October 28, 2016
This year marks the 13th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Each October, in response to constantly evolving technology and the personal safety and security threats the adoption of new tools may pose, the Department of Homeland Security sponsors a campaign to engage the public in creating a safe and secure cyber environment. The theme of this year’s campaign is “Our Shared Responsibility” – highlighting the truth that the Internet is a shared resource and we must all take part in securing and safeguarding this tool which is so valuable to our everyday life and business. Here are some basic and useful tips that can help you to do your part in sharing the responsibility:
People are eager to adopt mobile solutions that facilitate everyday transactions by offering anywhere/anytime access to functions such as banking and online shopping,. Cyber criminals are constantly looking for ways to capitalize on this trend by taking advantage of unsecure wireless networks, third-party applications, and texting to acquire personal information. It is important to remember to exercise caution not only in your home and office, but also on-the-go.
As people become more and more reliant on technology, they also become more vulnerable to cyber-crimes. Tactics such as hacking and phishing are used to trick people into revealing personal information. Email scams are a common form of fraud that cyber criminals use to take advantage of unsuspecting people.
A cyber criminal may attempt to steal personal data by sending an email claiming to be from a legitimate business, a government agency, or a financial institution like your bank or credit card issuer. That information can then be used to commit identity theft or other fraudulent activities. Phishing messages may ask you to confirm or update personal information such as your social security number, account number, credit card information, password or user name, etc. No matter how official the message looks, always use extreme caution before taking action when you receive one of these emails. Banks and financial institutions will never ask for personal information via email. Verify that any links the sender is asking you to follow are legitimate. You can do so by using your mouse to hover over the links to view and visibly verify the web link. If something looks suspicious, never click a link to investigate. Instead, you can contact the institution directly to verify the legitimacy of the request and report any apparent scam.
During this National Cyber Security Awareness Month, take some time to learn the threats and make sure you are taking the necessary steps to protect yourself, your family, your business, and your customers.