October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM). This was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure online users have resources to help them stay safer and more secure online. Cobblestone Capital Advisors regularly promotes best practices and tips to help spread cyber security awareness. Below are some basic tips and advice for online safety all year round:
- Lock Down Your Login –Recent research into end-user security measures has yielded new evidence that challenges traditional approaches to online protection. Through 20 years of effort, we’ve successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess. Mathematicians proved that it is password length, not complexity, to be more effective in protecting your accounts on the internet. For example:
- “Tr0ub4dor&3” is a difficult password for anyone to remember. However, it would take a computer only 3 days at 1000 guesses per second to crack.
- “correcthorsebatterystaple” is relatively easy to remember, but would take a computer 550 years to guess at the above rate.
The best option would be to use a password manager, such as LastPass or Dashlane. These products provide a secure method of generating very strong passwords and saving them for you, locked under a “master password.” Even Google Chrome has recently introduced these functions into the browser. Find out more from LastPass.
- Use MFA – Multi-Factor Authentication has become another strong countermeasure in preventing account hacking. Products such as Google Authenticator and RSA SecurID offer an added layer of identification that makes hacking your accounts significantly more difficult. Inquire into MFA availability with your sensitive online accounts.
- Protect Personal Information – Information about you has value. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it is collected by websites and applications. Own your online presence by setting privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level. Limit how and with whom you share information online.
- Keep a Clean Machine – Turn on automatic updates. Reduce your risk of malware infections by keeping all software on internet connected devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops up to date. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are an excellent defense against online threats such as viruses and malware.
- When in Doubt, Throw it Out –A single click can compromise your entire system, including data. Links and attachments in email are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If something looks suspicious, even if you know the sources, delete it or, if appropriate, mark it as junk email.
Click on the links below for more tips and advice for online safety: