In 2022, there were 15 million data breaches worldwide in the third quarter of the year alone, meaning the risk of cyberattacks remains high. As the end of the year approaches, it is a good time to think about the safety of both your personal and business systems, apps, and accounts.
Here are some general housekeeping tips to ensure you go into 2023 making sure your systems are safe from attacks, that involves reducing vulnerabilities and hardening security measures.
Update Your Passwords
If you have been using the same password for a long time on any of your online accounts, it is a good idea to replace them with a new stronger password to protect against hackers. There are five simple ways to create a strong password that require only a few minutes of your time to implement. When it comes to creating better passwords, there are some things you should avoid to prevent others from obtaining them, which includes creating a short password or the same password for all accounts. Following these guidelines will help prevent someone from easily guessing your password.
Another great avenue for creating, updating, and managing your password is using a password manager. There are plenty of companies that offer this service for free or paid. We recommend you look into them and pay close attention to the features they provide to fit your needs.
A good password manager will have some or all of the following features:
- Password Generator: To create strong, random passwords
- Secure Storage: A safe place to store your password securely
- End-to-End Encryption: To protect passwords from being read during transit or in storage
- Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): To ensure that even if the master password for the manager becomes exposed, the account can remain secure
- Ease-of-Use: An easy-to-navigate UI is essential to being able to quickly understand and use a password manager without devoting too much time and resources
Clean Up Old Accounts
Do you have outdated accounts you used at one time but don’t any longer? You’ll want to delete accounts and cancel services to reduce the number of vulnerabilities in your system. Look at old file-sharing systems where you may have stored files or pictures or other services where you may still have an active account and possibly even a credit card on file. Remove any financial or personal info that could be used against you, or close the account altogether.
If you choose to close the account, make sure the company will delete all your data within their database. If that company keeps your data and has a breach, it will make you vulnerable as well.
These types of tasks can be tedious, which is why we tend to put them off, but it is necessary to keep us and our businesses safe. If you are not well versed in the scope of accounts you used or find that sitting down for hours to work on this is too daunting a task, it might be helpful to break this project into smaller, bite-size tasks.
An easy way to get started is to take inventory of all the accounts you are using, have others help you jog your memory, and write them down. Then you can tackle two or three of them at a time, auditing to see if you still need the account and closing it if you no longer do. It is best to begin with the most relevant accounts and work your way down to the ones you have not accessed in a while. Another way you can prioritize accounts is to order them by which have the largest potential risk to you and go from there.
Check Your Computer and Mobile Security
If you have security software installed on your computer, open the console or log into the system to ensure it is active and has the latest updates applied. Check that the computer’s operating system is also getting updated.
If updates have not been applied, try and do it manually and ensure that they are set to run automatically from now on. Do the same for your mobile devices. These updates have important security features that can help secure your personal information on the device or access to your device.
Overall, it is best to keep up to date with news on cybersecurity attacks and vulnerabilities and check with your own systems to see if this vulnerability exists and make plans to fix it if it does.
Securing our systems and personal information is a year-round effort. But often, we put off these tasks because we do not prioritize them, other projects take precedence, or we avoid them because they are too tedious. But we do not want to leave our systems vulnerable to an attack that can cause devastating consequences like leaking sensitive data to the public and exposing our systems.
The end of the year is a good time to stop and take the time to check these things and do your part to make it as difficult as possible for bad actors to gain access to your systems or personal devices.
If you want to learn more about how to keep your systems safe, contact us at Data Evolution to discuss your specific needs and how we can help you protect your systems from cyberattacks.