Chances are that you have heard about the factors of making a strong password, like how the longer it is the better and how the use of upper-case and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols protects you against brute force attacks. But what if I told you there was a way to make an account protected by “drowssap” or “qwerty” exponentially safer than an account protected by more complex passwords like “Th15_1$_@_P@55w0rd”? Multi-factor authentication (MFA) to the rescue! Also known as two-factor or two-step authentication, this is one of the more secure (and quite easy to implement) methods of securing your accounts. MFA can be considered a few different things. The most common form is an algorithm that generates random temporary passwords that must be entered in addition to your standard password. It could also be push notifications from third party apps that manage these MFA communications like Duo Security. This is nice because out devices all have the capability to be only unlocked through certain means like facial recognition, voice recognition, fingerprint scanners, pin numbers, or even retinal scans. What that means for you is even if your first password is compromised you have a second method of identity verification protecting your account. We here at Lighthouse IT Solutions care about your cyber security; our series of posts and webinars espousing its benefits probably convey that just fine.
We hope that you didn't forget about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month! We wanted to discuss some elements of cybersecurity that you may not be familiar with. Cybersecurity is a lot more than just dealing with viruses and not clicking on spam emails. The true definition is "the state of being protected against the criminal or unauthorized use of electronic data, or the measures taken to achieve this." This means that anything you do to help protect against getting your data stolen can be considered cybersecurity. So let's go through some of the methods often overlooked and skipped.
Firstly, it is important to make sure that all devices on your network have adequate protection, especially the ones you don’t normally think about. And if your computer is mobile, it is a good idea to make sure that device is encrypted and has a strong password on it. Encrypting devices that will be leaving work often, like company laptops, will help ensure company data isn't access when something is lost or stolen. Keep everything that is connected to the internet and your network in mind.Learn more about this in our "How secure is your network?" post.
Lighthouse IT hopes you find yourself cyber-safe during this spooky October...
Especially considering it's National Cybersecurity Awareness Month!
However, if you are worried that you do not know enough about cyber security or maybe you are not sure that your company is set up to protect themselves, then here are some helpful tips that should guide you towards peace of mind.
Everyone knows that if you want something to be locked behind a gate, you need a password and that password needs to be strong. While it is smarter to make your passwords longer (no password should be shorter than eight characters), there are other ways to increase the strength of them. Using a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols is a great example of this, but believe it or not, there are more tactics!
MFA and Two-Step
There are also requirements you can set to add a second level of protection to your accounts. This is called multi-factor authentication or two-step authentication. This can include things such as using authenticator tools, like Duo Security, which provides you with random one-time codes needed to login, or push notifications on your phone to confirm your identity. Alternatively, if you want to truly ensure that only you can login, you could use biometric verification. Things like fingerprint readers, facial recognition software, or even retinal scanners can replace the need for a password all together!
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM)!
Now is the perfect time to talk about being safe online!
One of the most important things to remember for cyber security is that everyone needs to be active in it. It only takes one person clicking a sketchy download from a phishing email to compromise an entire network. Knowing how to be safe online does not require you to learn a load of technical jargon. You simply need an idea of what actions could be detrimental and be able to keep an awareness for anything that seems fishy. This can keep you much safer.
There are lots of actions you can take to increase your safety such as:
- Checking that your system is running up-to-date security programs and read up on what scams and exploits people are using.
- Making sure you have an enterprise-grade firewall protecting your business.
- Backing-up all of your data so that you are ready for the worst.
- Implementing user-based security and permissions to minimize human errors.
- Getting a password and document manager to ensure password security.
- You could even enlist the services of a certified ethical hacker to test your system’s security and inform you of any vulnerabilities they find.