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October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Is Your Company Secure?

October 7, 2022

Cybersecurity Awareness Month reminds us that we are all vulnerable to cyberattacks every October. Since 2004, this date has been set aside to evaluate our current security posture and reconsider how we use our personal and business data on an everyday level. Businesses usually expect increased traffic during the holidays, so hackers often focus their attention on unsuspecting individuals who may be too busy to double-check everything they're doing online. While protecting yourself against hackers is important, you don’t have to do everything alone. Here are some basics of cybersecurity for protecting your network and keeping your data safe.

THE HUMAN FIREWALL - THE FIRST LINE OF DEFENSE

Yeah, it's you. Phishing is one of the most common exploits because it works. All it takes is a little effort to prevent these scams from happening. Think before you click; hover over hyperlinks before following them. Don’t give out personal information over email without checking the sender’s email address.

If an email starts out with the following quotes, it's likely a scam:

"We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below, and confirm your identity."
"During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your
information. Please click here to update and verify your information."
"Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call
us within 7 days to receive your refund."

PLAY HARD TO GET WITH YOUR INFORMATION

Never send sensitive documents via unsecured networks or public Wi-Fi hotspots. Keep your computer’s firewall turned on and updated. Don’t open suspicious attachments or emails. Be careful about what you post online—don’t include social security numbers, financial information, or health records. This can even include other public information that you may willingly include in social media profiles like your job or location. Even seemingly harmless personal details like this can be used by hackers to create a profile of yours for later reference. While these steps may seem obvious since you've likely read them before, this is still one of the leading causes of information breaches, so it's worth examining. iTecs offers cybersecurity and phishing training that can prevent revenue loss from breaches. Schedule a consultation today.

UPDATE YOUR SOFTWARE 

An alert pops into the bottom right-hand side of your computer screen during your workflow; it could be an update for a piece of software you use daily. While the temptation is to let it lie until you have time for it, don't forget to update your software as soon as possible. Use up-to-date anti-virus software, operating system patches, and applications. Make sure that you're using software that is approved by your organization; you may unknowingly download a trojan horse in your search for a useful tool. If possible, install security updates automatically. This isn't just to make sure you have the newest features available, these updates ensure that any exploitations or vulnerabilities that have come out lately have been patched. At the latest, update before you leave your computer at the end of the day. Your poor workstation needs a good night's rest, too. 

CONTROL PHYSICAL ACCESS TO YOUR WORKSTATION

If you step away from your desk, you have no idea what happens while you're gone. Even a quick bathroom break can open your computer to a hostile workplace actor. It may seem unlikely, but this is one of the easier ways to access information - it allows the bypass of login passwords, and just a quick flash drive plug-in can leave your data at risk. The new intern could be an industry competitor in disguise or someone looking to sell the information you keep. With just a few clicks you can log out of your computer and prevent a scenario like this from happening.

IF YOU CONNECT IT, YOU MUST PROTECT IT

Any connected device that is tethered to your computer by USB, Bluetooth, etc. is an inroad to your information. If you're working from home and stopping by a cafe or hotspot remember that you're subject to attack through these open ports. A periodic check of connected devices can mean the difference between safety and a breach.  

USE A STRONG PASSWORD OR PASSPHRASE

A strong password is great. The best ones are so obscure that they're almost totally meaningless and are kept in a secure third-party Password Manager for use when you want them. Well, that's fine, but if you're away from the device you normally use for accessing your accounts, then you won't be able to log into them. A good compromise between something complicated and something easy to remember can be a memorable phrase with special symbols and numbers. It satisfies the requirement of being difficult to guess or brute-forced by attackers, while at the same making it easy for you to memorize because it's based off something silly you used to say when you were younger. Good security can be fun! 

THE BOTTOM LINE

Here's why you need to care. Recent FTC data shows that consumers reported losing more than $5.8 billion to fraud in 2021, an increase of more than 70% percent over the previous year. With the rise of remote working environments, there has been an increase in the number of exploita­tion vector opportunities for cybercriminals. iTecs understands that security is important in today’s evolving workplace landscape. We provide mobile device management, employee monitoring, and endpoint detection and response services that ensure the security of your personal and business data. Fixing these holes before they turn into security vulnerabilities will help keep your business out of the FTC's annual list of companies that were victims of cybercrime. Don't become next year's statistic! Take the opportunity this October to protect yourself against cyberattacks.

 

 

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