Each October, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) observes National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. With the event, the DHS seeks to raise awareness and increase resiliency.
To help you turn this month into a success, we've highlighted a few quick steps to improve your cybersecurity practices.
1. Turn on 2-step verification: Two-step verification adds a step to the account sign-in process: you enter your username and password, then enter a 6-digit code obtained from your phone. Two-step verification slows account access—and hacking. Even if you know my username and password, you’d need my phone to access my account.
2. Use Complex Passwords: Replace short, predictable passwords with longer, less predictable passwords. Don’t use dictionary words or words with “obvious” substitutions (e.g., 1 for l, 0 for o, 3 for e) or additions (e.g., 1, !, or ?) as passwords. Never reuse a password: your password for each service should be unique.
3. Routinely review account settings and activity: Google account users should check the “Send me monthly reminders to check my account activity” box here: https://www.google.com/settings/dashboard. Each month, when you receive the reminder email, review your Dashboard account activity. Also review your App passwords and Recent Activity report. (Bookmark these three links for easy access.) Revoke access or change your password if necessary.
One-time actions, on-going awareness
The above three actions, when taken together, improve security. 2-step verification makes it more difficult for an account to be accessed without authorization. Better passwords extend the time required to “brute force” attack an account password. And routine review helps identify unexpected changes or potential problems.
It’s time to move beyond awareness. Help someone you know act to secure accounts today.