As we start Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the first topic defined by the National Cyber Security Alliance is “Be Cyber Smart.” Cybersecurity is one of the only behavioral aspects of living that crosses from personal to professional routines, affecting both equally and crossing over.
To become cyber smart is to develop healthy habits that protect your cyber life in all areas. You can share these practices with your family members and colleagues to create more resilient and safer units at home and the office.
So, when we talk about the concept of “cyber smart,” we talk about the basics of cybersecurity. These foundational aspects allow all of us to move on to more sophisticated cyber defenses. These are the first steps towards strong cyberculture.
We love that our audience is educated on most of what we will discuss here, but we feel this is a vital asset to share with family members and less tech-fluent colleagues. All in the spirit of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, correct?
To be or not to “be cyber smart”?
The consequences of neglecting essential cyber awareness are easy to see: ransomware attacks started with users who ignore basic rules. For example, the Colonial Pipeline attack started due to bad password management and a single user’s lack of multi-factor authentication. A mistake that cost over $40 million. On a single leaked password.
And that’s individuals, organizations, and governments must be equally invested in the “cyber smart” mentality. It protects personal data, is suitable for business continuity, and protects the critical infrastructure for citizens and government leaders.
It’s no wonder we see global initiatives, the most prominent example set by president Joe Biden, who recently took cybersecurity to the UN General Assembly, calling it the “challenge of the 2nd quarter of the 21st century and beyond”.
What does it mean to be cyber smart?
According to the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), every individual has a role in protecting their systems and devices. If every one of us develops good cyber habits, the network effect means our families, organizations, and society will be more secure and protected.
Here are some examples of good cyber habits that anyone can quickly implement and go a long way towards cyber resilience.
Good password habits
Make sure you never use the same password twice. Strong passwords are a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Even though passwords should be memorable, they should never be easy to guess (birthdays, names of family members, etc.).
Some password management tools may take you a step further and are reasonably priced, but just by taking these simple steps, anyone is on the right track to be cyber aware.
Watch out for public wi-fi
It’s tempting to kill time by using wi-fi while you wait at the airport or during a meal. However, no one can vouch for public wi-fi security, so it’s better to be cyber smart and have a zero-trust approach to these situations.
If you can’t avoid it (by using your data plan), do not access sensitive information (such as banking apps), and use a VPN service if you can.
Social media – be cyber aware and do not overshare
It’s nice to connect with friends and show slices of life on social media. However, avoid pictures and posts that give away too much about your routine or personal information to be cyber aware. For example, pictures of plane tickets for your next vacation are too much information. Avoid giving away data that can be misused.
Multi-factor authentication is not a hassle.
Almost every app offers multi-factor authentication nowadays – like asking for a thumbprint after the password. And that’s an important step to ensure security. If a phone gets stolen while unlocked, no criminal will access the banking app if it requires its own password. Remain cyber smart and make sure it is enabled across devices and apps wherever it is available.
Is that all?
We’re not even scratching the surface here. There’s a lot of recommendations around the “cyber smart” concept. At Right-Hand, we help employees of all levels of tech-fluency to be more cyber aware, supporting organizations of all sizes and industries to build strong cyberculture. We know there is a lot to cover, and we are willing to take on your challenges in October and beyond.
Check out our Education Resources page for more basic cyber concepts.
Follow us on LinkedIn for cybersecurity news and events.
Also, make sure you register for the Front Lines, our Cybersecurity Awareness Month event, where we bring over ten speakers from all over the world to address the most urgent topics of our industry!