Cybersecurity Awareness Month - October

Four key actions to stay safe online



10/15/20232 min read

Happy Cybersecurity Awareness Month! The 2023 theme, "Secure Our World," encourages everyone to take four key actions to help improve your cyber safety.

1. Using strong passwords (and a password manager)

Stealing passwords remains a popular way for criminals to gain unauthorised access. Choosing a strong and complex password will make it harder for hackers to guess it – watch this short video to learn how to create one.

We also recommend that you consider using a password manager, which can store, generate, and even apply your passwords. Making it easier to have different passwords for each of your accounts.

2. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA)

MFA is a security measure that requires an additional proof of identity, beyond just a password, to grant you access. This could include a one-time passcode, facial recognition, or a fingerprint which are much harder for hackers to replicate. This stops unauthorised people from accessing your systems containing precious data.

To illustrate the importance of MFA, check out this article. It details how cybercriminals accessed an organisation’s security administration system and turned every security setting off – an issue MFA may have prevented.

3. Recognising and reporting phishing attacks

Earlier this year, Sophos commissioned an independent survey of 3,000 IT professionals into their experiences at the cyber front line. It revealed that email was the root cause of 30% of ransomware attacks, and that phishing is number two in their list of top security concerns for 2023*.

Phishing emails aim to trick you into revealing sensitive information or doing something that will help the attackers.​Think you’ve spotted a phishing email? Report it immediately to your IT team!​ You’ll be helping others stay safe from similar attempts.​

For more tips on phishing, check out this article. It highlights the four main steps attackers take when creating convincing phishing emails.

4. Updating Software

The exploitation of unpatched vulnerabilities was the leading root cause of cyber incidents investigated by Sophos in 2022*. Keeping on top of updates makes software less vulnerable to exploitation by malicious actors. Updates also add new/enhanced features and boost the general performance of the software.​

Exploited vulnerabilities can have dire consequences as millions of users of MOVEit Transfer (a system that makes it easy to store and share files) discovered earlier this year. You can learn more about this high-profile incident here.