Now in its 17th year, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) continues to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. The below information provides some helpful tips for how you can protect yourself at work and home during the month-long campaign and through the year.
If You Connect It, Protect It
Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense is to stay on top of things by updating to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. If you have the option to enable automatic updates to defend against the latest risks, turn it on.
- Stay up to date: Keep software updated to the latest versions and set security software to run regular scans.
- Secure your networks: Wireless routers are a way for cybercriminals to access online devices.
- Double your login protection: Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you.
Securing Devices at Home and Work
Businesses face significant financial loss when a cyberattack occurs. Cybercriminals often rely on human error—employees failing to install software patches or clicking on malicious links—to gain access to systems. From the top leadership to the newest employee, cybersecurity requires the vigilance of everyone to keep data, customers, and capital safe and secure.
- Treat business information as personal information: Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary data. While you may think of trade secrets and company credit accounts, it also includes employee personally identifiable information (PII) through tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks.
- Don’t make passwords easy to guess: As “smart” or data-driven technology evolves, it is important to remember that security measures only work if used correctly by employees. Smart technology runs on data, meaning devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers, and other devices are constantly exchanging data to complete tasks. Take proper security precautions and ensure correct configuration to wireless devices in order to prevent data breaches.
- Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately. Many phishing emails attempt to create a sense of urgency, causing the recipient to fear their account or information is in jeopardy. If you receive a suspicious email that appears to be from someone you know, reach out to that person or business directly on a separate secure platform.
Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare
The healthcare industry relies increasingly on Internet-connected devices and solutions to improve patient care, organizational efficiency, speed of crisis response, and much more. The emergence of telemedicine, digital health records, online medical devices, patient wellness apps, and an increasing amount of third parties entering the health supply chain has created many benefits. However, it has also exposed the industry to vulnerabilities that cybercriminals can exploit.
- Telehealth: Telehealth is the use of technologies, such as computers and mobile devices, to access health care services remotely. Be sure your software is updated on your devices before engaging in a telehealth session and connect via a secure wifi connection to protect your session.
- Electronic Health Records: Electronic Health Records are a digital version of a patient’s paper chart, making information available instantly and securely. Make a long, unique passphrase to access healthcare accounts. Length trumps complexity.
The Future of Connected Devices
Now more than ever, consumers spend increasing amounts of time on the Internet. With every social media account you sign up for, every picture you post, and status you update, you are sharing information about yourself with the world.
- Shake up your password protocol: Change your device’s factory security settings from the default password. This is one of the most important steps to take in the protection of IoT devices. Get creative and create a unique password for your IoT devices.
- Secure your network: Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet-enabled devices. Consider placing these devices on a separate and dedicated network.
- Keep tabs on your apps: Most connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use.
Visit the CISA for more information.