October is National Cybersecurity Month

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As a collaborative effort between the government and the cybersecurity industry, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is held every October. The educational month helps raise awareness of how businesses and individuals can protect themselves online. With criminals, hackers, and other bad actors continually developing how they attack and gain access to systems and data, we must educate ourselves on the best ways to defend against it.

If you have questions about how to be more cyber secure, online practices you’ll want to avoid, or best practices for internet security, you can find plenty of suggestions on the NCSAM website. We’ll explore some of their advice below.

Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT.

This year, the key messages are to own the system we use and the data we share, to secure those applications and information, and to be aware of threats so we can protect ourselves. There are several major areas that NCSAM is focusing on, including citizen privacy, devices, and e-commerce.

Own IT for Cybersecurity

Whether you’re concerned about online privacy, social media, Internet of Things devices, or something else, “Own IT” is all about keeping your data secure:

  • Understand your digital profile. Digitization provides opportunities for innovation and modernization but also presents opportunities for cybersecurity threats. Understanding people, devices, applications and data is the first step toward an effective plan to keeping your organization secure.
  • Secure your network. When you’re adding IoT devices, such as a wearable device or wireless printer, make sure it’s securely connected to your network.
  • Update your privacy settings. When using social media, make sure you know who can view your posts, and remember, there’s no “delete” button on the internet.

Protect IT for Cybersecurity

It’s more important than ever to be aware of popular hacking approaches such as phishing, especially if you make purchases online:

  • Enable multi-factor authentication on all your accounts. Implement layered security to online accounts to keep information safe from attack. Add an extra step or two beyond a password at login to verify your identity.
  • Be aware of phishing attacks. Email or malicious websites are used to infect your machine with malware. Be cautious what you click on, especially if you’re then asked to enter sensitive information.
  • Identify e-skimming risks. Malware can be introduced into your e-commerce payment systems that steal customer data and credit card numbers.

Secure IT for Cybersecurity

Make sure you know about social media bots, theft and scams, and how to protect your digital home:

  • Be careful when you share your information on social media. Social media bots created for messaging and other applications are used on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Bad actors are known to create these bots, so be careful about the information you’re sharing within them.
  • Keep all your software up-to-date. Make sure you regularly update software. Especially important for operating systems like Windows and for applications like MS Office, updates offer patches and critical fixes that keep hackers out.
  • Be careful about the application you install on your phone. Only install apps on your phone from trusted brands and reputable app stores, like Google or Apple.

Of course, this advice is just the beginning of the steps you can take to protect yourself online.

Here at HID Global, we know how important it is for businesses to protect themselves. From advanced multi-factor authentication to managing the complete identity and access management lifecycle, see how our solutions protect an entire ecosystem of users, data and connected devices.

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John MacInnis is a Product Marketing Manager for Identity & Access Management Solutions (IAMS). He has a background in cybersecurity and has held product marketing, product management and technical marketing positions at Philips Healthcare, Cisco, Intel and Phoenix Technologies.