Cybersecurity Awareness Month: 5 Essential Tips to Protect Yourself Online

When many people think of October, they think of pumpkin spice, falling leaves and cooling temperatures. October is also Cyber Awareness month.  Even making the slightest improvements in awareness, and security can make huge impacts in protecting you or your organization. The average cost of a data breach in 2023 was $4.45 million dollars.  The rise of AI has allowed cybercriminals to easily create tools to assist in phishing and other  attacks. Our goal is to educate our clients on ways they can enhance their security and limit risk.

Here are five important things to note for cybersecurity awareness:

  1. Phishing Awareness: Be cautious about unsolicited emails, messages, or phone calls asking for personal or financial information. Cybercriminals often use phishing tactics to trick individuals into revealing sensitive data. Always verify the sender’s authenticity before clicking on any links or providing any information.
  2. Strong Passwords: Use complex passwords and consider using a passphrase—a sequence of words or a sentence that is easy for you to remember but difficult for others to guess. Regularly update passwords and avoid using the same password across multiple accounts. Consider using a reputable password manager to generate and store strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts.
  3. Software Updates: Keep your operating system, antivirus software, browsers, and other applications up-to-date. Cyber attackers often exploit vulnerabilities in outdated software to gain unauthorized access. Enable automatic updates whenever possible to ensure you are protected against known security flaws.
  4. Public Wi-Fi Safety: Avoid accessing sensitive information or conducting financial transactions over public Wi-Fi networks, such as those in coffee shops, airports, or hotels. If you must use public Wi-Fi, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your internet connection, making it more difficult for hackers to intercept your data.
  5. Social Media Caution: Be mindful of the information you share on social media platforms. Cybercriminals can use the information you post online to craft convincing phishing messages or even attempt identity theft. Review and adjust your privacy settings on social media accounts to limit the amount of personal information visible to the public.

Additionally, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest cybersecurity threats and best practices. Regularly educate yourself and others around you about new scams, phishing techniques, and security measures. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility, and awareness plays a key role in staying safe online.

At Metro Sales we don’t focus on protecting you in just October. Advanced security solutions are our focus every day. That is why we partner with forward thinking solutions from Fortinet, that use AI to identify patterns in malicious behavior which can help prevent an attack. We also take a proactive look at your network to identify future needs and make sure you have the knowledge to  make the best decision.

We also know that end user is first barrier to cyber threats. Our Managed IT offering helps businesses in MN educate their end users on common threats and how they can protect themselves from being a victim of phishing, social engineering, and other common attacks. This id done through weekly mini-trainings.

October is also the month of Halloween, where many enjoy the opportunity to be scared as ghost and goblins parade around your neighborhood. At Metro Sales we do our best to make sure you don’t need to be scared of the online ghosts and goblins that are ready to trick you. Learn how to better protect your team and organization from cyber-attacks reach out to your Metro Sales account representative here.

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