October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month
A theatre director who runs a performing arts program asks everyone who enters to leave their “armor” at the door. What he means is, when you come to participate in the drama group, you have the freedom to be yourself, with no fear of being judged by anyone in the group, because everyone has left their “protection” at the door when they entered “Theatreland.” The suggestion gives each participant the freedom to express their creativity and not feel silly, weird or different.
Wouldn’t it be great if that same freedom was present in Cyberland, where you never worried about someone attacking your operating systems, or stealing your personal and private information? Or where you were always on guard, looking over your shoulder, making sure every point of entry to your data was protected?
Sadly, since this isn’t Theatreland, we don’t have the freedom to let down our guard about security. That’s why President George W. Bush and Congress designated October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month to remind us to protect our private information. In celebration of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, here are some pointers on how to ensure you are protected.
Who would like to just keep the same easy password and avoid ever changing it? (All hands go up!) Making frequent changes to our passwords is an important thing to do, but the job of keeping track of and remembering them becomes difficult as the number of passwords you use increases. This task is much more manageable when you use a password manager application. To make it harder for criminals to figure out your passwords, consider these suggestions:
- Implement complicated passwords by using at least eight characters, which include both upper and lower-case letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Change your password frequently. Use a password manager application to make storage and retrieval of them more manageable.
- Make sure you use a different password for each application. That way, if one account is hacked, all the others are still protected.
Virtual Private Network (VPN)
When you are using public WiFi services, your computer isn’t protected like it is at home or work. It can be protected if you browse with a VPN. A VPN uses a proxy server to protect your personal identity and location as you send and receive data, which means that your personal data, emails, credit card numbers and online banking information will all be protected from hackers.
This is a service that most websites, email providers and online banking applications offer. Two-factor authentication works by sending a text message code to your phone when you log in. This added step helps to prevent thieves from stealing your passwords and then logging into your accounts.
You’ll commonly see these scams in emails that appear to be legitimate. The email may request personal and financial information and may even appear as though it came from friends, family members or an institution that you deal with. To protect yourself from phishing scams, make it a practice to only communicate with people you know or trust, and don’t click on any suspicious-looking links. If you have any doubt whatsoever about the email, confirm who the sender is by contacting them with an alternative email address or by phone. It will be worth the extra step to keep your accounts protected.
Allegheny Records celebrates cybersecurity year-round with secure records management services. We provide both records storage and destruction services to help protect you and your business against data theft. If you’re in Pittsburgh or Western Pennsylvania, give us a call at 412-381-1010 or complete the form on this page.