Here we are at the last week of Cybersecurity Month. And what does Cybersecurity First mean to a person that is just starting out on the adventure of becoming a Cyber Security Analyst? What it means to me is that I had no idea how much our lives depend on the digital world. I never stopped to think about how large my own personal digital footprint was or how much of a hazard I was to myself before I started learning about the Cyber field. Cybersecurity first is more about how to keep yourself safe over the ease of remembering a password.
I can tell you that while I began my schooling, I thought I did understand the “rules” of the digital world. If fact, I had little to no idea that I was a big-time rule breaker. My passwords were the same with a very slight variable to them. I had one password for all my banking / credit card accounts. I had another for all other sites I used that required passwords. After having gone through school and understand the rules of cybersecurity, I have different passwords that are of significant length. I have also been teaching my folks how to keep their passwords safe and not written down. While we are closing the Cybersecurity Awareness Month, let’s keep our passwords secure and our computers free from getting a cold.
Let me tell you a story about myself and getting into trouble with giving my computer a “bad cold”. This was back when computers were still big bulky towers and the power was a fraction of what it is today. I had just gotten an email from a person that said that they knew a friend of mine and they thought I could use some extra income. Of course, being a 20 something and just out of the military, I thought why not. This person they were talking about was a good friend of mine at the time and I never thought to ask him if he knew them. They sent me a link to a website and had written instructions on what to do. I thought I was smart enough to know the difference between a fake site and a real site. Turns out I was wrong, and they gave my computer a nasty virus that I had to take into a Circuit City store to have them fix it. I had lost all my photos I had saved and I also had to close out my bank account and open a new one. I have since learned my lesson and have so far have not fallen victim again.
The take away from this story is that no matter how good something is, never take for granted that you know that outcome before the game is played. Fortunately, 20 some years later, we have agencies like CISA to help guide us through the perils of the digital world. Here is link to the Awareness page and a link to the tip sheet that has valuable information for the beginners in all of us.
CISA Cybersecurity Awareness month – https://www.cisa.gov/cybersecurity-awareness-month-resources