October Is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
It’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and as a Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion Organization, xMatters is proud to be actively participating.
Since the National Cybersecurity Alliance started this initiative in 2004, the number of devices connected to the internet and the amount of time we spend interacting online have increased exponentially. The impact on our lives is so massive that it’s become hard to imagine what life would be like without our devices.
However, when our devices connect to the internet, they bring our friends, colleagues, family, and tons of data – this comes with responsibilities and risks. This complex web sometimes results in us losing track of all our connected devices, which creates both opportunities and challenges for individuals and organizations across the globe.
Why Should You Care About Cybersecurity?
Digital devices, appliances, and wearables for healthcare, communication, security and more store and share an incredible amount of data – including sensitive and private information. These devices communicate with servers and each other, and they can trigger other actions.
For example, the applications on your smart phone are constantly communicating with servers around the globe. Even your home’s smart thermostat is chatting away with distant data stores. While these devices add convenience to our lives, they also require us to share considerable amounts of information and access.
The security of these devices, and of the information they collect and use, cannot always be guaranteed. Once your device is connected to the internet, its potential vulnerability to all kinds of risks is increased. And with more IoT devices entering our lives and workplaces every day, we all need to know how to secure our digital lives.
Some Simple Tips
Taking some basic steps to protect your data can help eliminate much of the security risk that our connected devices represent:
- Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game console, or another network device, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. If you can, sign up for automatic updates and protect your devices with anti-virus software.
- Many connected appliances and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved. They’re gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions settings and set privilege requests that don’t make sense to you to “No”.
- Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.
- Properly secure the network you use to connect IoT devices. Consider placing your personal devices on a separate and dedicated network. For more information on how you can secure your network, view the National Security Agency’s Cybersecurity Information page.
Help spread awareness about ways to protect your information and stay safe online. For more information, please refer to the following links: