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October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

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Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart 

2021 marks the 18th anniversary of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, a government and industry partnership to ensure that every American has the resources they need to stay safe and secure online while increasing the resilience of the nation against cyber threats. 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.

Throughout the month we will bring you more information about cyber threats and simple techniques for enhancing your personal cybersecurity. Here are five tips to protect your personal information online.

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Double your login protection.

Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for all accounts and devices to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. If MFA is an option, enable it by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring. Read why we think MFA is a “Must Have” for Protecting Yourself Online.


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Shake up your password protocol.

According to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Get creative and customize your standard password for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. Read this article to check: Is your password is still doing its job?


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If you connect, you must protect.

Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software. Read Outsmarting Malware for more information.


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Play hard to get with strangers.

Cyber criminals use phishing tactics, hoping to fool their victims. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate— or if the email looks ‘phishy,’ do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email. When available use the “report phish” or “report” option to help your organization or email provider block other suspicious emails before then arrive in your inbox. For more about protecting yourself from phishing, see Avoiding Social Engineering and Phishing Attacks.


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Keep tabs on your apps.

Most connected appliances, toys and devices are supported by a mobile application. Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk. Check your app permissions and use the “rule of least privilege” to delete what you don’t need or no longer use. Learn to just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources. Read Think Before You App! to find out more.


For information on bank related phishing scams, visit our Banks NEVER Ask That! page.

For more security tips, visit our Security Center.