Welcome to the second edition of Forefront Bits, your weekly guide to cybersecurity. In each article, we dissect the complexities of cybersecurity into digestible pieces.
In this article, we'll share five easy steps to help you stay safe online. These steps cover tips from creating strong passwords to keeping your software up-to-date. By following these tips, you can better protect yourself from online threats.
In today's digital world, personal data is just as precious as physical assets that require safeguarding. Just as we protect our homes with locks and keys, we use passwords as guardians for our information.
It's important to note that it's impossible to be completely invulnerable, just as no lock can be 100% unbreakable. However, the idea is to be as protected as possible against most attackers. A simple password might take just a few minutes to crack using simple methods like brute-forcing, but a complex password with capital letters, numbers and symbols, might take hundreds of even thousands of years to crack.
An ideal strong password would have a good mix of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and other characters. In 2022, the most used password was “password”, followed by “123456”, which are two examples of what you want to avoid!
Too Many Passwords
The digital era has led to an explosion of personal accounts, each requiring unique and robust passwords. This creates a challenge: how to remember them all. The solution are password managers. These digital keychains let you create different password for all your services, store newly created and existing ones, and most importantly, use all your passwords conveniently from your browser.
Starting with a password manager is simple. Pick from available options like 1Password, NordPass, RoboForm, or Keeper. These tools are known for their security and user-friendliness. (We at Forefront recommend 1Password!)
Once you've chosen a manager, import passwords from your browser or text files. With a little effort, you can centralize all your existing passwords into one secure location.
After storing all passwords in the manager, they're easily accessible whenever needed. The benefits aren't just password-related: most password managers, like 1Password, let you store other important information, like drivers licences, passports or even bank account details.
In addition to this, password managers simplify logins by auto-filling credentials on websites. This saves time and minimizes typing errors that might lock you out of your accounts.
Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) enhances security beyond strong passwords. It's like needing two or more unique keys to open a door. Even if one is stolen, access is denied without the remaining factors. Similarly, MFA adds an extra authentication step after your password when using digital platforms.
Popular platforms like Google, Email, Facebook, and Amazon offer MFA. To activate it, go to your account's security settings on each platform and choose the best MFA method for you.
The most common method is receiving a verification code via text message. For increased security, use an authentication app that generates offline codes. For maximum protection, consider a physical security key that provides cryptographic authentication.
The best MFA methods are phish-proof, like the physical security keys manufactured by Yubico. However, passkeys are starting to gain traction, with major websites using them, such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon. Passkeys allow for passwordless authentication, and are stored locally in your devices, without needing extra applications or hardware. 1Password also allows you to store and use passkeys using their cross-platform apps.
Software and application vulnerabilities are weaknesses that hackers can exploit to compromise our privacy and security. These can be due to programming errors or design flaws and can lead to unauthorised access to sensitive data.
Software updates are crucial in this context. Developers release updates containing patches to fix known vulnerabilities and protect devices from cyberattacks. By keeping your devices updated, you enhance their security, safeguard your data and privacy, and often gain additional features or performance improvements.
Remember, updates aren't just for computers. Smartphones, tablets, smart home devices, and other gadgets also need regular updates. These interconnected devices can serve as entry points to your networks, if not properly maintained.
By implementing these simple tips, you can significantly reduce the risk of experiencing a security breach. However, digital asset protection extends beyond these measures and depends on the sensitivity of the information at hand.
Despite the value of these tips, it's important to note that as attackers continuously evolve their tactics, our protective measures must concurrently advance. In response to this, Forefront has recently launched Forefront Control, an integrated SIEM (Security Information Event Management) and XDR (extended detection and response) tool, which is fully cloud-based and deployable in thousands of devices in minutes.
To learn more about Forefront Control and our other solutions, get in touch today and one of our experts will reach out to provide you a tailor-made quote for your business.