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National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: What you need to know to stay safe online

This $18 key can protect you from hackers
Posted at 10:00 AM, Oct 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-22 11:00:53-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In an effort to combat constant cyberattacks, the Kansas City-based company Fishtech Group works with large and small businesses to minimize risks.

In January, Fishtech built a $10 million facility called the Cyber Defense Center.

The center holds the company's 24/7 security operations center.

Fifty employees, including threat analysts and engineers monitor data for small and large businesses.

They fight hackers using a large video display wall, which monitors any attacks happening.

A facial recognition system is also in place.

"What we've built here is the latest and greatest type of technology, and not only just based off computers and doing some of the analytics behind the scenes, but the staff we've brought into Kansas City and the staff that we've hired here in Kansas City... that help our customers out in protecting their data and their assets that they have running today," Fishtech Co-Founder Chuck Crawford said.

Crawford also shared some basic tips to keep in mind any time you're online. One of the first tips is getting creative with your passwords.

"There's so many threat factors to take people's data," Crawford said. "So making sure it's not a very simple password such as your last name or even the word password, which Ironically enough is still being widely used today. Coming up with complex passwords and helping users how to memorize that moving forward."

Crawford also advises using two-step verification and not using the same password for multiple online accounts.

"Just think of the fact if it's compromised, you know the attackers know that, and so they're able to profile that user online just by googling that name and knowing where to go," Crawford said. "And so now the ability to automate that, if you have a single password, just think of the damage that causes, including online banking now."

And with more children using tablets, phones and laptops at home and at school, it's important to have an open conversation with them about cybersecurity. There are also ways to monitor their activity.

"Allow them some freedom to still surf YouTube, but I have a parental and organization oversight so I am not afraid to audit their activity in the evening so I don't feel like I'm infringing on their privacy," Crawford said. "You know I'm still trying to respect my kids' privacy on that side but you know I also know how malicious it can be."

Crawford said the moment you make a click on that link, it can take seconds to potentially be compromised.

"Within 8 seconds, systems are getting compromised based off of a click and it's getting worse and worse these days," he said. "Be very careful if they're asking for sensitive information to be disclosed. Make sure that's encrypted , look for the lock, look for the encryption lock in the browser."

Also, if downloading apps, make sure they don't have spelling errors. Also be cautious the apps aren't coming from a third party.

For more on cybersecurity awareness, click here.