Cybersecurity in the Sun - Staying Digitally Safe in the Summer Months
May 26, 2023 | By: Stephen Boals
Cyber Awareness Tips for the Heat
We are now a few weeks from the official start of summer, just enough notice for some security awareness and preparation. As the temperature rises, so do our spirits; with summer comes not only vacations, pool parties, and barbecues but also an increased risk of cyber threats. Yes, you read it correctly. Cybersecurity is a year-round concern, but the summer months can often present unique challenges that require additional attention. Let’s delve into why this is the case and how you can ensure your digital safety this season.
Why Summer is a Hot Season for Cyber Threats
Surprisingly, the increase in cyber threats during summer isn’t due to the heat making our computers more susceptible. Instead, it’s a combination of human behavior and criminal activity. Here’s why:
- Vacation Time – The summer months are a popular time for vacations. While this is a great way to relax and recharge, it often means that businesses are left with skeleton crews or temporary workers who might not be as vigilant or trained in recognizing and dealing with cyber threats.
- Relaxed Attitudes – Just as people tend to be more carefree during summer, they can also become lax in their digital habits. This could mean connecting to unsecured public Wi-Fi at the beach or pool, not updating security software because it’s inconvenient during vacation time, or falling for phishing scams disguised as summer deals.
- Increased Cybercriminal Activity – Cybercriminals are aware of these seasonal changes in behavior and staffing. As a result, they often ramp up their activities during the summer, taking advantage of the increased vulnerabilities.
5 Tips for Staying Digitally Safe in the Summer
Understanding the increased risk is the first step; the next is taking action to mitigate these risks. Here are some tips to help you stay digitally safe this summer:
- Keep Software and Systems Updated – Before you leave for vacation, ensure all your devices, including your smartphone, tablet, and laptop, are running the latest versions of their operating systems and applications. This includes updating antivirus software, which can protect your devices from new threats.
- Be Cautious with Wi-Fi – It’s tempting to connect to free Wi-Fi at hotels, cafes, or pools, but this can expose your device to risk. If you must use public Wi-Fi, consider using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to secure your connection.
- Set Strong, Unique Passwords – If you haven’t updated your passwords in a while, summer is a good time to do so. Make sure each password is unique and complex, combining letters, numbers, and symbols. Consider using a password manager to help keep track.
- Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) – If available, always enable 2FA for your accounts. This adds an extra layer of security, requiring you to verify your identity through a second method, usually a text message or an app.
- Educate Your Team – Make sure your staff is aware of the increased risks during the summer. Provide them with resources and cyber awareness training to spot and handle potential cyber threats.
The summer months should be a time for relaxation and enjoyment, but that doesn’t mean you should take a vacation from cybersecurity. By staying vigilant and following these tips, you can help ensure your digital life stays secure, even as you unwind. So, go ahead and enjoy your summer—just don’t forget to pack your cybersecurity best practices along with your sunscreen.