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Our Increasingly Digital Life

Suzanne E. Spaulding
Under Secretary, NPPD

We are constantly connected. Even while we’re “offline” on vacation, or away from our computer or mobile devices, chances are we’re still connected in one way or another. More and more, the Internet touches almost all aspects of our daily lives.

Don’t believe it?  Think of the systems that help to keep the lights on, the water running, and transportation moving. Or the devices that track your sleep and exercise, point you to an open parking spot, or control the thermostat at your home.  All these and more depend on digital networks to function.

This rapidly expanding set of connected devices, what we often call the “Internet of Things,” promises big changes to the way we live our lives. Yet, as we enjoy the benefits of these changes, we must consider the new risks they bring as well.  Just as we lock our doors to protect our valuables, Americans must also take steps to protect our devices and information from virtual threats by properly securing all devices that are connected to the Internet.

During National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Department of Homeland Security encourages you to remember a few important steps to help secure your mobile devices and protect the valuable information they hold (and then practice them all year long!)

  1. Keep a clean machine. Like your smartphone or PC, keep any device that connects to the Internet free from viruses and malware. Download software updates regularly on the device itself, as well as for the apps you use, since they often contain fixes to protect against malicious activity.
  2. Disable remote connectivity. Some mobile devices are equipped with wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, that can connect to other devices. Disable these features when they are not in use.
  3. Secure your network. Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet enabled devices with strong passwords.

For more information on the Internet of Things, visit the Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit and download the Internet of Things Tip Card at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-toolkit.

To learn more about National Cyber Security Awareness Month 2015, visit www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month.

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