October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which provides an opportunity to have a national conversation about the growing importance of cybersecurity and staying safe online.
There is no doubt that we are all leading increasingly digital lives. 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. Advances in technology have dramatically changed the way Americans lead their lives for the better but also 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.
Join us in recognizing National Cyber Security Awareness Month throughout the month of October. Please visit www.cisa.gov/cybersecurity-awareness-month or www.dhs.gov/StopThinkConnect for more information.