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Become a Good Cyber Citizen: Practice Good Cyber Hygiene

Everyone knows that to keep your body healthy you must practice good hygiene  washing your hands frequently, brushing your teeth, etc. Likewise, there are important guidelines for practicing good cyber hygiene.  Keeping your computer clean and safe from viruses and other malware is a matter of constant vigilance and attention to the basic principles of IT best practices.  You need only read the headlines of your favorite news outlet to realize how significant this is in our growing world of data.

Bodily hygiene includes all the routine maintenance that is needed to keep a human body in good condition. Its role is not just to prevent illness and decay, but also to enable the body to perform desired tasks at optimal levels.  There are two important principles about personal hygiene that translate into cyber environments:

  1. It is not intuitive. It has to be taught, and practiced, and monitored, and improved continuously.
  2. A lot of people don’t do it correctly or diligently. People rush, skip things, and ignore tasks they don't see as important or don’t tell the full truth.

Most organizations hire IT staff and vendors with sophisticated solutions to protect their cyber environments; however, a top-down only approach is not the most effective way to prevent problems.  The fact is that keeping a system safe is everyone’s job. 

Humans are the biggest risk factor for any organization’s cybersecurity structure.
Ensuring that individuals within an organization are being good cyber citizens is just as important to an organization’s security as any technology it can purchase.  After all, installing a high-tech security system for your house doesn’t do much good if you open the door and invite a burglar inside.  Instead, organizations should take a "no broken windows" policy that aggressively tackles the little steps in an effort to foster better institutional practices from the bottom up.

These little steps may not seem sufficient to prevent sophisticated cyber attacks; however, most attacks aren’t that sophisticated.  In fact, many rely on devices with default passwords that could be easily compromised, and people who do not know their networks and/or do not take responsibility for basic cyber hygiene.

Individuals cannot afford to remain uneducated about the risks and disengaged from best practices.  Each user needs to be familiar with security measures so that he or she can be less of a victim.   Good cyber hygiene practices include:

  1. Don’t open emails and attachments from unknown sources
  2. Keep antivirus definitions up-to-date and scanning regularly
  3. Patch your operating system and software
  4. Use strong authentication practices
  5. Be wary of social engineering attempts
  6. Avoid suspicious websites

Practicing good cyber hygiene means you will be a less tempting target to cyber attackers when they come knocking on your door. Organizations should strive to cultivate the attitude that cyber security is everyone’s responsibility. Working in concert with good cyber hygiene, sophisticated security operations services and analytics can deliver robust and effective protection against attackers of all levels of scale and sophistication. ViON’s solutions help connect companies and organizations to some of the most powerful cybersecurity tools available today, from vendors to the open source community. There are some exciting Apache Software Foundation open source initiatives tackling security from a data and analytics perspective:

  • Apache Metron leverages features of the Big Data ecosystem to ingest, organize, and analyze a variety of security data, as well as other information available to enterprises, and provides results that satisfy the needs of various roles.
  • Apache Spot attacks the security domain using Hadoop and Big Data tools built to handle data of large volume, velocity, and variety. Organizations like Intel have invested heavily in this project, wielding automated machine learning and open data models for enterprise-grade security.

Contact ViON today to learn more about how we can help you secure your cyber environment   or to learn more about projects like these, and how they can be delivered ready-for-use through ViON’s DataAdapt solution. Get started today by downloading our cyber hygiene poster to post at your desk or share with a colleague. To prevent becoming the next victim of cyber attacks, it’s time for everyone to take action.

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