Monthly Archives: October 2021

Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Launched by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in 2004, this designated month has grown in reach and participation to a grassroots campaign, emphasizing the role we all – from large enterprises to individual computer users – have in maintaining safety and security online. Although protecting your online presence is imperative all year long, October reinforces the collective effort that is required to stop these ever-increasing cybercriminals.

As school, socializing and many aspects of our lives have moved online over the past year and a half, due to the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to protect your digital devices from cybercriminals. So, during the month of October, the FBI, the premier investigative agency, and other partner agencies want to remind you to do your part and #BeCyberSmart.

Below are several cyber safety tips to help protect you and your family from falling prey to cybercriminals:

  1. Keep software systems up to date. This is one of the most important cyber security tips for warding off ransomware. Check the update settings on your devices and make sure they’re being automatically updated.

  • Use a good anti-virus program and firewall. Anti-virus (AV) protection software is the most wide-spread solution against malicious attacks. This software blocks malware and other viruses from entering your device and compromising your personal data. In addition, using a firewall will help screen out hackers, viruses and other malicious activity occurring over the Internet.

  • Use strong passwords. Strong passwords are critical in keeping hackers out of your personal data. Here are some suggestions from Norton, one of the leading, anti-virus software companies https://us.norton.com/internetsecurity-how-to-how-to-secure-your-passwords.html.

  • Use two-factor or multi-factor authentication. This is a service that provides additional layers of security to the standard username/password method of online identification. With two-factor or multi-factor authentication, you would be prompted to enter additional authentication like a Personal Identification Code, another password, fingerprints, etc.

  • Be knowledgeable about phishing scams. Recent cybercrime statistics indicate that 90 percent of ransomware attacks originate from phishing schemes. So, in general, be wary of emails or texts sent to you even from people you know (they could’ve been infected too). Determine where the email or text has come from and examine it for suspicious grammatical errors and/or links (hover over the link to see where it is being directed).

  • Protect your sensitive personal identification information (PII). PII is any information that can be used by cybercriminals to locate or identify an individual like your name, address, phone numbers, date of birth, social security number, IP address, etc. In today’s social media world, you should be very cautious about the information you include or share online. Minimize the information you share about yourself on social media sites. Review your privacy settings on all your social media accounts. The more information you share about yourself drastically increases your risk of being “hacked.”

  • Use your mobile devices safely. According to a recent study by McAfee, another leading computer security software company, mobile devices are now target to more than 1.5 million new incidents of mobile malware. Some tips to help keep your mobile devices safe include create difficult passwords, only install apps from trusted sources, keep devices updated, avoid sending PII or sensitive information over text message or email and perform routine mobile backups using iCloud or Enabling Backup & Synch from Android.

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