October is officially here, and that means it's National Cyber Security Awareness Month!
National Cyber Security Awareness Month was first observed in 2003 and its goal is to encourage people to take the necessary steps to keep their online lives safe and secure.
Technology has transformed most aspects of daily life since 2003, when:
- Smartphones didn't exist (Blackberry's don't count).
- Thefacebook.com was born in a Cambridge dorm room.
- Google launched a new product called "gmail" – and went public.
- "Blog" was Merriam-Webster's word of the year.
- Twitter, YouTube et al. did not exist.
- Netflix was a mail-order, DVD-rental business.
- California was the only state that had enacted a data breach notification law.
Keeping your online information and devices safe is important year-round, but October is the perfect time to review and update your security. This month, take some time to make sure you are protecting yourself from online hackers and privacy breaches.
Here are a few ways you can celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month:
- Update your passwords and don't share them with others. When updating your passwords, avoid common words and phrases, and don't make it too complex to remember. Passwords should be unique to you, and easy to remember.
- Check to make sure your anti-virus, software and operating system is up to date to ensure your computer is protected. (IT updates and maintains the credit union computers. Please check your home computers for anti-virus software).
- Never give your personal information to someone in an email, as scammers love to call and claim to be someone they are not. You can always contact the company directly to verify the authenticity of the sender.
- Don't click on links in emails from unknown senders. Scammers like to send viruses disguised as links. The same applies for pop-ups.
- If you own a laptop, consider installing software to ensure it can be tracked in the event it's stolen.