As part of the ongoing Cyber Security Awareness Month, authorities including the police are urging people to be extra cautious about what email they access and if they do stay alert with regards to the links they click on as they might be phishing links or could take them to sites hosting viruses, trojans, ransomware and other similar malware.
Further, authorities are also urging people to be safe online so as to ensure that they follow all the cardinal rules for online safety including use of long and complex passwords, enable stronger authentication and keeping their computers clean. Cyber Security Awareness Month and other such initiatives provide a way for authorities to connect with people and provide them with basic, but valuable guidance on how to stay safe online and ensure that their private information doesn’t get stolen.
Increased use of internet for various activities including online banking has made our life easy, but also brought about new problems – security being one of them. Almost everything we do now touches the Internet – from shopping and banking online, to connecting with friends and loved ones, to finding our way around a new town or city. However, there may be uncertainty among many Americans over how to best protect themselves online.
Technology has enabled us to ease our lives to a great extent, but increased involvement of technology in our lives pose a new set of security risks. Identity theft, phishing attempts, and cyberbullying are just a few examples of cyber incidents we now face. It is critical that all individuals make choices every day to be safer online.
Protecting yourself online may seem like a daunting task, but in reality it is not. There are simple, every day steps you can take to secure your online life. You don’t have to be a computer expert to take measures to stay safe online.
The Department of Homeland Security encourages you to follow these three simple steps below:
Enable stronger authentication:
Always enable stronger authentication for an extra layer of security beyond the password that is available on most major email, social media and financial accounts. Stronger authentication (e.g., multi-factor authentication that can use a one-time code texted to a mobile device) helps verify that a user has authorized access to an online account. For more information about authentication, visit the new Lock Down Your Login Campaign at https://www.lockdownyourlogin.com.
Keep a clean machine
Install updates for apps and update the security software on all of your Internet-connected devices as soon as updates are available. Keeping the software up to date will prevent cybercriminals from being able to take advantage of known vulnerabilities.
Use long and strong passwords
Create strong passwords with eight or more characters and a combination of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols.