October is known for many celebrations, holidays and special recognitions. We’re thinking pink for breast cancer awareness month, basking in everything fall offers in Middle Tennessee and preparing for plenty of treats during this spooky season.
However, there’s one other thing we should all be doing this October: Making sure we’re all #cyberaware as part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. The Birthright Title team often addresses this topic in this blog space, but we wanted to make sure we kept that conversation going.
First, what is cybercrime? We’re glad you asked. It’s a blanket term covering any criminal activity that occurs via computer or the internet. For those of us in real estate, it goes by many names. Wire fraud is when a scammer poses as a trusted involved party and requests an immediate, emergency wire transfer of funds. Ransomware steals computer information and makes it inaccessible through invasive software.
Here are three ways we can all up those cyber defenses this month.
Talk about your commitment to security with others. This means highlighting the importance of looking out for cybercrime – and your plan to fight it – internally with your team and externally with your customers and partners. Make sure your colleagues are well-versed in what they should be doing in this area and do training if there’s a disconnect. On the flip side, pump up your dedication to this topic to others and make sure your vendors and partners have the same commitment to digital safety as you do. If not, they could be the weak link in your chain.
Actionable tips: Be positive in these conversations about this potentially scary topic and recognize those who are already doing a great job.
Be dedicated to those software updates. We know the “Remind me later” button is as tempting as your alarm snooze button. But don’t put it off. When you get a notification to update your software or computer, it may be for cybersecurity reasons. Even if you’re in the middle of a task at that very second, make sure you update by the end of the work day.
Actionable tip: Enable automatic updates for extra security and convenience.
Use strong passwords. You’ve likely heard this tip before, but it’s certainly worth repeating because weak and/or re-used passwords can be an easy way for hackers to gain access to any of your accounts. Recommendations are to use passwords that are at least 16 characters in length and are comprised of a random collection of letters, numbers and symbols. Need creative help? Use a password generator or come up with a phrase you’ll remember easily – but change up the spelling a bit for an extra layer of security.
Actionable tip: Consider using a secure password manager to help you remember all these unique passwords.
Want to know more about this topic? Check out the five Cs of cybersecurity and this very detailed tip list on the subject. Scammers, fraudsters and other cybercriminals are always a threat, and if something seems off, it probably is! Reach out to your BT team if you’re suspicious. Together, we’ll ensure our clients and their transactions stay safe and secure.