October is Cyber-Security Awareness Month – Week 4

October 2018

Here at Fortis, we believe cyber-security is of the utmost importance, and we have made cyber-awareness a top priority for our Clients, Colleagues and Friends.  October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.  Fortis is promoting cyber security by sharing weekly tips and information during the month of October.


Cyber Security and Social Media

The ubiquity of social media can’t be understated. It effects the vast majority of our population – ranging from children to people well into their retirement years. As such, safeguarding these connections must be a top priority.

Earlier this month, some 30 million Facebook accounts were compromised due to a security breach. In addition, a few dozen accounts were removed from Facebook due to Russian companies who create biometric software for the Russian government extracting data from the social network. The companies were suspended by Facebook for policy violation. While these widespread acts can be punished, there are other heinous acts such as cyberbullying, stalking or harassment that are more specifically targeted social media violations – particularly among teens – that can be more difficult to track. Predators may use social media as a way to build a relationship with children, or could use account information to stalk or even harm them. Teens can use it to spread rumors, or share unflattering images. Unfortunately, in extreme cases, victims have taken their own lives.

Teens who are being bullied should notify their parents and/or the proper authorities. Parents can also monitor their accounts and stay involved by asking questions about who their kids interact with online. Here are some additional Best Practices.

  1. Check if you have been compromised already.  Check haveibeenpwned.com which has an easy search function to see if your email address has been leaked from some of the biggest hacks to date. While this site does not cover every leak, it should give you some insight into just how big of a risk cybersecurity is to our ever-connected society. If you do not show up on this site now, be wary that the next breach could have already happened, and you don’t even know about it yet.
  2. Enable multi-factor authentication.This should be standard security practice for everyone online today. Multi-factor authentication forces anyone logging into an account to supply a code sent to an external device or use other 3rd party software.
  3. Avoid password reuse at all cost. We know it can be difficult nowadays, when everyone has several dozen logins, to generate and remember unique, robust passwords. We suggest a password manager, which can automatically generate and store passwords, such as the popular Dashlane and LastPass products.
  4. Update your security settings on all digital and social channel regularly. There are lots of good step-by-step privacy guides online to help get your settings secure.
  5. Curate your connections. Cleaning out “friends,” followers, connections and more can take some serious time. While having the most connections may have seem like a popularity contest, it is also a huge liability to both your personal and professional life. The more connections you have, the more potential ways for a fraudulent or compromised account to send you a malicious link. Not everyone is as aware as you are, and friends may share things they don’t realize are malicious. Remember that while these networks are social in nature, that does not mean that they are particularly safe.
  6. Monitor social media and digital channels for business and security risks. Continuously watch for phishing links, fraudulent accounts, scams and more. Invest in a digital risk monitoring solution to help you remediate malicious content. Most of all, take social media security seriously. Learn to protect yourself and, more importantly, your business. Although the least impactful of social attacks, account takeovers, are often relatively harmless vandalism and trolling, imagine if a cybercriminal blasted your [enter number of followers] followers with a fake coupon (“2016/7 season tickets half-off for the next 30 minutes! #discount #football”) appended with the latest and greatest malware. Imagine the cataclysmic fallout of a cybercrime at the scale and speed of social media.
  7. Stay vigilant! Humans are simultaneously the weakest security link and the strongest defense. Whenever you’re online, remember that bad things can happen. Everyone should analyze accounts, links and direct messages with a careful, skeptical eye. When in doubt, don’t click.