Welcome to National Cyber Security Awareness Month! Each week this month, we will be highlighting an aspect of cyber security to help you become aware of current Internet threats and taking preventive measures to minimize the chances of becoming a victim yourself. Be proactive in passing this information along to family members and friends, as they share the same risks when using Internet-connected devices.
The topic for the first week of Cyber Security Awareness Month is Simple Steps to Online Safety. The steps outlined below will improve the security of data and personal information on your Internet-connected device as you go about on your daily activities.
Strengthen Your Password
Using a strong password is essential for online safety. The best way to do this is to create passwords that are at least eight (8) characters in length, using a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers, and symbols.
Be Careful Using Public Wireless Hotspots
Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot, be sure you know the name of the wireless network and login procedures. Be aware that public hotspots may be monitored by nearby cyber criminals looking to collect sensitive data and personal information from your mobile device. Avoid conducting sensitive activities such as banking, shopping, or work email while on a public wireless hotspot. For optimal safety, use secure web sites (look for a colored padlock or https:// in the web address bar of your browser) or your mobile network connection.
Keep Software on Internet-connected Devices Updated
Keep your operating system, applications, and anti-virus software updated to the latest versions on your desktop and mobile devices. Doing so will improve protection on all computing devices from malware and unauthorized access attempts.
Improve Your Social Media Privacy
Limit what you share publicly on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, etc), with respect to personal information (such as your full name, address, and birthdate) or current location. Review your privacy settings periodically to control who can see what you are sharing. Avoid posting any questionable content, as nothing can be truly deleted.
Stop and Think Before Clicking Links
Be careful when you click on links in your email, on a web page, or social media sites. Clicking on links blindly may compromise your personal or financial information. Conduct a web search using Google or social media on the company/organization being represented. Verify the sender’s company/organization email address is the same as what is listed on the official site. Contact the company or the sender/poster (if a known contact) to verify legitimacy. If in doubt, contact IS Helpdesk for assistance or simply delete the email.
Below are links to cyber security resources provided by several national and government organizations for your review. The resources provide additional cyber security information, tips, and bulletins designed for all users.
United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT)
DHS Stop. Think. Connect.
NCSA Stay Safe Online