The Ten Commandments of Cybersecurity

By: Larry Darnell, Director of Information Systems, Florida Dental Association


1. Thou shalt believe it can happen to you!

Most people believe it will never happen to them. Ransomware Attacks are occurring with greater frequency. The healthcare sector is particularly under threat. Private Health Information is 50 times more valuable than credit card data on the dark web. Last year the ADA was impacted. Just recently TMH hospital in Tallahassee was restricted for three weeks.

2. Thou shalt use strong and unique passwords for each account.

Compromised passwords are one of the greatest threats to your Cybersecurity. A common practice is using the same password for everything. One of your passwords gets compromised and now the bad guys have access to all your other accounts. Your passwords are being bombarded daily with programs designed to crack them. Don’t believe me? Go to, type in one of your email addresses and look at how many times your account has been breached. It will make you want to change all of your passwords.

3. Thou shalt enable multi-factor authentication whenever possible.

Multi-factor authentication is no longer a suggestion, it is a must. MFA works in conjunction with your password to have a code sent to you or some other form of authentication (Face, touch, authenticator app etc.) before anyone gains access to your account, email, etc. I know it seems annoying and excessive but without it, you are making yourself an easy target for cybercrime.

4. Thou shalt be careful what you click on!

90% of cybercrime is still started via a phishing email. The email has links or a button and because it seems urgent, vital, and important, you click on it and do whatever it says to do. Phishing emails have cost companies billions, forced some to close, and destroyed lives in the process. Take time to think before you click that link!

5. Remember to backup important data regularly and securely.

Backups are still one of the best ways to beat cybercrime and save you from paying the ransom to get your data back. It does not fix everything but it at least provides a way for your business to get back up and running quicker.

6. Honor your software by keeping it up to date.

Updates for software are being pushed out daily for your phone, tablet, computers and other technological devices. Why? Because bugs or exploits have been identified and you are putting yourself at risk by not updating those things. Using old or outdated technology adds to the threat and can leave your systems vulnerable to attack. The IOT is full of devices that can be exploited. Updates can help.

7. Thou shalt only download and install apps from trusted sources.

Have you ever stopped to read any of those agreements that come with apps you install or software you put on your computer? No. You click Ok and move on. Then you have little idea what risk you are taking so you best trust the source you are getting those apps from. Even the Apple Store is susceptible to apps that misuse your data. Make sure you know what you are giving things access to before you do it.

8. Thou shalt use caution accessing Public Wi-Fi networks.

Free Wi-Fi is everywhere. All you have to do is connect, plug-in, click a box and boom, you are on the Internet. You might be opening up shop for your data to be stolen by doing so. Even Charging your phone is even a risk now. Take precautions. Use VPN software that protects your data on your device.

9. Thou shalt not share your personal or sensitive information online.

The hackers sometimes do not even need to hack you. We are handing them all the information they need via social media. On vacation? Facebook knows. So does everyone else. You play those silly games that ask you questions? Providing so much information that your security questions also ask. If you would not tell a stranger that shows up at your house, why tell the world that information?

10. Thou shalt be aware of your weakest link.

Your best defense is only as strong as your weakest link. If I have a secret, I have one daughter who I can tell to keep it, another daughter if I want everyone to know what it is. If you can’t

identify the weakest link, then it very well may be you. Education and training can go a long way to helping others know the risks and avoid costing you and your business greatly.

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