Updated: Oct 13, 2022
It’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and that means it’s time to celebrate all things security! From strengthening your passwords to being mindful of phishing attempts, there are a number of things you can do to protect yourself and your data online.
In this article, we will explore six cybersecurity measures you can take to help keep your data and personal information safe. From two-factor authentication to encrypting your data with VPN, read on to learn more about how you can keep your information safe and secure from hackers and cyberattacks.
The Importance of Cybersecurity
In the wake of high-profile cyber attacks like the WannaCry ransomware attack and the Equifax data breach, it's more important than ever to be on the lookout for cybersecurity risks and how to protect yourself from hackers.
Cybersecurity helps to fortify your accounts and keep criminals out. Failure to secure your accounts with basic security measures and standard routine practices can lead to breaches in your personal network.
6 Ways to Improve Your Cybersecurity
Following these simple tips can help make it harder for criminal hackers to access your personal information or infect your computer with malicious software.
Creating a strong password
Enabling two-factor authentication
Granting roles and permissions
Turn on virtual private network (VPN)
Update your website SSL to https
1. Creating Strong Passwords
One of the most basic cybersecurity measures you can take is to create strong passwords that makes it difficult for hackers and cyberthieves to crack.
In order to create a strong password, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Not utilizing these key tips in your password creation can open you up to risks of cyberattacks.
First, try to use a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols in your password.
Second, make sure your password is at least 9 characters long. Short passwords are much easier to crack than one that is longer. Keeping your passwords 9 characters or more will make it far more difficult to gain access to your account.
And finally, avoid using easily guessed words like "password" or your name. Here are some examples of things you should never include in your passwords:
Your First and Last Name
Your Birth Date
Kids Names or Birth Dates
Any Personal Identifier
Cybersecurity Tips for Storing Passwords
When it comes to choosing the best way to store your passwords, you want to make sure you're using a password manager. A password manager is a software app that stores all of your usernames and passwords in an encrypted database.
Another great cybersecurity idea is to maintain your passwords in a spreadsheet and store that file in an encrypted vault. This is an inexpensive way to secure your passwords and uses two-factor authentication to access the vault.
If you follow these cybersecurity tips, you'll be well on your way to creating strong passwords that will help keep your online accounts safe and, a reliable way to store your passwords safely and securely.
2. Enabling Two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is one of the best cybersecurity measures you can do to keep your account safe from hackers.
What's two-factor authentication? In short, it's an extra layer of protection that requires you to enter in a second code when logging-in to your online accounts.
Setting up and enabling two-factor authentication is surprisingly an easy way to tighten up your cybersecurity. After you turn it on, you'll automatically be prompted for the secondary code whenever you try logging in to your account.
This essential cybersecurity tool is generally available for most accounts these days, especially those that contain sensitive personal information like bank account numbers, social security numbers and personally identifiable data.
3. Granting Roles and Permissions
Digital music marketing companies like ours rely heavily on roles and permissions to control the uses and accesses to data for our clients.
Maintaining roles and permissions can help you carefully control access to sensitive data and systems. This type of cybersecurity can be accomplished by users permissions based on their need to know and ability to perform specific tasks.
When granting roles and permissions, it is important to consider the principle of least privilege. This principle states that users should only be given the minimal amount of access necessary to perform their job. For example, a user who only needs to read data should not be given write access.
To increase cybersecurity online, social media accounts, financial management accounts and many other online platforms offer standard optional ways to grant access and permissions.
It is important to regularly review roles and permissions in order to ensure that they remain appropriate. Changes in job responsibilities or organizational structure may necessitate changes in roles and permissions.
It is also important to revoke roles and permissions when they are no longer needed in order to prevent unauthorized access.
4. Phishing Awareness
Cybersecurity is more important than ever before, and phishing awareness is a key part of keeping yourself or your organization safe. According to SCO, 6.95 million phishing and scam pages were created in 2020.
Phishing is a type of online attack where scammers try to trick you into giving them personal information or money. They may send you an email that looks like it’s from a real company or website, or they may create a fake website that looks like a real one.
Suspicious looking email addresses that don't match the company's domain are usually the easiest way to catch these scammers.
If you think you’ve been targeted by a phisher, don’t respond to the message or click any links. Instead, report the incident to your IT department or security team. You can also visit the Anti-Phishing Working Group’s website (antiphishing.org) for more information on phishing and how to protect yourself.
5. Enable Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a great way to add an extra layer of cybersecurity to your online activity. A VPN encrypts your internet traffic and routes it through a server in another location, making it difficult for anyone to track or monitor your activity.
There are many VPN providers available, and some are better than others. When choosing a VPN provider, make sure to do your research and select one that has a good reputation and is known for being reliable.
Anti-virus software like McAfee have optional add-ons to their software packages to give subscribers added security.
Once you have chosen a provider, setting up your VPN is fairly simple. Most providers will have step-by-step instructions on their website. In general, you will need to download the software onto your device, run the program, and then connect to the server of your choice.
Using a VPN can slow down your internet connection slightly, but the trade-off is worth it for the added cybersecurity and privacy on the web.
6. Update Your Website SSL to HTTPS
As the internet becomes more and more integral to our daily lives, cybersecurity becomes more and more important to ensure our safety online. One essential aspect of keeping your online presence secure is making sure your website uses SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption.
SSL is a protocol that encrypts communication between a website and its visitors, ensuring that sensitive data like credit card numbers and passwords cannot be intercepted by third parties.
If your website doesn't currently use SSL encryption, it's important to update it as soon as possible. Google now gives preference to websites that use SSL in its search results, so switching to HTTPS can actually help you rank higher in search engines.
In addition, many web browsers now display a warning when visitors try to access an unencrypted website, which can damage your business's reputation. Unencrypted websites leave your visitors vulnerable to their private information being stolen.
Making the switch to HTTPS is relatively simple and well worth the effort for the sake of your website's security. To learn more about SSL and HTTPS read this post on Why Your Website Needs the Latest Security Protections.
Final Thoughts on Cybersecurity
As we celebrate Cybersecurity Month, it's important to remember that there are many steps we can take to protect our online information. By implementing even just a few of the security measures on our list, you can help keep your data safe from hackers and cyber criminals.
So don't wait — start celebrating cybersecurity by taking action to secure your online presence today!
If you need help determining if your online security is up to date, consider getting one of our forensic-like audits. We can provide a website audit for your business or a music audit for your music profession.