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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

What is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM)? 

NCSAM is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to stay safe and secure online. Cybersecurity is not just the responsibility of governments, companies, and security software. Everyone, from a corporate CEO to the average smartphone user, must be aware of, and share responsibility for, keeping information secure.

This October marks the 16th anniversary for NCSAM. To help our customers and community be more cyber aware, here are five tips to help protect personal information online.

Cyber Awareness Best Practices: 

  1. Keep a clean machine. Keeping your electronic devices free from malware and infections makes the Internet safer for you and more secure for everyone. Ensure that your anti-virus and/or anti-malware programs are enabled, your software is up to date and that your software is set to automatically check emails, downloads, and websites. Regularly scan your personal and office devices for viruses and spyware.
  2. Avoid oversharing online. As a professional, it may be very exciting to share what you do at work with others. Remember your organization’s security standards and be careful with what you disclose, especially in public settings such as social media. You never know who may be listening. Also, put away your work identification or badge when out in public and when using public transportation.
  3. Protect your password. Create a password or passphrase with eight characters or more and a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Make the password/passphrase easy to remember but not easy to guess. Additionally, always opt to enable stronger validation, such as multifactor authentication, when available, especially for accounts with sensitive information including your email, applications containing medical information, or bank accounts.
  4. Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public Wi-Fi network or hotspot such as in an airplane, airport, hotel, or café, ensure the network is legitimate. Staff may be able to assist you if you have questions. Even if you are sure it is a legitimate network, never enter credentials for accounts with sensitive information. Be aware that, if your devices are compromised while on a public network, you can impact your home network with the now-infected device, so following tip #1 is very important when using a public network. If you question whether a network is safe, do not connect to it. Cellular service is your next best option for a more trusted connection.
  5. Play hard to get with strangers. Cyber criminals often will offer a financial reward, threaten you if you don’t engage, or claim that someone needs help. Don’t fall for it! Keep your personal information as private as possible. Cyber criminals also can use social engineering to manipulate you into skipping normal security protocols.

For more security tips, visit our Security Center.