The sophistication of Internet enabled crimes and cyber intrusions is increasing, so all users of connected devices need to be aware and vigilant. The FBI spotlighted online safety tips for cybersecurity awareness month.
The FBI Cyber Division Assistant Director Matt Gorham said it is no longer enough to keep an eye out for suspicious emails in your inbox.
People and organizations must scrutinize messages and requests that appear legitimate as criminals have become savvier and more targeted.
Employees often click on links in emails that appear to come from colleagues, follow instructions in messages that appear to be from supervisors, or open account links or invoices that seem to come from trusted vendors to commit some of the most common and damaging Internet enabled crimes.
Computers or entire networks can be exposed to ransomware attacks, data breaches, or other crimes as a result of these routine actions, Gorham said.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month brings attention to the importance of safeguarding computers, accounts, critical data, and infrastructure as we mark National Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
The National Cyber Security Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security host National Cybersecurity Awareness Month every 16th October. To raise awareness about cybersecurity and combat cyber intrusions, online thefts, and scams, multiple agencies and organizations, including the FBI, collaborate.
At a cybersecurity conference in March, FBI Director Christopher Wray said the cyber threat was bigger than any single government agency.
The FBI is unique in its scope and scale, experience, tools, relationships, and relationships that it possesses.
Understanding and anticipating cyber threats and pursuing cyber criminals is a joint effort between the FBI and the private sector, and state, local, and international partners.
Steps by the American Government
To make sure every American has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online, the collaboration sought to improve government-industry cooperation.
Despite signing an executive order last year to modernize cybersecurity defenses for the federal government to mitigate cyber threats, Biden acknowledged that cybersecurity awareness cannot be simply pushed onto governments, but also citizens. As a result, cybersecurity awareness should increase in software products sold to Americans.
As a result of the initiative, all countries are forced to review their cybersecurity awareness protocols, regardless of whether it was born in the United States or elsewhere.
Ways to Improve Your Cybersecurity Awareness
To stay safe online, here are the top tips from the National Cyber Security Alliance:
1. Have clean gadgets
To reduce the risk of infection from ransomware and malware, keep all software on internet connected devices up to date, including your computer, smartphone, and tablet.
Make sure your devices are set to automatically update or to notify you when updates are available if you don’t want to worry about it.
2. Make your passwords strong
The notion of password security might seem advanced, but the majority of people are lazy and predictable when choosing one – putting their security at risk.
Password managers allow you to encrypt and store your passwords for future use and automatically recall them by using random and complex passwords. There are many free ones available.
Password management programs are often included in browsers and operating systems. You can think of password managers as your personal data vault where you store your passwords.
3. Use multifactor authentication
You can add more security to your key accounts with multifactor authentication (MFA), also called two factor authentication.
A multifactor authentication system can be implemented by using biometrics (such as fingerprint or face scanning), apps, or security keys that send you one time codes to unlock sensitive accounts.
4. Be cautious while clicking
How do cybercriminals get access to sensitive data most commonly? It happens when you click on something that isn’t supposed to be clicked on.
Hackers can access your sensitive information through malicious links in texts, emails, posts, tweets, and messages on social media platforms. Make it difficult for them.
Don’t download or click links you don’t recognize, especially from strangers. To determine whether a message or email is authentic, count to five every time you receive one.
5. Report all phishing attempts
By reporting phishing attempts, we can take down cybercriminals. Report the email as soon as possible if it comes to your work email address.
You should not click any links (even the unsubscribe one) or respond to the email if it comes to your email address. Reporting phishing attempts is possible with most email and social media programs.
The phishing message should be deleted as soon as possible. If you want to get further protection, you can block the sender from any of your email programs, social media platforms, or mobile devices.
6. Avoid using public Wi Fi
You could potentially be watched while you are connected to public wireless networks and hotspots since they are generally unsecured. Keep your public Wi Fi usage to a minimum.
You should avoid logging into important accounts, such as your email and financial accounts. If you need to connect to the Internet more securely, you might want to use a VPN or a mobile hotspot.
7. Back up your files
It is essential to make copies and store them safely to protect your pictures, music, data, and work. Having an extra copy of your files will allow you to recover your data in the event your device is infected with cyber attacks.
Back up your data using the 3 2 1 principle. Two backup copies of your files should be stored on another storage device, one of which should be located off site, and at least three file copies must be kept.
A cloud storage option can be used to back up your data, which is a secure server that you can access using an account. You won’t lose your data if your computer crashes or breaks.
8. Double check your settings
Check your security and privacy settings on all new accounts, apps, and devices immediately after signing up, downloading, or getting them.
Take a look at the settings regularly to ensure that they remain comfortable for you. Make sure you review and delete apps, platforms, and games every few months – you won’t need to check their settings if you don’t use them!
9. Keep your software up to date
When an update notification appears, we all understand the temptation to click “remind me later,” but doing so allows hackers to exploit outdated software and neglected cybersecurity measures.
Your cyber protection will remain effective and consistent if you update your installed software promptly.
Common Cybersecurity Threats
Numerous cyber threats are lurking around the internet, waiting for an oblivious user to fall victim to them. People should be aware of the following threats:
- Malware attacks
Malicious programs infecting your device and software are the most well known cybersecurity threats. Cybercriminals can steal your personal information, destroy your data, or hold your files for ransom by installing viruses, trojan horses, ransomware attacks, and worms on your system.
- Scams and identity theft
If you are considered negligible to your personal information, cybercriminals will try to gain access to your devices and accounts.
Protect your identity by avoiding discussing sensitive information in public and destroying receipts and paper records properly. Keep an eye on who has access to your information at all times and be vigilant.
- Phishing threats
Cyber infiltrations such as phishing scams are one of the most common types of cyber attacks. Malware can spread easily through a corrupted email link, destabilizing an entire IT infrastructure.
By looking like they come from trustworthy sources and organizations, phishing attacks easily capture their victims. Open any emails or attachments with caution, and ensure that all employees do the same.
It is a good thing that the FBI spotlights online safety tips for cybersecurity awareness month. This will enable people to remain more secure and avoid falling victim to cybersecurity threats and other ransomware attacks.
The National Cyber Security Awareness Month in October is an information technology measure that ensures that identifiable information doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. The initiative started last year and it has been carried forward to October this year. It is a collaborative event that uses available resources and free resources to ensure security.
Let’s work together to make the digital world safer and more trustworthy! We can all become significantly safer online if we learn these simple steps and share them with our community to keep safe online at home, work, and school.