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Six Simple Security Steps to Secure your Information

Protecting online resources and information is time consuming, arduous and (let’s face it) boring. But individual users, businesses and their employees can all takes small steps in their daily actions to solve information security concerns on a larger scale.

Although it may not appear as such, the world of cybersecurity has made a lot of progress towards protecting networks, computers and mobile devices in the last several years. For example, 63 percent of confirmed data breaches each year occur due to weak, default or stolen passwords. Since then, public awareness around the limitations of passwords for data protection is increasing and people are turning to multi-factor authentication as a tool to secure accounts.

Integrating multi-factor authentication is one of many simple steps any individual – at home or at work – can take to make a difference in securing data. The National Institute for Standards and Technology has published a list of of 6 cybersecurity steps you can take today to make a big impact on your online safety, check them out below:

“There’s no cybersecurity silver bullet. Be risk-based. Pick low hanging fruit. We’ve all heard lots of clichés about what it means to—here are some more—be cyber aware, keep a clean machine, even Stop.Think.Connect. The bottom line is that protecting online resources and information is difficult, it’s new and it’s rapidly changing.

Compared with other science and engineering disciplines, getting things done digitally is in its infancy. Relative to how long we’ve been building things like finely crafted bridges (think Roman aqueducts), protecting networks, computers and mobile devices is a brand new phenomenon. We’re making great progress, but in many ways we’re just starting to understand the environment … all while it keeps changing before our eyes.

As we start National Cybersecurity Awareness Month this year, we need to maintain the perspective that, even though we know that sometimes things will go wrong, individual users, businesses and their employees can all make a difference. And while we work together to solve information security concerns on a larger scale, it’s our daily actions that matter most.

In the thick of the day-to-day and with a continual barrage of bad news in the world of cybersecurity, it might be hard to see just how much progress we’ve made over the last several years. For example, 63 percent of confirmed data breaches in 2015 took advantage of leveraging weak, default or stolen passwords. But public awareness around the limitations of passwords is increasing and people are turning to multi-factor authentication (MFA) as a tool to secure accounts. A recent survey showed that 86 percent of people who use MFA feel that their accounts are more secure. And the number of websites offering MFA as an option is also increasing.

These improvements, more than anything, occur every day, individuals—not just experts—take steps to do the right thing. Here are a few of the simple steps you can take to make a difference:

    • Close old accounts. If you don’t use them, close them.
    • Secure your active accounts. Many websites now offer additional ways for you to access your account easily while making it hard for others to get in. Today, most large internet sites offer multi-factor authentication. If they don’t, you can ask for it.
    • Protect your information. Avoid sharing too much personal information online (like your full name, address, birthday, etc.). You can check a website’s privacy options to ensure you have enabled them at the highest level since those options may change frequently.
    • If it looks fishy, it’s probably ‘phishy.’ Links in fraudulent emails, website comments, tweets, posts and online advertisements are often how cybercriminals do their dirty work.
    • Secure your mobile device. Don’t make it any easier for thieves to gain unauthorized access to your accounts. Use lock screen authentication for mobile devices, whether it’s a passcode, biometric or some other means.
    • Update. Update. Update the software on your devices regularly. While there are sometimes glitches with new updates, many are specifically designed to address vulnerabilities in software that can leave you open to attacks.”

Cogito Group is an award-winning cybersecurity company specialising in authentication, cloud security, identity management and data protection. Cogito Group protect the authentication methods used to access information through the use of Identity and other security technologies.

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