October marks the 15th year of the recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness Month. Organized by the Department of Homeland Security, the goal of the observance is to Strengthen the Nation’s cybersecurity ecosystem through relevant dialogue and Cyber Hygiene awareness efforts.
For Strategic Information Resources, Cybersecurity Awareness Month takes on a special meaning, especially in the wake of last year’s Equifax data breach. So what are the best practices for keeping your personal data safe, in an environment where data compromises are increasingly common?
Practicing Good Cyber Hygiene
First, let’s take a look at a few measures we can all take to ensure we’re doing our part to safeguard our information on the web. It’s called practicing “good cyber hygiene”, and it’s a fundamental step in keeping your information safe.
- Update your security software and run periodic virus checks on your computer. Having the latest protection software can significantly lower your chances of being impacted by malware. Don’t forget to update your operating system, apps and web browsers- and consider using a firewall security system to monitor incoming and outgoing network traffic.
- Use complex passwords, and change them often. Whenever possible, use passwords that are at least eight characters long, and try to use letters, numbers, and symbols. Refrain from using words or phrases that are familiar to you, and try to avoid using identical passwords across platforms.
- Be vigilant of phishing scams. If you receive an email requesting personal information, or asking to reset a password, it is most likely a phishing scam. Be on the lookout for suspicious links/attachments, and don’t click them unless you know they’re from a reputable source. Phishing scams often contain typos, and may contain threatening calls to action in the subject line (i.e. “account has been suspended”).
By protecting your information now, you can save yourself from suffering serious consequences in the future. This is how SIR approaches the cybersecurity of our clients and consumers, and its why we’ve advocated common sense initiatives to protect your confidential data.
SIR’s Role in Cybersecurity
As a Credit Reporting Agency, SIR is proud to maintain a comprehensive security program designed to safeguard consumer information. We follow a wide range of information and physical security practices, all designed to prevent unauthorized access to sensitive consumer information. We are SOC II Type II examined and achieve the Experian benchmark EI3PA Certification annually. In addition to these measures, we maintain a third party service provider policy that requires our vendor partners to uphold the same level of data security measures.
SIR is also mindful of the impacts that compromised data or identity theft can have on a consumer, especially during a loan application process. That’s why we have contracted with NXG Strategies to offer Identity Restoration Services for all consumers with a credit report drawn from SIR. This service is free to these consumers, and provides special professional recovery services to help after a breach of identity.
Identity compromise is a situation nobody wants to find themselves in. But at SIR, we’re doing our part to protect consumers and their families in the unlikely event that identity theft does strike. Contact SIR at [email protected] for more information on what we can do to help.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. (2018, September 26). Retrieved October 18, 2018, from https://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month