We’re into the first week of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) and I couldn’t be happier. I’m pleased that it’s not only that time of the year when individuals and businesses take cybersecurity a bit more seriously, but also because of the advice and training that I can provide with your cybersecurity education. Let’s take a look at some basics and how you can get your cybersecurity education on the right track.
CYBERSECURITY EDUCATION BASICS
There are some basics when it comes to cybersecurity education that is straightforward – providing that you adhere to them. Remember that cybersecurity non-compliance is often the root cause of a hacking event, data loss, network downtime, or identity theft. Yes, it’s gullible and foolhardy humans that are usually to blame and that is why cybersecurity education is pivotal in the prevention of cybercrime. Here are some tips to give your cybersecurity education a kick start.
You’ve heard this before but strong passwords are one of the first lines of defence against hacking. You can use a password checker such as How Secure Is My Password to see how long it will take to hack a password. For example fido1234 will take 1 minutes to hack, fido1234$, and $fido1234$abc, 12,000 years. And use different passwords for different accounts. You don’t need to remember them – simply use a password manager like LastPass – it’s free.
2 FACTOR AUTENTICATION (2FA)
2FA gives you an additional layer of security to use with your strong and unique passwords. eCommerce sites such as Amazon use one-time passwords (OTPs) for 2FA and many banks will text you a code before you can log in to your online account. You can enable 2FA on your mobile phone by installing free third-party apps like Google Authenticator or Microsoft Authenticator.
Statistics show that 1 in every 101 emails are malicious. Cybercriminals often spread malware via attachments in phishing emails or redirect you to a dangerous site when you click on a link. Demonstrate your cybersecurity education by not opening these emails, clicking on any suspicious links or downloading anything. Check the sender’s email address, check spelling and grammar. Remember that if it looks real, it’s probably not!
This is pretty obvious but sometimes we all need a gentle reminder. Your data is incredibly vulnerable without up-to-date and continuously updated anti-virus and anti-malware. Most operating systems have built-in security such as Windows Defender and macOS Big Sur. If your critical data is highly sensitive, you could get additional protection using Malwarebytes or Comodo Antivirus.
BEYOND THE BASICS
If you honestly want to get your cybersecurity education up to speed, then go beyond the basics. Here are some other stringent measures that you can take to ensure that your data stays out of harm’s way:
- encrypt files when transferring and storing
- use browser extensions to block malicious sites and harmful downloads
- delete files from your PC that don’t serve any purpose or that are linked to malicious activity
- enable encryption using BitLocker for Windows 10
- don’t be lazy – manually complete login forms and don’t log in via existing third-party platforms such as Facebook, Gmail or LinkedIn
- don’t share information via non-secure HTTP sites
- even HTTPS sites aren’t necessarily safe – click on the padlock to see if a website has installed an extended validated (EV) SSL certificate – this requires companies to go through a rigorous identity verification process so it means that they are reputable
AN EXTRA LAYER TO YOUR CYBERSECURITY EDUCATION
Are you still not confident about how you should approach cybersecurity education? No worries. I have more than 20 years of experience in professional business IT management, data protection and risk mitigation. Ask anybody who knows me, and they’ll tell you that cybersecurity is my passion and my calling. Contact me for all your cybersecurity education and training needs. You won’t be disappointed.