As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, we are providing tips to help you protect your personal information. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is a collaborative effort by government, nonprofit, and industry stakeholders to ensure you have the necessary information to stay more secure online.
Following are five “Take-action Tips” to help keep your information safe and secure.
Lock down your login
At home and at work, security is critical to protecting highly personal accounts. One of the first things everyone needs to do is ensure that passphrases are lengthy, unique, and safely stored. In addition, it is essential to fortify accounts by adopting strong authentication, which adds another layer of protection.
Update your system and software
Don’t procrastinate any longer. Having the latest updates, security software, web browser, and operating system is one of the easiest ways to keep devices secure and protect data. This simple “digital to do” will help keep cybercriminals at bay.
Back it up
Protect your personal and workplace data by making electronic copies or backups of your most important files. Whether its family photos, health records, or employee contacts, back up your files and set a schedule to do so regularly throughout the year.
Know what devices to digitally “shred”
Computers and mobile phones aren’t the only devices that capture and store sensitive, personal data. External hard drives, USBs, tape drives, embedded flash memory, wearables, networking equipment, and office tools like copiers, printers, and fax machines all contain valuable personal information.
Clear out stockpiles: If you have a stash of old hard drives or other devices—even if they’re in a locked storage area—information still exists and could be stolen. Don’t wait; wipe or destroy unneeded hard drives as soon as possible.
Empty your trash or recycle bin on all devices and be certain to wipe and overwrite; simply deleting and emptying the trash isn’t enough to completely get rid of a file. You must permanently delete old files. Use a program that deletes the data, “wipes” it from your device and then overwrites it by putting random data in place of your information—that then cannot be retrieved.
Various overwriting and wiping tools are available for electronic devices. For devices like tape drives, remove any identifying information that may be written on labels before disposal, perform a full factory reset and verify that no potentially sensitive information still exists on the device.
Decide what to do with the device
Once the device is clean, you can sell it, trade it in, give it away, recycle it, or have it destroyed. Note the following:
- Failed drives still contain data: On failed drives, wiping often fails, too; shredding/destruction is the practical disposal approach for failed drives. Avoid returning a failed drive to the manufacturer; you can purchase support that allows you to keep it—and then destroy it.
- To be “shredded,” a hard drive must be chipped into small pieces: Using a hammer to hit a drive only slows down a determined cybercriminal; instead, use a trusted shredding company to dispose of your old hard drives. Device shredding can often be the most time- and cost-effective option for disposing of a large number of drives.
Credit Union Resources helps you manage your cybersecurity risk
To evaluate credit union resiliency, the National Credit Union Administration and state auditors are evaluating cybersecurity programs rather than tools such as antivirus and firewalls. To address this change, Credit Union Resources developed a solution for credit unions of all sizes.
- Continuous monitoring (as a service): Provides visibility for our threat analysts, who monitor IT environments for attacks or policy violations.
- Incident response (IR): Assists in updating IR procedures and performing annual tabletop simulations, which take stakeholders through fictitious incidents, training them for their roles and responsibilities.
To find out how we can help you manage cybersecurity and operational risks, contact:
About Credit Union Resources Inc.
Credit Union Resources is a service corporation that provides industry-leading solutions and expertise to credit unions across the country. Credit Union Resources is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Cornerstone Credit Union League, a regional trade association representing the interests of credit unions in Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas. Learn more at curesources.coop.