Ten Cybersecurity Steps We All Need to Follow

During the pandemic, given the increase in remote work, the importance of cybersecurity has only increased. Dealing with cybersecurity issues can seem daunting for both individuals and businesses, but we wanted to make you aware of some easy steps you can take to help keep your computers and devices secure.

  1. Load antivirus on your computers and devices (including tablets and phones) and keep the virus definitions up to date.
  2. Use a firewall to help keep malicious actors off your computer. Some firewalls can also block geographically, so you can block entire countries from access.
  3. Do not reuse passwords, and change them with regularity. Hackers know some people use the same password in multiple places. If you’ve ordered something off a website and that site is hacked with the hackers collecting passwords, email addresses, and usernames, the hackers will typically try to use those credentials on other sites such as banking websites, social media websites, email sites such as Gmail or Yahoo, and corporate networks, because they know some people use the same password in multiple places.
  4. Use two factor authentication (2FA) when possible. Factors are something you know, something you have, or something you are, and 2FA requires two of those things. Something you know could be your password. Something you have could be your cell phone. Something you are would be your physical characteristics (biometrics) such as your fingerprint or voice. For example, you could configure 2FA on your bank account where you would first enter your password, which would then trigger a phone call to your cell phone with a code you would enter to complete the login process. That way, if someone gains access to your password, they will also need your cell phone to access your account.
  5. Keep your operating system patched. As security vulnerabilities are discovered, patches are created and released to the public in the form of operating system updates. Most operating systems allow automatic installation of updates, so it is an easy way to keep your operating system patched.
  6. Have a process so that employees who leave the company have their network login rights disabled and are removed from your computer systems promptly. Do not forget to remove them from any portals, or cloud-based software packages that operate outside your network.
  7. Watch those email links! Bad actors are known for making malicious links look legitimate by giving them a familiar title, such as a banking website, but the underlying hyperlink goes someplace you would rather not be. Hovering your mouse over a link will show you the underlying hyperlink, but DO NOT CLICK unless you are confident the link is where you want to go.
  8. Just because an email says it is from a certain person does not make it so. When looking at an email, do not only look at the name of the sender but also look at their email address. The odds of your attorney Michael using an email address that starts with “Helen” and ends with a .edu extension are probably slim.
  9. If you receive an unexpected email attachment from a person, there is nothing wrong with picking up the phone and calling the person to ask if they sent it, BEFORE downloading and opening it. Attachments can have malicious payloads. Also, do not call the person using the phone number in the email. If a malicious person sent you the email, that phone number could go to them.
  10. Secure your devices. Crimes of opportunity happen in a flash. Leaving your laptop unattended on the seat of your car, or your phone on the table at Starbucks while you pick up your order invites crimes of opportunity.

Hacking is big business, so it will not be disappearing anytime soon. However, by being vigilant, and taking the steps we can, we can help reduce the odds of being one of their victims.