Recently, I wrote about October being Domestic Violence Awareness month (http://ssnoccrimewatch.blogspot.com/2016/10/domestic-violence-october-is-domestic.html). October is also Cyber Security Awareness Month.
Cyber (computer) security is important for you as an individual as much as it is important for our nation, big business, small business, or for local government. Poor cyber security makes all of us susceptible to identity theft, scams, fraud as well as industrial espionage, espionage against our government or other mischief.
The effects on victims of identity theft, are revealed in the latest survey, “Identity Theft: The Aftermath 2016™” published by the Identity Theft Resource Center (ITRC):
· 55% of ID theft victims reported missing time from work, 44% reported losing out on an employment opportunity, and 29% reported that they had to request government help in the form of welfare, EBT, food stamps, etc.
· New account fraud, including opening new credit cards, utility accounts and cellular phone service, was reported by 60% of survey respondents, up by 6% from last year.
· Survey respondents reported that victimization manifest itself through stress (74%) and anxiety (60%)
The National Cyber Security Alliance (www.StaySafeOnline.org) has been making the public aware of what they can do to protect their computers through its Stop Think Connect campaign. It recommends:
· Keep a Clean Machine
o Keep your security software current to defend against viruses, malware and other online threats.
o Automate software updates by turning on automatic updates in the settings of your software and operating systems. Then you do not have to keep remembering to update your system.
o Protect all devices that connect to the internet. This includes computers, smart phones, gaming systems, etc.
o When you plug in USB’s or other external devices into your computer, scan them for viruses and malware.
· Protect your personal information
o Secure your accounts. Ask for protection beyond passwords. Look for techniques such as two factor authentication.
o Make passwords long and strong by combining capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols.
o Use a different password for each of your accounts.
o Write it down and keep it safe. Keep a list of your passwords on paper, in a safe or other, secure place or in an electronic, encrypted vault.
o Set the privacy settings of websites and services so that you limit who can see your information.
· Connect with care
o Be careful of links and attachments in your email, tweets, posts and websites. Be sure you know who originated the email, etc. before clicking on any link. Links are a primary way that cybercriminals use to deliver malware to compromise your computer.
o When using Wi-Fi hotspots to connect to the internet, limit your use to non-sensitive activities. Do not connect to your financial institution’s web site or conduct online shopping through a Wi-Fi hotspot.
o Protect your accounts. When connecting to a financial institution or a shopping website, be sure the website is encrypted with a web address that starts with https://.
Stay Safe Online:
Identity Theft Resource Center: