It’s time to bring out the fluffy, and rumor is baggy is making a come back. The 90s were fantastic except the baggy part, but as the quote by Anne Bronte goes, “But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose.”
October is what I would call a fully loaded month. Among many others, it is a National Apple, Chili, and Cyber Security Month. Guess which I’d like to touch on this week! I’m sure the answer is obvious, but I thought I’d give you my favorite chili recipe and a list of the 10 best apple orchards in US before I dive in. Hopefully this way you can be less sad that Summer is over and more excited about Fall.
Now onto the main course of National Cyber Security Month. I thought it would be helpful to provide you with a digestible list of good cyber security practices. By no means this is a complete list, but every step towards the right direction helps!
PASSWORD MANAGER It seems we can’t get out of the bed these days without needing a password. You should all be using a password manager to track your log-in information so you can rest your mind. Password managers are not only the most secure way to store your passwords, they can also help generate them, keep track of change history, notify you if your password is leaked, and help setup multi-factor authentication (more on that later). Here is a list of most popular password managers.
MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION Using only username and a password for authentication is like having a house door without a deadbolt: It doesn’t take much to break through. Multi-factor authentication adds an additional layer by generating a random code to be used when logging in (either SMS supported or app supported). Here you can read more about how MFA works and authentication apps that are considered to be the best. I suggest turning on MFA in as many places as you possibly can.
ENCRYPTION Windows (BitLocker) and MAC (FileVault) computers support disk encryption. If your computer hardware supports this feature, I recommended enabling it. If your computer is lost or stolen, disk encryption ensures your data on the computer is not easily accessible by simply accessing its drive. Be extra careful saving passwords and encryption keys, however. If lost, you may lock yourself out of your own computer. Here is how to turn it on for PC and MAC.
UPDATES, UPDATES, UPDATES Whether it’s your operating system, an application, or a smartphone, updates should be applied promptly. Software bugs that are not patched are the most utilized points of entry for bad actors.
BE SUSPICIOUS Hackers have turned phishing into an art form. I was recently on a call with a client who did something I applauded: Before speaking with me, they asked something only I would know. Thankfully I passed the test! Be less trusting and question anything that seems even slightly suspicious.
UPDATE HARDWARE PROMPTLY Devices that don’t support encryption or no longer receive updates become easy targets. Updating your device promptly ensures your security features are current and that you proactively address any device related problems.
SHARE SECURELY Don’t email sensitive information. If you have our email service, use email encryption.
KEEP CURRENT MALWARE PROTECTION There is never a guarantee of total protection from malware. However, you can significantly reduce your chances of infection by ensuring a reputable malware protection is installed and kept up to date on your computers.
AVOID PUBLIC WIFI When possible, use your cellular hotspot. Communally accessed networks with low budget hardware and setups can mean that other guest WIFI users can knowingly or unknowingly breach your computer.
NOT SECURE ENOUGH Cyber security is a cat and mouse game. The “it’s secure enough” mentality is how you become an easy target. Make regular security checks and updates a recurring habit.
BACKUP, BACKUP, BACKUP No matter the attack, with a proper and secure backup system, all can be put back together in most cases. No matter who the provider or what the service is, having backups in a separate location is a must.
EDUCATE & PROMOTE GOOD SECURITY Don’t accept poor security practices from anyone in your team. Be on the lookout for how everyone in the company behaves and set guidelines for all to follow.
…and there is my list for you in acknowledgment of Cyber Security Month! You may not get to check each item above, but even implementing just one will greatly improve your security. So, take one, get it done, and move onto the next! Like the cool dude in the photo above, you may think you look funny or feel like you are overdoing it. But those of us who have caught a nasty cold before know it’s better to look funny in a jacket than be miserable with the consequences.
Sending you a virtual pumpkin spice latte, till we meet again,
– Burak Sarac, Team Lead
Create a Secure Folder on Your Phone
The lock screen on your smartphone is an essential barrier to anyone looking to gain access to the device: It stops people from getting at your data, your social media accounts, your banking apps, and everything else. However, you may well want to add a second barrier to entry for anyone who gets past your lock screen. In those situations, a secure folder can protect your most important files—such as photos or documents—from prying eyes, requiring another authentication method such as a PIN code or a recognized fingerprint before it will open up. Read more here.
Adopt a Shelter Dog Month!
October is the month when we turn our hearts toward the hopeful dogs waiting to find forever homes. To celebrate, we are shamelessly shouting out our office manager’s current foster pup: Ziva! Ziva is a foster with One Tail at a Time, and just look at her baby blue eyes! She is 2 years old and has the playful energy to match, but is 100% cuddle-bug at heart. When excited, her tail spins like a helicopter, especially when greeting her people after they come home from work! Ziva isn’t food motivated, but she’ll do anything for a head scratch and praise. Know someone looking for a forever friend? Send Ziva’s profile their way!
WhatsApp is Rolling Out Sharable Call Links
Links for video calls are common across apps like Zoom or Google Meet. But now popular chat app WhatsApp is also rolling out this feature so you can share a link of a call with family and friends. The call links feature is rolling out this week to all users, so you will need to keep an eye on app updates from WhatsApp. Read more here.
International Coffee Day is October 1st
Humanity prepares coffee for many uses: drinks, candies, medicine, and some ancient civilizations even used it as currency! No matter how you take it, coffee can energize you, warm you up, refresh you, keep you awake, and even catch you up with your loved ones. Visiting your favorite café would be a great way to celebrate, but we suggest trying to up your at-home coffee game as well. It’s surprisingly easy and very satisfying!