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Keep #Cybersafe This October

By Kevin Hayes,
CISO, Merit Network Inc.

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and this year is unlike any year we have had in recent history. With remote work fundamentally changing how we interact with technology, it is more important than ever to make sure we are properly protecting ourselves and not accidentally exposing ourselves to data theft or fraud. We have seen cyber threats on the rise, both from criminal groups as well as nation-states trying to capitalize on this situation. Email phishing attacks are still the main way that individuals get hacked, and a number of high-profile critical vulnerabilities over the past few months have continued to reinforce how important our efforts in staying secure are.

Thankfully, there are a number of simple things we can do in both our personal and professional lives to resist these attacks and stay safe. Simple steps like using a password manager can work wonders; by easily having unique passwords for everything in our lives, we drastically reduce the impact attackers can have on us. Enhancing this even further is enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) on anything that can support it; while attackers may be able to get a single password, the fact that you can protect your accounts with a device such as your smartphone means that you now hold the advantage.

Ultimately, we need to continue to be suspicious of situations which are either abnormal or sound too good to be true. With many of us no longer working regularly in offices with other staff, it may be more of a challenge to get coworker feedback or a second opinion whenever any of these “red flag” situations happen. Don’t feel awkward in calling, texting, or video calling either your IT support staff or other people you trust to help you determine if something is innocent or an actual attack. While the hackers the world over work together to try and undermine us, we have absolute strength in numbers and knowledge to come together, keep our work and lives secure, and kick them to the curb.

Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart! #NCSAM