Cyber Security Tips: Proactively Protect Your Information

November 14, 2017

Protect yourself from a cyber attack

By John Davis, Vice President of Information and Technology Systems at Providence Health

As we all know, technology can be a blessing and a curse. Technological advances have not only improved how we deliver quality care to our community, but they’ve made our lives much easier, including how we pay our bills, how we purchase goods and how we keep up to date with our friends, family and the world.

Unfortunately, that convenience can bring with it the inconvenience of advanced risk of a cyber-attack on your personal identity and finances, or your workplace information systems. Recovering from an attack can be extremely stressful and time-consuming.

The good news is that there are some proactive things you can do to protect yourself from cyber-attack.

Power up your passwords.

Did you know that a hacker can break a six-character password in just two and a half hours? Creating longer passwords can increase the amount of time a hacker needs to break it – up to 10 years! And while you’re increasing your password length, make it a more difficult and time-consuming process for the bad guys to learn it by using a combination of special characters, numbers and upper case AND lower case letters. Finally, don’t use the same password for every log in. Diversify your passwords for extra security.

Think before you click.

A favorite method of mayhem for cyber attackers is “phishing” – fraudulent emails that claim to be from reputable companies. These fake emails try to get you to reveal personal information like credit card numbers, passwords and the like. Beware of opening suspicious emails that request personal info or invite you to click unknown links. Always think before you click to help prevent identity theft and stop cyber criminals in their tracks. Be sure and report any phishing or email fraud you receive on your work computers to your IT department.

Maximize your authentication.

The majority of cyber intrusions could be prevented by multi-factor authentication (MFA). MFA is a set of steps put in place for app and website logins which helps ensure that you are really you. MFA methods typically consist of two or more of: something you have, something you know and something you are. Implementing MFA helps reduce the chance of an attacker gaining access to your social media, bank accounts, etc. For more info on setting up MFA, visit www.twofactorauth.org.

Taking these simple proactive steps can help protect you, your family, and your workplace from cyber criminals. A little bit of preparation goes a long way for peace of mind.

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John Davis Vice President of Information Technology at Providence HealthJohn Davis, Vice President of Information technology and Systems for the Providence Health system in Columbia, SC, has over 20 years of Information Technology Management and Business Management experience in a variety of industries such as Legal, Healthcare, Financial, Government, Manufacturing and Environmental, including ten years in executive level positions over technology, facilities and telecommunications. He received a BS in Physics from Wofford College and a BME in Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology before settling into his career passion for Information Systems, further strengthened through his numerous software certifications.