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Employee Spotlight: Buncombe County's CISO Offers Tips for Internet Security

You’ve probably seen headlines about cyberattacks on the public sector in the news. That’s why Buncombe County has Chief Information Security Officer Chris Wallace at the helm of an experienced and dedicated team of professionals keeping data safe. “My core responsibility is to manage risk associated with the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information maintained by the County while attempting to minimally impact day-to-day business,” explains Wallace. “Bad guys must only be right once, whereas we must be right all the time.”

However, we know it’s not just governments that are being targeted, so we wanted to share a few tips and free resources for staying safe while you’re online. Wallace says there are important ways you can help protect your information. “First, use a different password for every account you have, and make sure it is strong. Current best practice for a password is more than 16 characters, and pass phrases are preferable,” says Wallace. He acknowledges that can be difficult to memorize and suggests using a password management tool, an app that stores your login and password information for you. “Most password managers can also generate random passwords for you, and then you only need to know a single strong password or phrase to access the password manager itself,” explains Wallace.

Another tip for personal safety is using multi-factor authentication (MFA) when possible. “For most people, a software-token is your best option, but text message is better than no MFA at all,” says Wallace. “The software token requires an app on your phone which is used to generate a constantly changing code you enter in addition to a password.”

And finally, we know you’ve heard it before, but Wallace reiterates: “Do not click on links or download attachments you were not expecting, even if it looks like it came from someone you know. If you really think it is important, you can always call the sender to verify.”

To help you stay safe, Wallace recommends the below resources as free ways you can help tighten your personal online security.

Free resources:

Password managers:

Authenticator apps: