October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Cybersecurity is not only important for companies and governments. It’s also important for families and individuals.
For example, many online services offer a way to reset your password. There is some version of Did you forget your password next to the sign-in box. After entering your email for the service, you receive an email with a link to enter a new password or a code you have to enter to verify your identity.
What would happen if someone got control of your email account? After changing the password of the email service to lock you out, the thief would try to get control of as many online accounts as possible by using the “forgotten password” option. LinkedIn, Facebook, Amazon, Instagram, Canva, Twitter… Your bank account?
A simple step you can take to prevent this is by enabling Multifactor Authentication (MFA)1. You install an app on your cellphone that generates a time-based token. Now, when you sign-in, your email provider will ask you not only for your password but also for the token. Cyberthieves can steal or guess your password, but they don’t have the token. MFA is a very effective measure to prevent being a victim of an online attack.
Four Things You Can Do To Increase Your Cybersecurity
I encourage you to consider these four measures:
- Enable Multifactor Authentication for all your services.
- Don’t click on links you don’t recognize.
- Use a password manager. You need to use randomly-generated strong passwords, which are impossible to remember. Don’t use the same password for different services.
- Keep your software updated. Software updates are not only about new features but about fixing vulnerabilities. Turn automatic updates whenever possible.
Cybercrime is an industry. Cyberthieves use automated tools and target thousands of accounts at a very low cost. You don’t need to be someone special or a public figure to fall victim to a cyberattack.
Multifactor authentication is also called 2-Factor Authentication (2FA), One-Time Password (OTP), etc. ↩︎