Written by Shon Barrier, Vice President of Research & Development
When you think of October, you likely think about spooky season. Ghosts, witches, black cats, and monsters galore. But in the world of technology, there’s not much scarier than the overwhelming gloom of a potential cyber threat. So, it makes sense that Cybersecurity Awareness Month would also take place in October. Instead of sending shivers through your spine with scary stories of breaches and ransomware threats, we’ll skip to the good part. We’re here to help you #BeCyberSmart by offering actionable advice and tips you can use to improve and prioritize your cybersecurity efforts right now.
1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Whether you’re logging into work accounts or personal accounts, multi-factor authentication (MFA) is a vital step to verifying your identity and makes it more difficult for a hacker to “pretend” to be you. By requiring multiple methods of authentication, your account is further protected from being compromised, even if a bad actor hijacks your password. In this way, MFAs make it more difficult for password cracking tools to enable attackers to break into accounts.
2. Use Strong Passphrases and a Password Manager
This may seem obvious but re-using passwords or using simple passwords is extremely common because it’s just easier to remember. But using long, complex, and unique passwords is a good way to stop your account from being hacked. Be sure to combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create the most secure password. A password manager is also an easy way of keeping track and remembering your passwords without compromising your security.
3. Perform Software Updates
When a device prompts that it’s time to update the software, it may be tempting to simply click postpone, and ignore the message. However, 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.
4. Lookout for Email Phishing Scams
Cybercriminals are masters at putting on a mask to make you believe they’re someone they’re not, like a colleague, service provider or friend. When it comes to phishing emails, from content design to language, it can be difficult to discern whether the content is genuine or a potential threat. Don’t fall for it. If you sense any red flags that something may be out of place or unusual, reach out directly to the individual to confirm whether the content is authentic and safe. If not, break off communication immediately and flag the incident through the proper channels.
5. Stay on top of Security Trends
Cybercriminals are always developing new tactics to get the information they want. The good news is that security experts work just as hard to stay ahead of them and share their findings. One way to keep in the loop about security trends is to subscribe to healthcare security blogs or attend healthcare IT events. The iatricSystems Fall Exchange has an entire learning track devoted to protecting hospitals and PHI with sessions hosted by cybersecurity experts – and there’s still time to register.
Above all, being cyber smart should be a year-round goal of yours. October is just a friendly reminder to reassess and rethink how you can address new cyber challenges. We hope you’ll join us at the Fall Exchange, happening at the end of this month, to learn how your healthcare organization can prioritize security with the help of technology. Even if you can’t make it to the event, just by registering, you’ll have access to all of the sessions on-demand to watch at your leisure. Register here or contact us at email@example.com to discuss your security challenges and goals for 2022.