Cybersecurity Awareness Month—Secure IT: Keep Your Digital Profile Safe

Protecting yourself and your business using multi-factor authentication to secure your devices and accounts
Oct 30, 2019 8:00 AM ET
Article

Protect against cyber threats by learning about security features available on the equipment and software you use.

Cybercriminals are skilled at getting personal information from unsuspecting victims, and their methods are getting more sophisticated as technology evolves. You can apply additional layers of security to your devices and accounts—like multi-factor authentication (MFA)—to better protect your personal information. Where MFA is not an option, ensure your passwords are easy to remember and hard to guess, and use a different password for each account.

Secure IT at work

According to National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cybercriminals from gaining access to your accounts and protect you in the event of a breach.

If you need advice on how to create easy-to-remember but unique passwords, watch this fun short video from one of this year’s #CyberSmart partners. By using the tips in the video, you will know how to create a 25+ character password that you will have no problem remembering. You can adjust this method to suit your needs and preferences. While this method works well for lower risk accounts, be sure to choose unique phrases for each key account, such as:

  • Your work account
  • Primary email (where account reset verification emails go)
  • Banks and financial Institutions
  • Password manager software

Secure IT at home

Enabling MFA is one of the best things you can do to ensure the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in.

MFA sounds complicated, but really is not, and sometimes using it gives you an easier and faster logon experience. When you enable MFA, you use two of three things to prove you are the one who is accessing your account:

  • Something you know, such as a password
  • Something you have, such as a random generated code sent to a phone app or by text message
  • Something you are, such as a fingerprint

If your vendor provides an MFA option for logon, enable it by following their instructions. See how to turn on MFA for many of the most common online accounts.

Consider using a password manager. Where MFA is not an option, a password manager can help you generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. You can perform a web search to locate a suitable password manager application for your specific needs.