During National Cyber Security Awareness Month, local, state, and federal agencies, along with schools, universities, and companies of all sizes, will take part to educate everyone and create a culture of awareness. Below are just a few tips to help stay protected:
▪ Don’t share passwords;
▪ Use a pass-phrase that can easily be remembered with upper/lowercase letters, digits and special characters. For example the sentence “St Louis is next to the Mississippi River” can be used as a pass phrase: “StL1sN3xT2dM1$sRvR.”; and
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▪ Use password manager software to track all your passwords conveniently and securely.
▪ Do not click on attachments or links in emails if it came from an unknown sender;
▪ Signs of a suspicious email include: Poor grammar or spelling, unknown sender, consequences for not complying, and improper links; and
▪ People should not include their email address in comments on blog posts or in social media posts. Spammers and scammers search these pages all the time looking for new victims.
MOBILE DEVICE PROTECTION
▪ Keep the phone’s operating system up to date. A malicious ransomware program introduced in September 2017 targets phones with out-of-date operating systems. This ransomware could affect up to six billion devices worldwide;
▪ Install antivirus software on mobile devices. Just like computers, mobile devices can be infected with malicious software;
▪ Download apps only from trusted sources; and
▪ Set up “remote wipe” on your device. Most modern devices support this functionality. If people lose their device or it’s stolen, they can wipe all data remotely using this feature. Remote wipe occurs as the first thing when the device connects to the internet.
With more than nine billion devices connected to the internet, it’s more important than ever that people stop and think before they connect. Every device capable of connecting is at risk. People educating themselves and their families on good cyber security practices will help everyone stay safe online.