There’s nothing scarier than losing your identity or finding out all of your critical data is gone – that’s why there is an entire month celebrating online security. This October is the 13th National Cyber Security Awareness Month – an event hosted by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance encouraging everyone to do their part to keep their online lives safe and secure. As a web host, we’re well aware of the part we play in this constant effort – and we follow stringent security practices both in our offices and our data centers.
We also make an effort to share best practices and tips to our customers, helping them become more secure. We sat down with a few members of our Security Team at Liquid Web and asked them what are the most common misconceptions they often need to counteract with online security. While you’re soaking in all the tips shared during this month, make sure to keep these ideas in mind.
- It’s Not Personal (It’s Code)
It’s easy to get trapped in the mindset that you’ll never be attacked – after all, what have you done to anyone? Similarly, if you are attacked, you may wonder what you did to cause it. Avoid this line of thought and remember this: Cyber attacks may not be personal. Hackers simply look for the low hanging fruit with vulnerable code – often through bots and other automated methods.
If you’re attacked it’s likely not for any reason other than your systems were one of thousands that were vulnerable. The hackers didn’t come after you – they came after your outdated plugin. The best method of defense against these automated attacks? Don’t be a low hanging fruit. Take a few basic steps (strong passwords, updated software and plugins, etc) to protect yourself and your data.
- Everyone Has a Role in Cyber Security
As your web host, we’ll make sure your data is secure, via encrypted networks, physically locked down buildings, and updated server software, among other ways. We can only control so much, however – there are plenty of steps that only you can take to protect your data. For example, home or work computers, websites and their code, and your email are all common attack vectors.
Sending critical data or updating your website via public wifi or on an unsecure machine can open you up to attack. Not to mention, no one but you can make sure that your home laptop has antivirus software installed or that your website’s code is clean and secure from hackers. To help your efforts, create a security policy for you, your business, and even your family to secure all potential attack vectors.
- Security is a Journey That Never Ends
While changing your password and checking for outdated software today are excellent first steps, they are not enough to ensure you will always be secure. Unfortunately cyber security is not a one-and-done issue, it is a never-ending process. You need to regularly review your systems and security policies to make sure you’re still protected. Tips like changing your passwords every few months, implementing two factor authentication, and monitoring your software for updates are often the best method of defense.
The general public may only focus on cyber security one month out of the year, but the truth is it should always be a priority. Security is a journey without end, instead it is a constantly evolving process – one that is vitally important for everyone to stay on top of.
What’s your favorite security tip?