Where to Start: Be Cyber Smart

Whether we like it or not, cybersecurity is about more than quick software you might install on your computer. And every business is different; in practice, employee count, IT infrastructure, and team skill sets. Unfortunately, there is no silver bullet, and cybersecurity requires multiple layers of defense, starting with the basics.

In recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we encourage you to own your role in cybersecurity by starting with the basics. Do your part #BeCyberSmart! From creating strong passwords and using multi-factor authentication (MFA) to backing up your data and updating your software, there are a few things you can do on an individual level to build a solid foundation for your organization’s cybersecurity program.

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Practice Good Password Hygiene

A recent report reveals that 46% of individuals use a different password for important online accounts. Twenty percent say that they “never” or “rarely” do so, and only 43% said they create a long and unique password either “always” or “very often.” Considering password theft is the single biggest cause of hacking-related breaches, this data is concerning.  

The Information Security Office (ISO) recommends using long, complex, and unique passwords or passphrases to help prevent your accounts from being compromised. And never use the same password across different platforms and systems; if your credentials are stolen, the attacker could have access to everything protected by that password. Keeping track of and remembering dozens of passwords (if not more) can be daunting. Consider using a password manager to store unique passwords for each account to bolster your password hygiene

Cybercriminals employ various methods to crack passwords to then sell, trade and share on the Dark Web. Cyberattackers can also attempt to use stolen credentials themselves for account takeover (ATO), aiming to gain access to user accounts without permission. In addition to practicing good password hygiene, it’s important to regularly scan the Dark Web for stolen passwords to proactively protect your network against the malicious use of compromised data.  

Implement Multi-Factor Authentication

By requiring multiple methods of authentication, your account is further protected from being compromised. Even if a bad actor hijacks your password, MFA makes it more difficult for attackers to break into your accounts using password-cracking tools. It adds that necessary second check to verify your identity when logging into one of your accounts, further protecting the account from being compromised.

Backup Your Data

While backing up your data won’t prevent an attack, it can help you recover more thoroughly and quickly in the event of an incident. Part of building cyber-strong technology includes backing up your data, system images, and configurations and regularly testing them to ensure they protect your data and can be brought back online after an attack. Consider the 3-2-1 method: keep at least three copies of your data on two different storage types with at least one copy stored offsite.  

Update Your Software

We’ve all been there: A popup on our computer encourages us to update the software, and we click “Later” before forgetting to do it altogether. But having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system on devices is one of the best defenses against online threats. So, don’t wait – update.

As a Champion of Cybersecurity Awareness month, Defendify enables organizations of all sizes to do their part by being cyber smart. If everyone does their part by implementing more robust security practices, raising community awareness, educating vulnerable audiences, or training employees – our interconnected world will be safer and more resilient for everyone


Challenge yourself to improve your cybersecurity.

Take on the Cyber Food for Thought Awareness Challenge. Show you can improve your cybersecurity for a chance to win one of five $100 gift cards from Goldbelly, the online marketplace for regional and artisanal foods.

As part of the challenge, download the Cybersecurity Quick Start Guide and register for Defendify's upcoming Lunch N' Learn, Keep Away From Cyber Nightmares.


If you're hungry for more cybersecurity awareness, check out these additional resources from Defendify's associations:

Cyber Readiness Institute : 4 Core Issues Guide

NCSA: Cybersecuring America: Our Shared Responsibility

CompTIA: The Latest in Cybersecurity Trends from CompTIA Research

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