is also estimated that about 95% of all cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error [source: World Economic Forum].

You, as a human, are the most critical piece of cyber defense a company has. Simply by remaining vigilant and practicing safe cyber habits can decrease the number of hacks that are happening worldwide.

Now that you are aware of your cyber presence and the importance of your overall cyber security, it is of vital importance that you help spread the word and aid those around you all year. Together we can build a strong, healthy cyber-aware culture in the world and help defend each other from those malicious cyber-attacks we see daily. We, as a community, are stronger together!

To remain up to date with good security practices, be sure to look at the rest of our blog and leave us some feedback!

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