7 Ways This Cybersecurity Expert Wants You to Protect Yourself Against Hackers

October 27, 2015

Joseph Steinberg

In honor of October's designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has unveiled a new Web page dedicated to promoting cybersecurity for small businesses. - See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8491-sba-unveils-small-business-cybersecurity-tools.html#sthash.HVndjn45.dpuf
In honor of October's designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has unveiled a new Web page dedicated to promoting cybersecurity for small businesses. - See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8491-sba-unveils-small-business-cybersecurity-tools.html#sthash.HVndjn45.dpuf

The National Cyber Security Alliance is a nonprofit organization that was founded in part by the Department of Homeland Security in order to help Americans become more cyber-secure. I recently met with Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA, and asked him to share some tips to help people protect themselves and their private information. Here are some pointers:

  1. Know that you play a critical role in both your own cybersecurity and the cybersecurity of others. While roles vary--the CISO [chief information security officer] of a major corporation obviously influences people's cybersecurity more than the average person on the street--everyone is a participant. If you don't take cybersecurity seriously, you will likely put both yourself and others at risk.
  1. Protect your email account even more that you do your bank account. People have a habit of thinking of their banking passwords as their most important authentication credentials, but, in fact, the security of your email account may be even more critical. Many systems use emails to allow people to reset passwords, and, as such, if a hacker gains access to your email account, he or she may be able to reset the passwords to many online systems including those used for financial activities, social media, etc. Use a strong password, and whenever possible, use multifactor authentication.
  1. Every device you use needs to be secure. Computers, mobile devices, smartphones, and tablets all pose risks. Make sure that you have security software in place. Gaming devices, baby monitors, network connected cameras, and other connected devices also create risks--make sure that you've installed the latest firmware updates, that you understand any alerts their vendors issue, and, if possible, that you have infrastructure such as a firewall or router in place to keep them isolated from computers.
  1. Think of your personal information as if it were money. Criminals certainly do so. Protect your personal information accordingly, and don't give it out to anyone who asks for it.
  1. Consider your reputation and the reputation of others when sharing online. Problematic social-media posts may harm your personal life or career or those of others. Also, remember that oversharing can help criminals craft effective spear phishing emails. "Share with care." (Disclosure: SecureMySocial, of which I am the CEO, automates this process.)
  1. When it comes to sharing information, "If you have doubt, throw it out," and don't share. Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable sharing something, don't.
  1. Teach children about cybersecurity. We teach children about traffic safety--by the time someone learns to drive, he or she has been aware of the dangers posed by cars on the road for a decade or more, and has understood that "red means stop and green means go" for many years. We need to take a similar approach to cybersecurity; kids should not be given their first lesson on internet safety after they are already using the internet. Age-appropriate discussions should begin as soon as child is capable of understanding them.

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SBA Unveils Small Business Cybersecurity Tools
Credit: Mark Van Scyoc

In honor of October's designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has unveiled a new Web page dedicated to promoting cybersecurity for small businesses.

In the wake of high-profile data breaches, many businesses are eager to implement a more robust cybersecurity strategy. The SBA's cybersecurity page, launched earlier this month during the "Cybersecurity at Work" week, offers advice and tools for small business owners who are seeking to better protect both their own data and their customers' data. In 2013, 44 percent of the 800 small business owners surveyed reported having experienced a cyberattack that resulted in an average cost of nearly $9,000, according to a report by the National Small Business Association.

"Cybersecurity is one of our nation's most pressing national security priorities, and America's 28 million small businesses, which create two out of every three new jobs in the U.S., are especially at risk," SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet said in a statement announcing the Web page. "Small employers are quickly becoming a larger target for criminals looking to access sensitive data because small businesses typically have limited resources for information systems security. In an effort to combat cyberattacks against small businesses, the SBA's online tools will help employers identify information security vulnerabilities that put their companies at risk."

- See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8491-sba-unveils-small-business-cybersecurity-tools.html#sthash.HVndjn45.dpuf
In honor of October's designation as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has unveiled a new Web page dedicated to promoting cybersecurity for small businesses. - See more at: http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/8491-sba-unveils-small-business-cybersecurity-tools.html#sthash.HVndjn45.dpuf