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Cyber Security Awareness Month

If You Connect It, Protect It


Did You Know?
• 45% of Americans have had their personal information compromised by a data breach in the last five years. 

• 72% of Americans believe that most of what they’re doing while online is being tracked by advertisers, technology firms and other companies.
• Over half of Americans (52%) say they have decided not to use a product or service because they were worried about how much personal information was being collected about them.

PHISHING 

Have you ever gotten a call or email where someone is asking you the follow? 

  • “We suspect an unauthorized transaction on your account. To ensure that your account is not compromised, please click the link below, and confirm your identity.”
  •  “During our regular verification of accounts, we couldn’t verify your information. Please click here to update and verify your information.”
  •  “Our records indicate that your account was overcharged. You must call us within 7 days to receive your refund.”

If so, you have experienced "phishing" it is when hackers literally go and fish for you data by asking you questions that prompt you to revile personal information. The tricky part of phishing scams is that sometimes the email or call can appear completely legitimate and even have the caller ID of your bank or the Social Security Agency. 

So what can you do to protect yourself from phishing scams? 

SIMPLE TIPS:

  • Play hard to get with strangers. Links in email and online posts are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate—do not respond, and do not click on any links or attachments found in that email.  
  • Think before you act. Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately. Many phishing emails attempt to create a sense of urgency, causing the recipient to fear their account or information is in jeopardy. If you receive a suspicious email that appears to be from someone you know, reach out to that person directly on a separate secure platform. 
  • Protect your personal information. If people contacting you have key details from your life—your job title, multiple email addresses, full name, and more that you may have published online somewhere—they can attempt a direct spear-phishing attack on you. 
  • Be wary of hyperlinks. Avoid clicking on hyperlinks in emails and hover over links to verify authenticity. Also ensure that URLs begin with “https.” The “s” indicates encryption is enabled to protect users’ information.
  • Double your login protection. Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. 
  • Shake up your password protocol. According to NIST guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts. 
  • Keep up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings to keeping your information safe by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it, and set your security software to run regular scans.
  • If You Connect IT, Protect IT. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. Sign up for automatic updates, if you can, and protect your devices with anti-virus software. Read the Phishing Tip Sheet for more information.
  • Never click and tell. Limit what information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you like to grab coffee. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. 
  • Stay protected while connected. Before you connect to any public wireless hotspot—such as at an airport, hotel, or café—be sure to confirm the name of the network and exact login procedures with appropriate staff to ensure that the network is legitimate. 

 

Disclaimer: Information retrieved from www.cisa.gov/ncsam, visit their website for more information.