10 Top Cyber Security Safety Tips

Happy National Cyber Security Awareness Month (#NCSAM)! Celebrated every October and created by Stay Safe Online powered by National Cyber Security Alliance, this is the 11th year this collaborative effort has been celebrated between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources to stay safer and more secure online.

In honor of this celebration, Security Today became a 2014 Champion, along with hundreds of other companies. We feel that it is part of our duty as security-related professionals to help you become more cyber safe and savvy. Here’s 10 tips to get you started:

  1. Are you a victim of cyberbullying? Be sure to document all related online activity with relevant dates and times. Take screen shots as visual references and keep an electronic as well as a printed copy of all documentation. This documentation may be able to be submitted as evidence in a court of law, should the cyberbulling get to that degree.

  2. Do you use autoresponder on your email accounts? While autoresponder is an awesome tool to let people know that you are away, hackers and crooks also see this as an awesome tool to determine the best time hack into your computer system or rob your home. As long as the autoresponder is enabled, it will automatically respond to anyone who emails you. Consider the verbiage you use. Do not give out specific details about your location or itinerary and consider using a phrase like, “I will not have access to email between (date) and (date).”

  3. Never accept “candy” from strangers, even online! Attackers use “spoof” email addresses to send bogus information that seems too good to be true and attachments that could contain malware, and they are crafty enough to use tactics to entice you to open these emails and attachments. For example, hackers can make emails appear like they come from someone you know, like a family member.

  4. Some credit card companies are embedding RFID chips into their cards. Be aware of which credit cards have these chips because the card information can be read using a simple hand-held scanner. Imagine standing in line at your favorite retail store with your credit card in your hand waiting to pay your bill, only to find out later the person behind you had a mini scanner and stole your credit card information!

  5. Be very careful what information you choose to post online. Cyber crooks use this data to guess your passwords, get answers to your security questions on various accounts and send bogus emails.

  6. Set up a “junk” email account and use this when posting to guestbook entries, posing questions on social media sites/blogs or answering questions on social media sites/blogs.

  7. Find it difficult to remember all the complex passwords you’ve created? Develop a mnemonic to help remember them. For example, my password may be “c&lwttld3fg.” A mnemonic to help remember this could be creating a sentence using words from the letters, symbols and numbers in the same order of the password such as “Charlie and Larry went to the local division three football game.”

  8. Be sure to adequately ERASE all files containing sensitive information to prevent hackers from stealing this data. If you just DELETE these files, this information/data could still be found on your computer.

  9. Never announce your physical location with GPS-enables mobile device apps! In other words, do NOT check in when you arrive at various locations. Predators can use this data to find you.

  10. Think before forwarding email messages without removing previous email addresses. Spammers and viruses can collect these emails and use them to exploit people.

About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.

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