Are you ready for the next cyber breach?

If that massive data breach at Equifax taught us anything, it’s that we need to protect ourselves from digital threats. Whether you realize it or not, your information is likely online somewhere. Hopefully, it’s well-protected, but what if it’s not? Have you taken steps to guard yourself against identity theft? Have you updated passwords recently? Are your social media privacy settings as strict as possible? These are just some of the things you must consider.

Throughout October’s National Cyber Security Awareness month, Better Business Bureau Serving the Northwest and the National Cyber Security Alliance have teamed up to offer tips to help keep you safe.

When it comes to your personal information, keep this advice in mind:

Consumers should think of personal information like money: value and protect it. They should also be sure they are on a legitimate site before entering personal information. Additionally, they should be wary of communications that pressure them to act immediately or offer something that sounds too good to be true.

Get two steps ahead. Users should consider looking for new technology that incorporates the strongest authentication tools such as two-factor authentication. This tool requires users to not only sign in with a password and username but also something extra only the user knows or something they have such as a fingerprint or face for facial recognition.

Keep machines updated. To keep online threats, viruses and malware away, consumers should make sure all devices have the latest security software. Updating devices can reduce the risk of infection from malware.

Be careful when clicking and sharing. Links in emails, social media posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to steal personal information. If something looks suspicious, delete it and research it before you share it.

If you are a business owner, you face a whole other set of challenges and threats.

The National Cyber Security Alliance recommends this five-step approach following guidance from the National Institute of Standards and Technology:

Identify. Take inventory of key technologies you use and know what information you need to rebuild your infrastructure from scratch. Inventory the key data you use and store and keep track of likely threats.

Protect. Assess what protective measures you need to have in place to be as prepared as possible for a cyber incident. Put protective policies in place for technologies, data and users, and ensure that your contracts with cloud and other technology service providers include the same protections.

Detect. Put measures in place to alert you of current or imminent threats to system integrity, or loss or compromise of data. Train your users to identify and speedily report incidents.

Respond. Make and practice an Incidence Response Plan to contain an attack or incident and maintain business operations in the short term.

Recover. Know what to do to return to normal business operations after an incident. Protect sensitive data and your business reputation over the long term.

For cybersecurity tips, other scams and the latest alerts, download the BBB App at bbbapp.org. Anyone who feels they may be a victim of a cybercrime should report it to local law enforcement and BBB Scam Tracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.

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