Protect Yourself Online During National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Frustrated woman using laptop

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month that is an annual campaign by Homeland Security to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. Because the Internet touches nearly all aspects of daily life, it is important to take online safety, privacy and security seriously. In a 2015 survey conducted by the United States Census Bureau, 78% of households had a desktop or laptop, while 75% had a handheld computer such as a smartphone or tablet. With these numbers growing each year, it is important to protect yourself online and help make the Internet safer and more secure by following these simple tips:

  • Enable stronger authentication. Enable two-step verification. Two factor authentication is a two–step login process that provides an extra layer of security. In addition to a password requirement, the user will be required to provide a piece of information only they have such as a text message or phone call with an additional code.
  • Use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols in your passwords. Using numbers, symbols and mix of upper and lower-case letters in your password makes it harder for someone to guess your password. For example, an eight-character password with numbers, symbols and mixed-case letters is harder to guess because it has 30,000 times as many possible combinations than an eight-character password with only lower-case letters. Check out Lock down your login for more information.
  • Use IC3 if you’re ever a victim. The Internet Crime Complaint Center (managed by the FBI) is a reliable way for consumers to report if they’ve been a victim of an internet crime.
  • Every device that connects to the internet is susceptible to hacking. Be sure to purchase all devices that connect to the internet from reputable sources. Have strong passwords for all devices such as home security systems, baby monitors, smart appliances, and medical devices. Also be sure to change default passwords on these internet-enabled devices.
  • Prevent infections by updating critical software as soon as patches or new operating system versions are available. This includes mobile and other internet-connected devices.

Source: BBB of North Alabama and Federal Bureau of Investigation

For more tips on cybersecurity, visit National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2017

To file a complaint pertaining to an internet crime, visit