October is the annual Cyber Security Awareness month. Your immediate question may be, why do I care again? To this I say, imagine if you will, a world in which there is no internet, no smart phones, no computers, and three channels on the television.
That’s right, it would be the Twilight Zone, even though I am old enough (cough…cough…) to have lived a life like this. Many of you are not, however, and this pervasiveness of the internet shapes all our lives to an incredible degree now. That’s why this month is all about being aware of your information and how you access the broader internet world.
The first week theme of Cyber Security Awareness Month is Make Your Home a Safe Haven for online activity. I offer to you the following pieces of advice, brought to you by StaySafeOnline.org
- Keep a Clean Machine → Having the latest security software, web browser and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware and other online threats.
- Did you know? Your cell phone and tablet need to be kept up to date with the latest security software, browsers and operating system, just like your PC or laptop at home.
- Smart appliances and connected devices – such as thermostats, toys and home assistants – should be kept up to date with the latest security software. If not, you’re at greater risk of hackers accessing your network and information.
- #LockDownURlogin → User names and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, bank and social media. Improve account security by enabling strong authentication tools such as biometrics or unique one-time codes. #CyberAware
- Share with Care → Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it might affect you and others now and in the future. #CyberAware
- Boo! Old tweets, posts and photos may come back to haunt you. Think before you post and consider how it might be perceived now and in the future. #CyberAware
- Back it Up → Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
- Back up regularly! Having a recent copy of your files means you can retrieve them if you fall victim to #ransomware. #CyberAware
- Personal Information is Like Money. Value it. Protect it. → Info about you, such as your purchase history or location, has value – just like $$$. Be thoughtful about who gets that info and how it’s collected through devices, apps and websites. #CyberAware
- The connected devices and appliances in your home run on the data about YOU. Be mindful of how your info is being collected and stored. #CyberAware
- Secure Your WiFi Router → Set a strong passphrase (at least 12 characters long) for your Wi-Fi network. Keep it positive and easy to remember like “Ilovecountrymusic!” #CyberAware
- Have you changed your Wi-Fi router’s default name and passphrase? Set a strong passphrase (at least 12 characters long and name your network in a way that doesn’t let people know it’s in your house.) #CyberAware