October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM), a month dedicated to promoting a safer, more secure and more trusted internet. The Department of Homeland Security leads NCSAM and works on all levels of government and private sector to protect both businesses and consumers against cyber incidents. Today our world is connected more than ever before. We go online to connect with friends, family, conduct business, shop, research and even do our banking online. We use our personal email addresses and passwords to create online accounts that store personal information- and leave it in the hands of corporations to keep it secure. Computer Experts suggests these passwords guidelines to help better protect your online accounts:
1. Create a password that has a length of 12 to 14 characters, or as long as allowed. Use lowercase and uppercase alphabetic letters, numbers, and symbols.
2. If the website or account allows, use two-factor authentication. When attempting to log into your account, it will send a code to your cell phone, which adds an extra layer of security. This will also allow you to know of any attempted log-ins to your account.
3. Avoid using the same password for multiple accounts. Password managers such as Dashlane, SafeInCloud, or LastPass can be beneficial in creating unique passwords and can securely store each password for easy access. Just remember to use two-factor authentication for any password manager program.
4. Don’t use usernames, pet names, addresses, romantic partners, family members, dates, or any type of personal or biographical information. Do not use public or searchable information in the password.
5. Change your password periodically- a password change 2-3 times a year is best, but it depends on what information you are protecting. More sensitive information could warrant a password change once a month.
6. Do not store your written passwords in a visible, easily accessible area such as a desktop monitor or in an unlocked desk drawer.
Your business experiences dozens, if not hundreds, of cyber attacks a day. If you have any vulnerabilities in your IT infrastructure (which includes uninformed employees) it may just be a matter of time before your business falls victim to an attack. Although we do all we can to inform our clients of the latest threats and best practices, we suggest contacting one of our recommended cyber-security companies to conduct a penetration test. A penetration test, or pen-test, is an attempt to evaluate the security of an IT infrastructure by safely trying to exploit vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities may exist in operating systems, services and application flaws, or risky end-user behavior. Such assessments are also useful in validating the effectiveness of defensive measures, including end-user adherence to security and company policies. For more information, give us a call today: 321-726-5977.