October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, so ’tis the season for IT professionals to have some constructive conversations with employees about cybersecurity.
The reality is that hackers don’t take time off. IT professionals need to be vigilant year-round, not just during Cybersecurity Awareness Month, in educating folks in their organization about common mistakes that create vulnerabilities and simple extra steps than can reduce risk.
Cyber researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel issued a list of “10 Cybersecurity Smart Home Tips” and they’re every bit as applicable to office environments as residential. The goal, explains Dr. Yossi Oren, a senior lecturer in BGU’s Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering and head of the Implementation Security and Side-Channel Attacks Lab at Cyber@BGU, is to get individuals thinking about connected devices that might be easy to hack.
As Internet of Things (IoT) catches steam both at home and in workplaces, BGU offers the following cyber security tips for Cybersecurity Awareness Month:
Don’t Replicate Passwords
“Never use the same password on multiple websites or online services. Both Apple and Google offer free password managers that can take care of your passwords for you, and even automatically suggest strong passwords that are hard to crack.”
Up Your Authentication
“Turn on “two-factor authentication” to prevent hackers who’ve stolen your password from logging into your Facebook or Google account. Two-factor authentication sends a text message with a login code to your phone to verify it’s you.”
Consider Workplace Facebook Activity
“On the heels of the recent Facebook hack, in addition to changing your password, use the Facebook settings screen to review the list of apps and websites which you granted access to your data. Remove any apps or websites you don’t recognize and trust.”
Be on Guard for Phishing Emails
“Don’t fall prey to clever phishing scams that ask for payment and indicate they have an old password that you recognize. It was likely bought on the illegal ‘dark web.'”
Be Paranoid about Laptop Cameras
“Do cover your computer camera with tape or use a specially made camera cover to prevent prying eyes.”
Related: Who Got Hacked This Week?
Police Which IoT Devices Are Used
“Buy IoT devices (cameras, baby monitors, etc.) only from reputable manufacturers and vendors. Change the admin password as soon as you can connect it. Annually check for security updates which you download …
“Avoid used IoT devices like routers or cameras. They could already have malware installed.”
Work with Your ISP
“Call your internet service provider and request an updated router. Many are years old and don’t have the latest security updates. Change the WiFi password on your home router.”
Be Prepare by Backing Up
“Automatically back up your data—pictures, contacts and documents. If a computer is compromised, it may be easier to just reformat it than to find the malware, and it will allow your devices to function better.”
“In only an hour or two, most of these steps can be accomplished, saving you significant headaches, serious theft and the loss of privacy or priceless data,” Dr. Oren says.
Read Next: A Guide to Cybersecurity Readiness