6 #CyberAware Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Family at Home

Autumn is here, and that means changing leaves, pumpkin spice, and Cybersecurity Awareness Month!

The theme for the first week of Cybersecurity Awareness Month is Make Your Home A Haven for Online Safety.  Here are 6 things you can do to protect yourself and your family at home.


Lock Down Your Login


Lock Down Your Login - photo of hands holding smart phone with biometrics

You already know you need to use strong, unique passwords for your accounts.  But even a strong password isn’t enough to protect your key accounts like email, banking, or social media.

Add another layer of security by using two-factor authentication – an access control method that requires an additional security step to allow a user to log in.  While this can seem inconvenient, it’s less inconvenient than finding your security has been compromised.

If you use a system that offers two-factor authentication, as many banking, email, and social media websites do, take a few moments to set it up.  Pro Tip: Where possible, use an authentication app (such as Authy, Google Authenticator, or a service-specific app) in preference to an SMS message sent to your phone. While the SMS method is better than nothing, SMS is insecure and can be intercepted.


Protect Your Personal Information


girl looking at smartphone


Digital devices give us great convenience and connectivity, and we’re more connected than ever before.  That convenience comes at a cost, however.  You are constantly generating data about yourself and others. These devices work by collecting and processing information about you, such as your behaviors and preferences.

Information about you – items you’ve purchased, where you go, and what you do – has value, just like money.  It’s not necessarily harmful; for example, sharing information on purchases can help you get better deals from a merchant.  However, be mindful about what information you’re sharing.  Be conscious of how your information is collected by apps, websites, and connected home devices, and be sure you’re comfortable with the level of sharing.


Share With Care


photo of iphone with apps


Remember that nothing is private!

Remember that nothing is private!  Think before you post about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it might affect you and others now and in the future.

Never post sensitive information such as passwords or account information on social media, and be very careful about sharing personal information such as your phone number or address.  Do check your privacy settings, but don’t depend on them to protect your information.  Once something is posted online, it’s out of your control, and you don’t know who might see it, share it, or use it.


Keep A Clean Machine


smart phone and laptop


Keep all the software on your computer, smartphone, tablets, and other internet-connected devices current.  This is the best way to reduce the risk of malware infecting your device.

Often you can set devices to update automatically, but it’s a good idea to check occasionally to make sure you’re running the latest versions.  Don’t forget devices like your home router and smart home hubs – they usually have less frequent updates, but may require extra steps and manual updates.


Remember Your Router


blurred background of device with wifi symbol


Your WiFi router is a gateway into your home network.  Remember to secure it the same way you secure your computer and mobile devices.

Change the default name and password on your router, and use WPA (WiFi Protected Access) encryption.  Use a strong passphrase to secure access, and name your network in a way that won’t let people know it’s in your house.  And don’t forget to check for and apply updates.

Depending on the router you have, you may be able to block certain websites that you don’t want anyone in your family visiting, or you may be able to monitor traffic to see who’s connected (and if there’s someone who shouldn’t be).  Most current routers also have the ability to set up a “guest network” for visitors, so you can let your friends and family access the internet without exposing your personal files.


Back It Up


computer with attached external hard drive for backup and wireless mouse

Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making electronic copies and storing them safely.  If you fall victim to ransomware, the best response is to have all your data safely backed up and available to restore.

Use the “backup rule of three” and don’t forget to test your backups to make sure you can retrieve your important files!

Read about the Three Rules of Backup and options to help you back up your business or personal data.


Our Shared Responsibility

Today, most of us are “cyber connected” in some way.  That can be good – we can connect with friends and family, research and buy items online that we might not otherwise have access to, and learn new skills.  Unfortunately, that connectivity also opens us up to new problems – ways to lose that convenience or even have someone steal from us.

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month reminds us that no government entity, business, or individual is solely responsible for securing the internet; we all have a responsibility for protection of the devices, networks, and infrastructure that make up “cyberspace”.  Use these 6 tips to help make your corner of cyberspace a little safer.

Milepost 42 Pledges to Support National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2018 as a Champion

National Cyber Security Awareness Month Champion badgeMilepost 42 is proud to be a Champion of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2018, joining a growing global effort among businesses, government agencies, colleges and universities, associations, nonprofit organizations and individuals to promote the awareness of online safety and privacy.

A multi-layered and far-reaching campaign held annually in October, NCSAM was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure all digital citizens have the resources needed to stay safer and more secure online while also protecting their personal information. As an official Champion, Milepost 42 recognizes its commitment to cybersecurity, online safety and privacy.

“In today’s world, most businesses, and in fact most people, are “cyber connected” in some way.  That’s a good thing – we can connect with customers, friends, and family in ways that weren’t possible 30, 20, even 10 years ago.  We can streamline processes, purchase items, manage accounting, and learn new skills.  However, we also have to learn to protect ourselves in new ways.  Sadly, there are bad people who focus on using technology to harm others, and we’re also subject to new types of “disasters”.  We all need to learn to lock our cyber doors, and plan for how to continue operations and recover from disastrous cyber events.”

Co-founded and led by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), NCSAM has grown exponentially since its inception, reaching consumers, small and medium-sized businesses, corporations, government entities, the military, educational institutions and young people nationally and internationally. NCSAM 2017 was an unprecedented success, generating 4,316 news stories – an increase of 68 percent in comparison to NCSAM 2016’s media coverage. Kicking off its 15th year, NCSAM 2018 presents an unparalleled opportunity to leverage the month’s tremendous adoption growth over the last several years and expand cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness globally.

“The Champion program continues to be a such a strong foundation for National Cyber Security Awareness Month’s ongoing and impactful success. In 2017, 1,050 organizations enlisted to support the month ­– a 21-percent increase from the previous year,” said Russ Schrader, NCSA’s executive director. “We are thankful to our 2018 Champion organizations for their support and commitment to our shared responsibility of promoting cybersecurity, online safety awareness and the opportunity to protect our privacy.”

For more information about NCSAM 2018, the Champion program and how to participate in a wide variety of activities, visit staysafeonline.org/ncsam. You can also follow and use the official NCSAM hashtag #CyberAware on social media throughout the month.

About Milepost 42
Milepost 42 is a technology partner for small business owners who want to focus on their passion and not the “techie stuff” needed to support it.  Small businesses need technology –websites, email, automation – to run and grow, and they also need to be aware of the need for cybersecurity to ensure business continuity.  Milepost 42 provides those services and planning assistance for small business owners who are ready to have someone else handle the “web stuff”. 

About National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
NCSAM is designed to engage and educate public- and private-sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity in order to increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Since the Presidential proclamation establishing NCSAM in 2004, the initiative has been formally recognized by Congress, federal, state and local governments and leaders from industry and academia. This united effort is necessary to maintain a cyberspace that is safer and more resilient and remains a source of tremendous opportunity and growth for years to come. For more information, visit staysafeonline.org/ncsam or dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month.

About NCSA
NCSA is the nation’s leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting cybersecurity and privacy education and awareness. NCSA works with a broad array of stakeholders in government, industry and civil society. NCSA’s primary partners are DHS and NCSA’s Board of Directors, which includes representatives from ADP; Aetna; AT&T Services Inc.; Bank of America; CDK Global, LLC; Cisco; Comcast Corporation; ESET North America; Facebook; Google; Intel Corporation; Logical Operations; Marriott International; Mastercard; Microsoft Corporation; Mimecast; NXP Semiconductors; Raytheon; RSA, the Security Division of EMC; Salesforce; Symantec Corporation; TeleSign; Visa and Wells Fargo. NCSA’s core efforts include National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October); Data Privacy Day (Jan. 28); STOP. THINK. CONNECT™; and CyberSecure My Business™, which offers webinars, web resources and workshops to help businesses be resistant to and resilient from cyberattacks. For more information on NCSA, please visit staysafeonline.org/about. 

STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ is the global online safety awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online. The message was created by an unprecedented coalition of private companies, nonprofits and government organizations with leadership provided by NCSA and the APWG. The campaign was launched in October of 2010 by the STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ Messaging Convention in partnership with the U.S. government, including the White House. NCSA, in partnership with the APWG, continues to lead the campaign. DHS leads the federal engagement in the campaign. Learn how to get involved by following STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ on Facebook and Twitter and visiting stopthinkconnect.org.