Starting 18 years ago, cybersecurity awareness month has magnified into a global effort to educate, inform, and empower everyone to protect themselves online as cyberthreats continue to see dramatic increases over the past decade. As our livelihoods shift predominately online, we become more vulnerable to prying eyes and malicious threat actors. This collaboration between the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) and The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) helps to limelight crucial tips and steps to remain vigilant wherever you go online.
Here is an excerpt from CISA on this year’s CAM theme:
“This year’s campaign theme — “See Yourself in Cyber” — demonstrates that while cybersecurity may seem like a complex subject, ultimately, it’s really all about people . This October will focus on the “people” part of cybersecurity, providing information and resources to help educate CISA partners and the public, and ensure all individuals and organizations make smart decisions whether on the job, at home or at school – now and in the future. We encourage each of you to engage in this year’s efforts by creating your own cyber awareness campaigns and sharing this messaging with your peers.”
This year’s theme centers on the individual rather than just large companies and organizations to place importance on the role we all play in creating safer online environments. Here are 4 steps that EVERYONE can take, no matter your expertise in cybersecurity:
1. Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
2. Use Strong, UNIQUE passwords
3. Report Suspicious Emails and Activity
4. Keep Your Software Updated
What YOU CAN Do
“When we say See Yourself in Cyber, we mean to see yourself in cyber no matter what role you play.” – CISA
You may not have a role in IT or cybersecurity whatsoever, and you may be the least technologically savvy person in your family, but you still have the ability to safeguard your personal and private data!
Here are some tips from the U.S Securities & Exchange Commission:
• Be Careful What You Download. When you download a program or file from an unknown source, you risk loading malicious software programs on your computer. Fraudsters often hide these programs within seemingly benign applications. Think twice before you click on a pop-up advertisement or download a “free” game or gadget.
• Use Your Own Computer If You Can. It’s generally safer to access your online brokerage account from your own computer than from other computers. If you need to use a computer other than your own, you won’t know if it contains viruses or spyware. If you do use another computer, be sure to delete all of the your “Temporary Internet Files” and clear all of your “History” after you log off your account.
• Don’t Respond to Emails Requesting Personal Information. Legitimate entities will not ask you to provide or verify sensitive information through a non-secure means, such as email. If you have reason to believe that your financial institution actually does need personal information from you, pick up the phone and call the company yourself – using the number in your rolodex, not the one the email provides!
Security Tip: Even though a web address in an email may look legitimate, fraudsters can mask the true destination. Rather than merely clicking on a link provided in an email, type the web address into your browser yourself (or use a bookmark you previously created).
• Be Smart About Your Password. The best passwords are ones that are difficult to guess. Try using a password that consists of a combination of numbers, letters (both upper case and lower case), punctuation, and special characters. You should change your password regularly and use a different password for each of your accounts. Don’t share your password with others and never reply to “phishing” emails with your password or other sensitive information. You also shouldn’t store your password on your computer. If you need to write down your password, store it in a secure, private place.
• Use Extra Caution with Wireless Connections. Wireless networks may not provide as much security as wired Internet connections. In fact, many “hotspots” reduce their security so it’s easier for individuals to access and use these wireless networks. Unless you use a security token, you may decide that accessing your online brokerage account through a wireless connection isn’t worth the security risk.
• Log Out Completely. Closing or minimizing your browser or typing in a new web address when you’re done using your online account may not be enough to prevent others from gaining access to your account information. Instead, click on the “log out” button to terminate your online session. In addition, you shouldn’t permit your browser to “remember” your username and password information.
Use your voice this October to advocate for a better understanding of safe, online practices, whether that be to your family, via social media, co-workers, etc. YOU can make a difference in the safety of others online.
More on how you can help: Click HERE