Cybersecurity is something that should always be at the top of mind when it comes to your business. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, more people are working remotely, and this is a concern for organizations because home or public networks generally do not have the same security protocols and safeguards in place to protect against cyber threats.
We often only hear about cyberattacks at large organizations, but they are just as likely to hit smaller firms and businesses. With October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the following tips may help protect your firm from becoming a victim:
- Only visit secure websites. When you are browsing the internet, the URL should have https, versus just http. The equivalent of visiting an unsecure website would be like walking up to a stranger, handing them your debit card, walking them to an ATM, telling them your PIN, and saying have a nice day.
- Create strong passwords. A good password is the product of its randomness, which is affected by the combination of complexity and length. Many websites are good about having safeguards in place when it comes to creating strong passwords. However, not every website is created equal. Tabush Group suggests using a different password for each login. It can be tough to keep track of them, but there are many secure third-party sites out there that will help you organize them. If a website does not have requirements for their passwords, you should make sure the password you choose includes letters (capital and lowercase), numbers, and characters (if allowed) to improve your security.
- Never download or open attachments from unknown sources. It cannot get more basic than this: do not, under any circumstance, open an attachment or click a link from someone you do not recognize. Your Aunt Martha or an African king are not sending you $5,000 to verify your information. Attachments can be very dangerous because it could easily be spam, a phishing attack, or worse, ransomware.
- Check for disguised web addresses or email addresses. Deceptive URLs and email addresses are still popular today. They can look tempting, especially that free $50 Amazon gift card. However, a closer look can show it might be from amazonn.com (notice the extra n!) or that email address that looks legit is from firstname.lastname@example.org. Misspellings are a very common way you can get fooled as cybercriminals try to get the user to click links. Vanity URLs can say one thing, but you must hover over it to see if it is legit. You cannot go back once you have clicked that link.
For more info on how you can tighten your firm’s security, check out a recent podcast on security.