Corporate data breaches have become as simple as gaining access to an organization’s network. Despite increased emphasis on data security, cybercriminals are constantly devising new ways to access networks and obtain sensitive data. Whether this is accomplished through sophisticated social engineering techniques, malware, or supply chain attacks, you can help bolster your cyberculture and prevent systems from being hacked by following these simple tips.
Keep an eye out for the padlock icon when browsing. The lock symbol in the address bar indicates that the website is using the more secure HTTPS protocol. The HTTPS protocol maintains the security of a website's connection by preventing man-in-the-middle attacks as well as other assaults from intercepting data traveling to and from the site.
Use complex rather than basic passwords. Change your passwords frequently to minimize the risk of online accounts being hacked. For instance, avoid using your name or date of birth as a password, as well as common words such as "password." If you have multiple online accounts, you should use a unique password for each account. When applicable, use passphrases. Passphrases are easier to remember and are far more secure than just a standardized code.
Enable multi-factor authentication for all accounts. Multifactor authentication (MFA) ensures that even if hackers obtain your password, they’ll be unable to access your account until they’ve also obtained the correlating account verification code. MFA provides an additional layer of protection. Whenever you enter the password for an account that isn’t recognized on your system, you’re directed to a page that requires a four-digit code. Then, usually via text or an email, your provider will send you a one-time code to be used. In order to gain access to your account, you must enter this code, which is valid for a limited time only.
Avoid clicking on pop-up ads. Pop-up links can redirect you to a phony, malware-riddled website that can compromise your computer. When pop-ups appear, it’s important to be cautious, especially if the text and visual style don’t match that of the app or website. If the pop-ups cannot be closed, the affected program should be removed from the network and sent to your IT team for evaluation.
Ensure proper email etiquette. Hackers will send emails containing malicious links alongside a variety of other tactics. Often, these links look legitimate and wouldn’t raise concern, however, users should be on the lookout for spelling or grammatical errors in domain names or email addresses. Cybercriminals also use email addresses that resemble the names of well-known companies or senior executives that are slightly altered. If a senior executive sends you an email asking about personal information, think twice about why this message may have been sent. Instead of clicking, hover over your mouse on the link to see and verify if the URL matches the link that was provided.
Keep systems and software updated. Maintaining an updated workstation is not solely the responsibility of the IT department. When programs run on unsupported applications and systems, they’ll no longer receive security updates. This makes it easier for malicious viruses, spyware, and other harmful software to infiltrate your computer. Personal workstation maintenance, like logging out of accounts and performing regular updates, helps keep data safe.
Cybercriminals depend on humans' inherent trust in corporate policies and security technologies to protect them from cyberattacks. By strengthening and improving your online and work practices, malicious attacks are far more likely to be thwarted, resulting in your organization's infrastructure remaining secure.
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