We know you have questions and concerns about recent events in the news. One of those may be about cybersecurity. Am I or is our company more likely to come under attack? Am I at greater risk? We don’t have all the answers, nor do we know what will happen next. But we do know from a cybersecurity perspective is that continuing to focus on the fundamentals is key to protecting yourself at home and work. At the same time, the sense of urgency may have changed; cyber attackers targeting us have not. By fundamentals, we mean focus on these three key points.
1. Phishing: Phishing and related scams are when cyber attackers attempt to trick or fool you into doing something you should not do. These scams are often sent as emails, but they can also trick you with text messaging, phone calls, or social media. Anytime someone is creating a tremendous sense of urgency and rushing you to take action, or someone is promoting an offer that is too good to be true, this is most likely an attack.
2. Passwords: Strong passwords are the key to protecting your online, digital life. Make sure each of your accounts is protected by a unique, long password. The longer your password, the better. To keep it simple, use passphrases, a type of password made up of multiple words like “honey-butter-happy.” Can’t remember all your passwords? Neither can we. That is why we also recommend you use a Password Manager to store all your passwords securely. Finally, enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) on your important accounts whenever possible.
3. Updating: Keep your computers, devices and apps updated and current by enabling automatic updating on all your devices. Cyber attackers are constantly looking for new vulnerabilities in the devices and software you use. Keeping software updated ensures known weaknesses will be avoided and your devices have the latest security features.
In addition, there will be a tremendous amount of false information spread on the Internet. The spreading of incorrect information is being done on purpose to confuse people. Do not trust or rely on information from new, unknown, or random social media accounts, such as posts on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Many accounts on these news sites were created for the sole purpose of putting out fake information. Instead, follow only well-known, trusted news sources who have been known to verify the authenticity of information before they broadcast it. Finally, if you wish to donate to any causes in support of recent events, make sure you are contributing to a well-known, trusted charity. Many scams will attempt to trick people into donating to fake charities run by cybercriminals.
We know that times like these can feel a bit scary, but we also wanted to let you know you will be fine. Continue to focus on the fundamentals as we have taught you, and you will go a long way to protecting yourself, no matter who the cyber attacker is.