Every October, those of us in the technology arena, and especially those of us who specialize in data security and privacy protection, promote National Cyber Security Month to family, friends, and co-workers.
If you depend on digital technology – and we all do – then you are at risk. Every day, more and more data about you finds its way online. From the most basic details of your first and last name to more comprehensive details including your address, phone number, and family member names to professional career details, you can be found online. In addition, if you bank online, your financial transactions are at risk, and if you access any medical-related vendors, then your medical records could be at risk.
The truth is, no information is guaranteed to be 100% breach-free. Therefore, you must be vigilant when it comes to knowing what information about you is online. No business or government entity is solely responsible for securing the Internet. You play the most important role in protecting your own digital life. You cannot hide your head in the sand and simply hope for the best.
National Cyber Security Month reminds us that we have an obligation to practice safe and secure surfing each and every day. This year’s theme is “The Internet is a shared resource and securing it is Our Shared Responsibility.” Will your company implement stronger security practices and train employees on the new and improved practices? Will your company create events to raise community awareness and educate young people? At a minimum, companies should require that employees change their passwords!
Here are my Top 12 tips to recognize this year’s National Cyber Security Month:
- Don’t open suspicious links in emails, tweets, and posts.
- Create passwords with a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols.
- Don’t use the same password for all websites you access.
- Don’t keep your list of passwords written on paper attached to your monitor.
- Secure your laptop, tablet, and smartphone with a password.
- Don’t wait for something bad to happen to your data, back up regularly.
- Don’t let your virus protection software lapse. Renew it before it expires.
- Check your privacy settings on sites you visit often since default settings can change.
- De-activate location settings on your mobile devices so you don’t share your location unintentionally.
- Don’t use your laptop at Wi-Fi locations since your data could be accessible to anyone.
- Run regular Google Alerts on your name (and any other personally identifiable info such as cell phone number, email address, physical address, etc.).
- Change your passwords on a regular basis.
So, what will YOU do to celebrate National Cyber Security Awareness Month?