Did you know today is Computer Security day? The first time this day was celebrated was in 1988 and a lot has changed since then with Cybercriminals techniques growing more and maybe ore sophisticated every year – but how can we stay safe whilst working?
Just about every device we use is connected to the Internet in some shape or form today. From our laptops to our phones, cameras, watches, industrial equipment, and even cars, everything is now connected in 2020; in fact, it is estimated that some 20 billion devices are connected to the Internet. Unfortunately that means a lot of opportunities for bad actors, and a lot of viruses, worms and ransomware that can be distributed and leveraged for their gain. So how else have things changed since the first Computer Security Day?
There’s an app for that: Most services and products can be accessed online from many of the devices you own, meaning protecting account information and credentials have become more important than ever in today’s world.
All types of devices live in our homes and work, and they are all connected.
We are working from home, using a mix of company-issued and personal devices to get our work done, and accounts and credentials are “cross-pollenating” between devices.
Threat actors have become craftier (and bolder) than ever, creating new techniques to bypass existing protections and creating more complex attacks to gain access to data.
All our data lives somewhere out there, in multiple places, and there is a good chance that your favorite go-to password is included in one of the many breaches that have occurred over the years.
This means the basic measures we took even just a few years ago to protect the endpoint are not enough anymore. It takes understanding the threats that are out there, where your account information might have been breached or stolen, and what the right habits are that keep you protected. These are also part of the “must haves” of a good security plan for you, your customers, your families, and your business.
Here are some steps you can take to ensure you are secure today:
Install and run endpoint protection on your systems.
Make sure to keep your programs and operating systems up to date—these updates contain security fixes for recent threats.
Use a VPN when accessing unknown wi-fi networks to keep your browsing data secure.
Take extra care when clicking on links in emails to make sure you know the email is valid and the site you are visiting is legitimate.
Stay Informed – Since Computer Security Day was created, there have been many groups and organizations devoted to protecting digital infrastructure and keeping you and your family safe. Even the Department of Homeland Security in the U.S. created its own division dedicated to protecting businesses and individuals from cybercrime and other threats.
Making sure you are using unique, hard to guess passwords and using a password manager are a great start. And enabling multi-factor authentication is one of the most important. Even if someone can guess or steal your password through a phishing attack or other means, the second layer of protection will prevent them from successfully accessing the account.
Cybercriminals’ techniques have grown incredibly sophisticated since the first Computer Security Day in 1988, with news of a data breach now seeming like a daily occurrence. The transition to widespread remote work has done little to slow things down, and the recent Government guidance on remote working means businesses must remain vigilant.
Much to the frustration of IT teams, security best practices can often take a back seat for employees and many breaches are caused by simple yet avoidable mistakes, such as password reuse or failing to change default credentials. With research revealing 85% of IT and security professionals are looking to reduce the number of passwords employees are using, Computer Security Day serves as a reminder to make these changes sooner rather than later. Employing passwordless authentication, which relies on single sign-on and biometric solutions, will help to minimise password-related issues by removing the need to type in a password when accessing devices and applications.
Security awareness must ultimately become a priority if businesses are to protect workers in the home office. Reducing the number of passwords that employees need to remember and employing technologies, such as password managers and multifactor authentication, will go a long way in helping to prevent information from falling into the wrong hands.