CISO Perspective: October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
keeping-my-information-safe | Read Time: 3 minutes
By Robert Eastwood | Published: October 2022
Fall is officially here! This is one of my favorite times of the year. The weather is getting cooler, and there are lots of fun fall activities. One of my favorite things about fall is that October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. This year will be 19 years since it was first established back in 2004.
Below, I’ll point you to some great resources for tips, tricks and tools to stay safe online and protect yourself from cyber criminals, as well as what to do if you’ve been a victim of scammers.
The Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has established a website dedicated to providing everyone with lots of great resources for keeping you safe online.
This year the main themes for National Cybersecurity Awareness Month are:
- Enable Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): it is important to enable this feature where and whenever possible to add a layer of security to your various banking, social media, email and other online accounts.
- Use Strong Passwords: ensure you do not use the same password on multiple apps and websites, update passwords frequently, and consider checking if your passwords have been compromised using https://haveibeenpwned.com/. Performing a password health check periodically can be helpful in staying secure.
- Recognize and Report Phishing: knowing how to identify common red flags, such as unexpected emails or texts asking you to click a link, messages with misspellings, or broken sentences can help keep yourself and your information secure. Fraudsters will mimic many well-known websites and brands, so it is important to review messages carefully before acting.
- Update Your Software: keeping your software updated is one of the most critical steps in securing your devices. Backing up your devices frequently can help ensure your important files are not lost, and you should always back up files prior to updates in case you encounter any issues.
The National Cybersecurity Alliance also supports National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Here you will find information on how you can sign up and receive a free tool kit, which includes a variety of resources for your personal use or for use within your company to ensure you’re following security best practices.
Also, you will want to check out the resources section, which covers topics such as online safety and privacy, careers and education, theft, fraud and cybercrime, and cybersecurity resources for your business.
If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, it is important to act quickly to help limit the damage, including:
- Contact your financial institutions to freeze all of your accounts, place a stop payment on missing or stolen checks, report any instances of fraudulent charges, get new cards and account numbers.
- Stop using your device if it has been compromised and have it professionally wiped.
- Change usernames and passwords to all of your online accounts, including email, shopping, online banking and social networking websites.
- Place a fraud alert on your credit reports with the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.
- Contact the Social Security Administration if you suspect that your Social Security number has been compromised.
- File a police or identity theft report as well as a report with the Federal Trade Commission, which has a database used by law enforcement for investigations.
Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a great time to learn or refresh your knowledge about staying safe online for yourself, your family members, and also at the workplace.
About the Author – Robert Eastwood
Robert Eastwood is Senior Vice President, Chief Information Security Officer at WSFS Bank. He has more than 24 years of experience in the information security field, including nearly 20 years at WSFS, most recently as Vice President, Information Security Officer, where he developed and executed a multi-year strategic plan for Information Security. He also holds a number of professional certifications and memberships in the Information Services, IT and financial services fields.
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