This guest post was authored by Bugcrowd researcher Anon_Hunter.

What a spooky and ominous combo this month! October is a month of ghosts and ghouls, witches and wizards. But those all seem pretty docile compared to the potential cybersecurity threat that is around us year round.

Today’s technology-saturated world is extremely vulnerable to cyber threat, and these are constantly evolving. The list of prospective threats can seem endless, even with firewalls, antivirus solutions, and cybersecurity awareness, cybercriminals still manage to exploit any vulnerabilities they can find. This could be because they exploit attack vectors that are known to your organization (but remain unaddressed for some reason) or because they’ve discovered vulnerabilities that are not yet known to you. Either way, you still sometimes lose. 

Cyber attacks are not a matter of “if,” but “when” they will occur. Unless you somehow gain omniscience (and if that happens, be sure to reach out and we can split the cost of a lotto ticket), there’s really no way for you to know every single vulnerability that exists on your network or within your organization. After all, security risks come in all shapes, sizes, attack vectors, and levels of potency in the digital world. And, considering that threats to cybersecurity are continually changing and adapting, it’s a challenge to keep up with them all. 

So, what can you do? This is where cybersecurity awareness plays a crucial role. 

I believe cybersecurity awareness revolves around cyber hygiene. The theme explains and prompts you to implement simple behaviors to protect yourself from cyber threats. Cyber hygiene is often compared to personal hygiene. Much like an individual engages in certain personal hygiene practices to maintain good health and well-being, cyber hygiene practices can keep data safe and well-protected. In turn, this aids in maintaining properly functioning devices by protecting them from outside attacks, such as malware, which can hinder functionality. 

Cyber hygiene relates to the practices and precautions users take with the aim of keeping sensitive data organized, safe, and secure from theft and outside attacks. It is a reference to the practices and steps that users of computers and other devices take to maintain system health and improve online security. These practices are often part of a routine to ensure the safety of identity and other details that could be stolen or corrupted. Much like physical hygiene, cyber hygiene is regularly conducted to ward off natural deterioration and common threats. 

Having a routine cyber hygiene procedure for your computers and software is beneficial for two distinct reasons – maintenance and security. 

Maintenance is necessary for computers and software to run at peak efficiency. Files become fragmented and programs become outdated, increasing the risk of vulnerabilities. Routines that include maintenance are likely to spot many of these issues early and prevent serious issues from occurring. A system that is well-maintained is less likely to be vulnerable to cybersecurity risks. 

Security is perhaps the most important reason to incorporate a cyber hygiene routine. Hackers, identity thieves, advanced viruses, and intelligent malware are all part of the hostile threat landscape. While predicting threats can be challenging, preparing and preventing them becomes feasible with sound cyber hygiene practices. 

Cyber hygiene is about training yourself to think proactively about your cybersecurity — as you do with your daily personal hygiene — to resist cyber threats and online security issues. Unfortunately, cybersecurity still isn’t taken as seriously as cavities and root canals. Some people take cybersecurity for granted, but this may change, as cyber threats continue to evolve. In the meantime, establishing solid cyber hygiene practices should be as routine as brushing your teeth.

Stay safe and HAPPY HALLOWEEN!


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