Do you have all the resources you need to stay safe and secure online? National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) – observed every October for the last 13 years – was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to answer “yes” to that question.
Under leadership from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, NCSAM has grown exponentially over the years, reaching consumers, businesses, corporations, educational institutions, and young people across the United States.
In recognition of this annual event, I’d like to share a quick summary of some of the National Cyber Security Alliance’s tips and advice about staying safe online.
- Lock down your login.
Fortify your online accounts by enabling the strongest authentication tools available, such as biometrics, security keys, or a unique one-time code through an app on your mobile device. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking, and social media.
- Keep a clean machine.
Keep all software on Internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones, and tablets – up to date to reduce risk of infection from malware. Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
- Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it.
Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected by apps and websites.
- When in doubt, throw it out.
Cybercriminals often use links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising to compromise your computer and to try to steal your personal information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.
- Connect and share with care.
Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it could be perceived now and in the future. Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine. When banking or shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. Http:// is not secure.
- Own your online presence.
Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s OK to limit how and with whom you share information.
See if you’re vulnerable to cyber-attacks – check your computer for known viruses, spyware, and more, right now: www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/free-security-check-ups/.