Welcome back to the TCE Strategy monthly technology and cybersecurity newsletter! The mission of this publication is to cut through the clutter of cybersecurity news stories and provide you with the most important, relevant and actionable cybersecurity information.
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In this issue:
Month's News in Review
Upcoming Speaking Events
TCE Strategy in the News
Must Read Articles This Month
Cybersecurity Tip of the Month
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This Month's News in Review
People, Process, Technology.
In previous newsletters, we have reviewed the critical need to patch computers and decommission old Internet-facing systems to prevent security breaches, exactly the same way that Equifax and Colonial Pipeline didn’t. Those patches do matter, but for many breaches, the technology itself isn’t the root cause. It’s the people using those systems. Think of it like driving a car: when it comes to automotive safety, systems built into a car (airbags, seat belts, etc.) are indeed very important, but the driver of the car is even more important.
It comes down to knowledge. Scams do NOT go after unintelligent people (note the Harvard professor example above). They go after uninformed people. They go after people who have not been given the knowledge to understand how these scams work so that they can recognize them and avoid them. To that end, I want to offer anyone reading this email a free electronic copy of my book, Secure Enough? 20 Questions on Cybersecurity for Business Owners and Executives. Simply send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will email you a copy. This book is my attempt to help bridge the gap of cybersecurity knowledge that everyone needs to keep themselves safe from cybercriminals.
Until next month, stay safe!
Upcoming Speaking Events
Here is a list of the cities that I will be in over the next few months. Please reach out if you have an event in mind!
September 1st-3rd, Eau Galle, WI
September 26th-28th, Salem, OR
October 2nd, Brainerd, MN
October 11th-14th, Sacramento, CA
October 22nd-24th, New Orleans, LA
November 1st-4th, Albany, NY
November 27th-30th, Key West, FL
December 4th-6th, Indianapolis, IN
As the back-to-school season approaches (or has already arrived for some), students are not only preparing for new classes and educational challenges but also stepping into a digital landscape that requires careful consideration of cybersecurity. Here are 5 cybersecurity tips for students and parents as another school year begins:
1) Strong and Unique Passwords
Encourage students to create strong, unique passwords for their school accounts. A mix of letters, numbers, and symbols are a good place to start or consider using a passphrase that's easy to remember but hard to guess. Emphasize the importance of never sharing passwords with anyone, including friends. Each online account should have its own distinct password to prevent a potential breach from affecting multiple accounts. Consider using a reputable password manager for students to keep track of their passwords securely—many even offer a family plan option so the whole family can take advantage of this tool.
2) Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA)
I include this tip often when making cybersecurity recommendations. Enable MFA whenever possible. This adds an extra layer of protection by requiring a second form of verification, such as a code sent to a smartphone, in addition to the password. Guide students through the process of setting up 2FA for their various accounts, including email, social media, and learning platforms.
3) Keep Software Updated
Outdated software and operating systems are susceptible to security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. Teach students the importance of regularly updating their devices, applications, and antivirus software. These updates often include security patches that address known vulnerabilities, helping to keep their devices and personal information safe. Encourage students to enable automatic updates whenever possible.
4) Beware of Phishing Scams & Use Safe Social Media Practices
Educate students about phishing scams, where cybercriminals attempt to trick individuals into revealing sensitive information. Advise them to avoid clicking on suspicious links or providing personal details through email or social media. Caution students against oversharing on social media platforms as personal information shared online can be exploited by cybercriminals. Remind them to adjust privacy settings and only connect with people they know in real life.
5) Data Backups
Encourage regular data backups to prevent the loss of important schoolwork and personal files. External hard drives are relatively inexpensive and can be used to keep copies of assignments and projects safe in the event of a cyberattack or issue with your student’s devices.
Equipping students with cybersecurity knowledge is as vital as providing them with textbooks and school supplies. As technology continues to evolve and digital threats continue to grow, a proactive approach to cybersecurity will remain crucial. My hope is that these back-to-school cybersecurity tips help you and your students to have a safe, secure, and productive school year!