National Cyber Security Awareness Month, or NCSAM, was created by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance in 2003. Since then, it has become an annual reminder of the very real threats of data breach, and the importance of cyber security.
We’ve been in the business of data security for nearly 35 years, and in that time we’ve learned a lot about what it takes to keep data safe. That’s why we’re excited that this year’s theme for NCSAM is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” While there are many factors your organization should consider in order to maintain optimal data management hygiene, one of the most important things you can do is know your role as an individual.
While there may be many of you who think you’re already very familiar with the basic cyber security recommendations, the frequent news-worthy data security incidents suggest that many people do not understand all that they can and should do to protect their data. Here’s a brief refresher:
- Passwords. Use long passwords that are difficult to guess and avoid common words. Don’t share them with anyone and use different ones for each account you have. (Consider using a password manager.)
- Phishing. Not sure what this is or what to look for? Go speak with your IT manager right now! Phishing, or using fake (but real looking) sites and emails to steal login information, has brought down some very high-profile people in recent years. Don’t be one of them!
- Social media. Be aware of what you share online. Sharing your address, family information (how many accounts verify with your mother’s maiden name?), or other personal identifiers can make your social presence a hacker’s dream.
- Apps. Apple and Google have done a better job in recent years to let users know what data is being collected by the apps they install, but it’s critical that you do your part, too. Be aware of which apps can access your contacts, photos, microphone and camera, etc.
Marketing Communications Specialist