Actionable Ways to be Cyber Secure

Americans are spending more time online than ever before. As more people use the Internet for online shopping, banking, financial management, and socializing, they also expose themselves to increased cyber risks. Online threats and cyber-attacks threaten the future of our national and economic security. Because cybersecurity is important to our nation, the Department of Information Technology is joining with the Department of Homeland Security to raise cybersecurity awareness across the nation during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October.

This year, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) commemorates 15 years as an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. NCSAM 2018 is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, while increasing the resiliency of the nation during cyber-threats.

DHS’s efforts this October will promote and emphasize several key messages, tied together by one overarching theme for the month: Cybersecurity is Our Shared Responsibility and We All Must Work Together to Improve our Nation’s Cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is not just the responsibility of governments, companies, groups, or individuals. Everyone shares the responsibility for cybersecurity – from the average smartphone user to a corporate CEO. Follow these simple online safety tips not just during October, but every day.

  • Make your passwords long & strong. Use complex passwords with a combination of numbers, symbols, and letters. Use unique passwords for different accounts. Change your passwords regularly, especially if you believe they have been compromised.
  • When in doubt, throw it out. Links and attachments in email and online posts are often the way cyber criminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious (even if you know the source), delete it.
  • Share with care. Limit the amount of personal information you share online and use privacy settings to avoid sharing information widely.
  • Online security on the go. No one is exempt from the threat of cybercrime, at home or on the go. While protecting your device from theft may seem your only concern while traveling, it is just as important to avoid using unsecure public Wi-Fi to perform any sensitive transactions like banking.
  • Think twice about your device. Without a doubt the Internet of Things (IoT) makes our lives easier and has many benefits. Keeping the device up to date and changing the default username/password goes a long way to ensuring the devices are secure and trusted.

 

These tips were provided by the DHS STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign. Learn more about National Cybersecurity Awareness Month and how to protect yourself from threats online at www.dhs.gov/ncsam.

 

 

Author: Tom Meyer, IT Security Officer

 

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