Celebrated every November 30th since 1988, Computer Security Day (CSD) might not be the most exciting annual event, but it’s certainly a worthy one. CSD was established in order to raise awareness about cyber crimes and viruses and to encourage us to stay focused on our computer security, especially during the run up to the holiday season, which is prime time for cybercrime.
This year, in fact, cyber attacks are expected to go through the roof during the holiday shopping season as consumers increasingly pivot to online shopping due to COVID-19. This anticipated surge in e-commerce shopping means that e-commerce sales will be a priority for retailers, but it also means that individuals and businesses must ensure that they’re protected from cybercrime; they must become cyber secure.
Becoming cyber secure
Becoming cyber secure is about being cyber aware, cyber alert and cyber fit, and the first step to achieving this is awareness. It’s safe to assume that hackers are planning for the holidays every bit as much as businesses and individuals. They’re on the lookout for vulnerabilities, attack vectors and any opportunity to launch their attacks. It’s therefore incumbent upon us to be aware of cybersecurity threats.
Awareness entails knowing about common scams and how to identify them, and maintaining a healthy suspicion of emails that ask for personal information or contain unfamiliar links or attachments. Offers of exaggerated discounts, free merchandise, emails with typos or grammatical errors, or not-quite-right company logos should immediately set off mental alarm bells.
Next, be alert to potentially malicious URLs. Secure websites use ‘https’ in their URL and display a small image of a padlock to the left of their website address to indicate they’re secure. Avoid navigating to sites without these safety features. Also, be alert to the Wi-Fi connections you use. Stay away from public Wi-Fi as much as possible. Instead, use a virtual private network (VPN), which encrypts information traveling through the Internet and delivers it safely to the correct destination.
Finally, get cyber fit. Follow password best practices, keep all your software up to date so that your programs contain the latest patches to vulnerabilities, secure your physical devices so they can’t be stolen, and install an advanced antivirus solution.
Now, for the fun part – celebrating CSD
Embrace it**.** Businesses would be wise to embrace the cyberspace environment and turn it into an advantage rather than a weakness. By being proactive about cybersecurity and demonstrating your business’ cyber awareness and fitness, your cybersecurity can become a value proposition that drives business growth.
Awareness activities**.** Businesses should also use CSD as an opportunity to launch different cybersecurity awareness activities that educate employees and promote cybersecurity. For example, some businesses have started hosting lunch-n-learn sessions that treat their employees to a special lunch while providing lessons on cybersecurity. Others have implemented ongoing learning sessions to keep employees up to date on cybersecurity best practices. Yet others offer computer security seminars or update their security strategy and present it to their employees on CSD.
Use a password manager**.** Another excellent way to observe CSD is to sign up for a password manager. Password managers can not only generate random passwords for you, but they can also securely save them so you don’t have to remember all of them. All you need is your master password.
Get creative and design some posters**.** Posters make for great reminders. Use posters at home and at the office to reinforce the importance of cybersecurity and remind everyone of their responsibilities regarding data security and privacy.
Have fun. Finally, what would a holiday be without laughter? After you’ve made sure your personal and business devices and data are secure, check out this video or one of the other funny cybersecurity videos by thedefenceworks.com and enjoy a good laugh. We can probably all agree that after this year, we could all use one!
CSD – All about proactive cybersecurity
In sum, Computer Security Day is all about taking a proactive approach to cybersecurity. It is an ideal opportunity to bring the issue of cyberspace safety front and center and make it a core part of your personal and business practices. At the end of the day, it’s our responsibility to proactively protect our online security and prevent the theft and misuse of personal and financial data.