When you think of October, you probably think of candy corn, costumes, and pumpkin carving—but it’s also National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) and the perfect time for you to brush up on some cybersecurity best practices.
1. Use Strong Passwords
Using secure, unique passwords is still one of the best ways to protect yourself from hackers. Just remember to update your password often. You can even set a calendar reminder so that you don’t forget!
Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website to see their tips for choosing and protecting passwords.
2. Don’t Share Your Personal Info in a Meme
A majority of us have participated in the memes where you discover your rap name or “Florida Man” article headline—and while they all appear to be harmless, hackers could be using those memes to collect potential responses to security questions.
Stay vigilant when you’re on social media, and avoid sharing any information that seems suspicious. Don’t just take our word for it. Take it from the Plymouth Police Department:
3. Keep Your Social Media Accounts Private
Social Media helps us stay up to date with close friends and family, but if you’re not careful, you could also be exposing yourself, and even the Military, to a number of serious security risks. That’s because online scammers and enemies of the United States often target Military personnel and their families.
It’s of utmost importance to watch what you post on social networks so that you aren’t inadvertently giving away sensitive data, and as another precaution, set your social media profiles as private as possible so that only actual friends and family are able to access the posts, images, and videos you share.
Be sure to check out Gizmodo’s comprehensive guide to making your Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter profiles more secure.
4. Use an Antivirus
We can’t stress it enough; Always, always, always use antivirus software to protect your home devices.
The Defense Information Systems Agency and the Department of Defense have renewed their antivirus home use programs, providing active DoD employees free access to McAfee antivirus software.
If you are not an employee of the Department of Defense, PCMag has a list of the 40 best antivirus utilities.
5. Think Before You Click
Hackers are constantly coming up with new ways to deliver scams and malware through phishing campaigns, so it’s very important to think before you click!
A general rule of thumb is to only click on links that originate from either a trusted sender or domain name. Other tips to keep you safe include: look out for any signs of phishing, hover over hyperlinks to reveal URLs before clicking, use multi-factor authentication, protect your sensitive information (passwords, financial information, identity), and avoid public WIFI networks.
With these 5 cybersecurity tips, you’re well on your way to becoming a Cybersecurity Awareness Month Champion and helping to promote a safer, more secure and more trusted internet. Do you have any additional tips for staying safe online? We’d love to hear them!