Oct 8, 2020
October is Cybersecurity Awareness
Month. Thanks to my guests Tom Taylor and Thomas Riebe for going
over a fantastic list of items you can do to secure your digital
While not a perfect transcript of
our episode, here is an overview of all the items that we spoke
from in the episode. Use this as a checklist to do your own
cybersecurity month health checkup.
- Make a list of all the online
services you use and endeavor to change the password on all of them
at least once per year.
- Consider getting a password
manager to help secure and manage your online accounts and
passwords to make life easier. BitWarden, Dashlane, and LastPass
are all good options that have free versions. Utilize the password
manager to ensure that no two passwords are the same. If used
properly, you will only need to remember one password and you won't
even know the password for your bank account. It takes time to set
up a password manager and get used to it, but you will be more
secure and it will make life easier.
- Enable multi-factor authentication
on as many accounts as you can. Link your cell phone number,
alternate email address, or get a hardware token to secure your
online accounts wherever you can.
- Hardware tokens are easy to use
and are a great way to secure your accounts. Hardware tokens are
little devices that act as a digital fingerprint. No two are alike,
and they allow you to uniquely identify yourself to places like
your Bank or Facebook. As long as you have it, and no one else
does, no one can get into your accounts.
- If you are in the market for a
hardware token, I recommend starting out with a FIDO2 compatible
token. They are inexpensive, offer great security, and are easy to
use. FIDO stands for “Fast Identity Online”. At its heart, FIDO is
an open security standard, created by companies like Google, RSA,
Microsoft, and PayPal in an effort to combat online account theft.
FIDO2 is merely the second generation of the
- FIDO2 tokens are supported by most
modern web browsers, and many online services such as Amazon,
Facebook, Google, Twitter, and over a hundred other websites. I
personally like the Yubico Blue FIDO2 Security tokens. They are
very durable and will fit on your keychain. They can be used to
protect any number of your online accounts.
- We generally don’t give house keys
to everyone who visits our homes, but we seem to allow everyone to
use our WiFi when they visit. Be sure to utilize the guest network
feature of your home router to grant guests access, or change the
WiFi password on your home router at least once / year if guest
network functionality is not available on your router.
- Keep your antivirus updated on
your computers and install all recommended security updates when
they are available. There are many choices for home Anti-Virus.
Immunet and Sophos are two good free home AV choices.
- Consider getting a new smartphone
if yours is over 5 years old. Smartphones don't last forever. Just
because your old phone may still charge and make calls, does not
mean it's still good to use. Smartphones need updates just like
computers, and eventually, they won't get updates because the
manufacturer will stop supporting them.
- Simplify your digital life. Go
back to online services you don't use anymore and close your
accounts. This is the same concept as closing out old unused lines
of credit or bank accounts at banks you no longer do business with
anymore. Unused accounts are a liability that you can easily
- Keep tabs on your IoT items such
as cameras, virtual assistants, thermostats, and other smart
devices. Know what all you have in your home so that you can keep
an eye on their vulnerabilities and address them as you become
aware. If your home router supports isolating these devices onto
their own network, take advantage of those options.
- Social media has given us all a
platform to share our voices, but it’s our choice how we use these
platforms. Be careful what you share, and with whom you share. Bad
actors can utilize the information you share online against you.
What you post and what bad actors see are two very different
Take time to read your student or
employee handbook policies on social media policies and understand
where the line between personal protected speech begins and
To quote the Ivy Tech handbook, "You
have rights afforded by state and federal law, but be aware that
not everything you say or post online is protected. False,
defamatory, harassing, or intimidating postings are not protected
free speech. Inappropriate postings about co-workers, students,
supervisors, College policies, actions, or decisions could be the
basis for disciplinary action."
Be aware of what you have on the
internet and consider evaluating your online content from
Lastly, I'd like to remind folks
that Fall isn't only about national Cybersecurity awareness month.
There’s been a lot going on this year. COVID-19 has affected our
communities in many different ways. Technology played a major role
in keeping us connected. It allowed us to stay in touch with
friends and loved ones, and enabled us to continue our educational
goals. In spite of everything that has happened, and all of the
amazing things that technology has allowed us to do, it wasn’t
technology that got us through this year; it was the people around
us. Not only were we #InThisTogether, but we also found out we were
stronger together. Be sure to take some time this season and unplug
and let the people around you know you’re thankful for
You can connect with Kara Monroe on
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