This October we’re recognizing National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) to raise awareness about how to stay safe and secure online. This year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” a topic that feels even more timely while many of us are working from home.
New cybersecurity threats
As our lives become even more digital during the ongoing pandemic, we are facing many new challenges and threats in the security arena. One is the loss of what I call “water cooler” security control, or the in-person conversations between colleagues that happen in the office and can help keep people alert. Instead, we are all under higher levels of emotional stress that can cause people to react in ways they normally wouldn’t, and in some cases, not detect fraudulent activity as easily as before.
Another new challenge is an uptick in activity from bad actors and an unfortunate increase in efforts to capture our data, devices and networks. A few common examples are attention-grabbing phishing emails, such as a fraudulent call for help from what appears to be a manager asking the target to urgently send money, or a communication from a familiar-looking source prompting the targeted individual to click on a link that opens that person’s devices and data to hackers.
Tips to #BeCyberSmart
As NCSAM reminds us, it is important to be smart, stay alert and recognize these attacks as soon as possible. At Collibra, we’ve made an effort to increase our internal communications about trending fraud risks to help ensure that our teams think critically before they react to potential threats. There are also personal security steps that each of us can take to make sure that our own online safety is a priority:
- Use a password manager
- Change your passwords regularly – the more you use a password, the more frequently you should change it
- Do not reuse passwords on different websites or across multiple accounts
- Set up multi-factor authentication
- Avoid creating usernames using identifying information, such as your your birthday (Joe1981 is not ideal)
- Double check the sender’s email address or phone number on any requests for action or information
- Beware of surprises – only click on links you were expecting to receive
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
In addition to education and encouraging personal vigilance, companies can use data to take a proactive approach to security. For example, by leveraging machine learning technology along with next-generation anti-malware and anti-phishing technologies, data intelligent organizations can ensure they are one step ahead of future threats.
This month and beyond, let’s all remember to do our part and #BeCyberSmart.