October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. As Workit Health’s IT Specialist, I’m here to share a few security recommendations with you. 

During my I.T career, I’ve worked in the trenches of cyber defense. The past year alone, I worked at a security operations center. There, I was part of a team that was specialized in investigating security vulnerabilities and incidents. There, I personally monitored the security networks of hospitals, large restaurants and fortune 500 companies. I learned to think like a hacker because on the job, if I couldn’t spot one and report them, the private health information of people like you and I was at risk of being stolen. 

The number one lesson I learned from my time working the front lines was this: the majority of cyber threats can be prevented with small adjustments. Here are the easiest ones you can do right now to make it very unlikely for a bad actor to access your account. 

Activate Two-Factor Authentication.

Bar none, this is the most effective way to keep your account safe from unauthorized access. It doesn’t matter if a person is on the other side of the world, if they have your email address and your password, they will be able to access your account if that is the only defense it has. If you enable Two-Factor Authentication(2FA), your account has a form of defense that has nothing to do with your password or username. It involves entering your password and a code sent to your phone via text message to sign in to your account. That way, if a person is able to guess or steal your password, they still can’t access your account unless they also have your actual cell-phone. 

To enable 2FA:

  • Log in to the Workit App on your computer or mobile device. 
  • Click your name in the top right corner and then click the profile button. 
  • After that, click the Password and Security tab in the middle of the left most column. 
  • There at the bottom, you can enable 2FA after entering your password.

 

Strengthen Your Password.

2FA is necessary because most passwords are weak. Hackers have big files on the internet full of every word and number in the dictionary in every language. If your password is simple, those hacking programs are capable of correctly guessing it within a few seconds. More than that, people who you know might be able to guess it. A hacker might not know your son’s name or where you went to middle school, but an abusive ex might. 

The goods news is if you follow the following guidelines when making your password, it will be secure enough to make the majority of password cracking and guessing methods completely ineffective. 

A great password:

  • Is at least 10 characters long
  • Includes uppercase letters, lowercase ones and special characters like @ or !
  • Is not used for any other website and isn’t shared with anybody else

Don’t overthink it. Your password doesn’t need to be some complex cipher that you have no chance of remembering. The new school of thought with passwords recommends use of easily remembered unique phrases. For example, a password like “Imbad@pa$$words!” is pretty easy to remember while being pretty complicated. Can you imagine someone trying to successfully guess that by hand? Better still, it’s complicated enough that even a super computer would take a ridiculous amount of time to crack it. 

Having a unique password for each account is a pain. There’s no getting around that. The internet used to be a gentler place. Now, hackers aren’t isolated. They are part of learning communities that exchange leaked password lists like kids trading magic cards. If one of your passwords is leaked, the first thing someone is going to do with that password is check to see if it works for every major bank website along with Paypal and Cash app. Keeping a unique password for each site makes sure that a leak in one site doesn’t lead to a leak in every site.  

To change your password:

  • Log in to the Workit App on your computer or mobile device. 
  • Click your name in the top right corner and then click the profile button. 
  • After that, click the Password and Security tab in the middle of the left most column. 
  • There, enter your current password followed by a strong new password. 

 

Add 2FA to your email account.

If your online presence were a house, your email account could be considered your safe. It’s a locked vault that contains a lot of potentially personal information. You might securely send email to your health providers, but if somebody got into your email, they could access the copies of those emails. On top of that, your email account can be used to reset your password for other accounts. Someone could use it to impersonate you and scam friends or family, damaging your reputation and relationships.

Enabling 2FA is different depending on which email you use, please find a few guides for some of the more popular email options.

Enable 2FA for Google Mail

Enable 2FA for Microsoft Outlook

Enable 2FA for Yahoo Mail

Just remember, the only thing you need for 2FA is a cell phone and it basically guarantees that the only person getting into any of your accounts is you. For many people, that peace of mind of worth it in an increasingly hostile internet. 

 

Don’t get phished:

Know this. Nobody from any reputable service is going to ask you for your password over phone, email or chat. I know for a fact there is no reason anybody at Workit Health will ever need the password of your account for any reason. Hackers and scammers will sometimes impersonate IT support or medical staff in an effort to trick unsuspecting people into giving out important information. We at Workit Health have the utmost respect for the privacy of your data and the secure integrity of your accounts.  

Treat your passwords and personal information for the precious data they are and guard them. In your life, plenty of people will ask you to show things to prove you are who you say you are. Flip that back on those asking things from you to make sure you aren’t victim of a phishing scam. 

Look, I get it. For a lot of people, using the Internet is already hard enough without making it harder. In spite of that, the world we live in has made one thing clear: we’re not going to be doing less online. We’re going to be doing more. 

We shop online, entertain ourselves online, bank online, work online and yes, even get medical care online. In the future, we might see more heavy regulation on the internet that may give a certain standard of safety to all things we do online. 

That said, until the world governments start legislating as fast as new technology develops, we are going to find ourselves in situations where we need to be proactive in order to best keep ourselves safe. In the real world, that might look like buying an alarm system or getting a big dog. In the online world, that’s getting 2FA and strong, unique passwords. 

The security of your data and accounts is always top of mind to us at Workit. We offer great thanks for any ways you can assist us in better protecting it. If you have any questions about specific questions about your account, please reach out of us and we’re happy to answer.