October is cybersecurity awareness month across the world. As we move our lives increasingly online, we must take the extra steps to protect our precious personal information from cyber-attacks.

Our Information Security Analyst, Sam Penfold, has put together some tips to help you step up your cybersecurity.

Turn on multi-factor authentication (MFA). The most valuable change a person can make to improve their security. Multi-factor authentication involves having something in addition to a password to verify your identity. This is usually a code or notification on your phone but could also be biometrics such as fingerprint or facial recognition.

Many services such as Google and Facebook only require MFA the first time you login on a device, so you get a significant security boost for minimum hassle!

Use a password manager. Password managers are tools which allow you to save your passwords and enter them into websites without having to memorise them. This means your passwords can be very strong and unique. Modern password managers run as a browser add-on synced with the cloud so you can access them from anywhere. A couple of good options are 1Password or LastPass.

Sign up for breach notification (for free!). Millions of accounts are breached every month, with prominent websites like LinkedIn, Adobe, and Vodafone among them. While more responsible companies will likely inform their users when they discover a breach, you should not rely on their diligence. The free breach notification service, Have I Been Pwned, will notify you as soon as your email appears in a public breach (list of emails and passwords).

Use a secure messaging app. Secure communication online used to come with a usability and feature trade-off. You could mess with private/public key pairs or forget security and send stickers and gifs in group chats. With secure messaging apps, Signal and Telegram, you can have the best of both worlds. End-to-end encryption means nobody else (corporations or hackers alike) can read your messages. In a time of mass-data mining, keep your data to yourself.