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October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Whether we’re at work or at home, all of us can take a few simple actions to protect ourselves when online:

Keep a Clean Machine:

  • Keep security software current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Automate software updates: Make sure to turn on automatic updates for your computer, smartphone, and tablet hardware, as well as Microsoft Office, Adobe products, and any other third-party software packages.
  • Plug & scan: Removable drives and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware and never connect lost or found USB drives to your computer.  

Protect Your Personal/Organizational Information:

  • Lock down your login: When possible, fortify your online accounts by enabling two-factor authentication such as security keys or one-time codes through a mobile app, phone call, or text message.
  • Unique account, unique password: Having separate passwords for every account helps to prevent cybercriminals from accessing your accounts. At a minimum, separate your work and personal accounts and make sure your critical accounts have the strongest passwords.

Connect with Care:

  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in emails, social media posts, and online advertising are often used by cybercriminals to steal your personal and organization information. Even if you know the source, if something looks suspicious, delete it.
  • Get savvy about wi-fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct when connecting over public wi-fi hotspots. Never access banking or financial information over a public wi-fi hotspot. 
  • Protect financial information: When accessing banking or financial websites, always type the web address into the browser — never search for the site through a search engine. When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled by looking for web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure. 

Own Your Online Presence: 

  • Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it.: Information about you, such as your purchase history or location, has value — just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it’s collected through apps and websites. 
  • Be aware of what’s being shared: Set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s okay to limit how and with whom you share information.  
  • Share with care: Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it, and how it could be perceived now and in the future.
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