It’s the last day of October, which means this year’s National Cybersecurity Month is officially ending.  But that doesn’t mean you should stop taking measures to #StayCyberSafe!  This year, the NCSAM theme was “Own IT, Secure IT, Protect IT” – let’s take a look at some of the tips that were presented this month.
 

Own IT

We’re almost constantly connected, whether at home, at work, at school, or even on vacation.  With mobile phones and Internet of Things devices, there are more ways to be connected than ever before.  Not only that, we also have many accounts which collect our information.

  • Don’t overshare on social media.  #BeCyberSmart about where you share your information and who you share it with.  Connect only with people you know and trust.
  • Set privacy and security settings to limit what your devices and social media accounts share about you.
  • Keep tabs on your apps; only download from legitimate, trusted sources.  Review the permissions those apps are asking for, and deny any that don’t make sense.

 

Secure IT

Security breaches seem to be happening more and more often; they’re hardly front page news any more.  Your personal information is valuable, so do what you can to keep it out of the hands of cyber criminals.

  • Use strong passwords, and don’t use the same password on multiple accounts.  A password manager can help you keep track of all those strong, unique passwords for your accounts.  Some can even help you share access with trusted partners or family members, without requiring you to give them the password.
  • No matter how strong your password is, if a breach occurs, your account may be vulnerable.  Enable multi-factor authentication to add another layer of security and help ensure the only person who can access your account is you.
  • Don’t get hooked by a phishing scam!  Be very cautious when opening emails, and never click on links or attachments sent by people you don’t know.  Even if the email looks like it’s from a friend, coworker, or your boss, be wary of clicking on links.  Scammers can spoof email addresses, so it’s best to check the legitimacy of the email, especially if it’s urging you to click or open something right away.

 

Protect IT

While today’s technology allows us to shop, bank, communicate, and entertain ourselves anywhere, this convenience comes with an increased risk.  Smart home devices, such as thermostats, door locks, and cameras can make our lives easier and save time and money, but be aware of the additional security risk that comes with these smart devices.

  • Your wireless router is the main entryway to all your connected devices, so be sure to change the default user name and password, keep the firmware up to date, and set a password on your Wi-Fi network.  Also, change the default credentials on all your smart devices, and make sure you understand the permissions and access they have to your network, your information, and your personal space.  Assume a smart speaker is always listening, and a smart camera is always watching.
  • Keep software and firmware on all your devices up to date.  Your computer, smart phone, router, and many smart home devices get updates to help keep them protected from ever-changing threats.  If you have an older device, make sure it’s still being supported; sometimes, it’s just time to get rid of that old streaming device to help protect the rest of your home.
  • Public Wi-Fi is not safe or secure.  Even a public Wi-Fi network with a password could be compromised.  If you must use public Wi-Fi, be sure it’s the actual network provided by the location.  Use a VPN service to protect the privacy of the information you’re sending, and avoid accessing sensitive accounts such as financial and banking accounts while on public Wi-Fi.

As we move into the holiday season and the new year, keep these cyber security tips in mind.  OWN IT, Secure IT, and Protect IT to keep yourself and your family #CyberSafe.

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