As part of Cyber Security Awareness Month, Rootshell’s VP of Threat Services, Shaun Peapell, is sharing actionable cyber security tips to help individuals and organisations be safer online.

In Part One of his four-part series, Shaun shares his three most important tips that every individual and business should implement for cyber security best practice.

Read on for Shaun’s cyber security tips or watch his video below. Keep up with the rest of his series for Cyber Security Awareness Month on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.

Cyber Security Tip 1: Passwords

Create strong passwords

A strong password fulfils two criteria: it cannot be easily guessed or brute forced.

The best approach to creating strong passwords is to use passphrases, which are longer than 15 characters. A passphrase is a password composed of a sentence or a combination of words, e.g. baskettableduck. This method helps you memorise longer and more complex passwords, which is essential to ensuring your passwords will be strong.

The best practice tips below will also help ensure your passwords are as resilient as possible:

  • Don’t use personal information, e.g. date of birth, pet names, child’s name. This information can be easily obtained from social media accounts or by knowing you as a person.
  • Don’t use simple or common dictionary words or phrases.
  • Don’t rely on meeting a website’s minimum password length requirements. Many websites only require eight characters; we recommend at least 15.
  • Don’t re-use passwords on multiple sites. A ‘strong’ password only protects you if a platform is not compromised.
  • Avoid sequences of characters, e.g. 1234. If you need to change your current password, avoid ‘password series’ or ‘incremental password changes’, e.g. changing Bertie123, to Bertie1234, as this can be easily guessed.
  • Never, ever share your credentials with anybody.

Multifactor Authentication

Whenever it is offered to you, ensure you enable multifactor authentication to add additional layers of security to your accounts.

Multifactor authentication (also known as ‘MFA’, ‘two factor authentication’, or ‘2FA’) comes in three formats:

  • Something you know, e.g. a username and password
  • Something you are,g. fingerprint, facial recognition
  • Something you have, e.g. a token generating device that provides a one-time code

Strive to use, or even demand to use, multifactor authentication for as many of your accounts as possible to enhance your cyber security.

Cyber Security Tip 2. Data Protection

In a world where your data is at risk from threat actors, malicious software, and general hardware and software failure, backing up your data is vital.

Today, creating backups is so simple. There are countless providers offering online or cloud storage, often for free, as well as offline storage solutions.

You are only as current as your last backup, so make sure the time intervals between backups are as short as possible. Where possible, make sure you secure backups with encryption, especially on cold storage devices.

Take the time to review what information matters most to you, so you can arrive at the best backup solution for you and your business.

Cyber Security Tip 3. Software Updates

Maintaining the latest supported version of your software and applications is absolutely paramount.

Legacy software, outdated operating systems, and outdated firmware can increase your risk of being compromised. As devices, software, and applications age, threat actors work to reverse engineer, break, compromise, and discover vulnerabilities within them.

Software and application vendors work at pace to identify vulnerabilities as they arise. They roll out fixes for these security risks by offering software updates to protect end users.

Simply carrying out updates could protect you, your business, and those that you care about from nasty compromises.

Keep up with the rest of Shaun’s cyber security tips throughout Cyber Security Awareness Month on Linkedin, Facebook, and Twitter.