National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Internet Safety Tips
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. We want to empower everyone to protect themselves against these invisible criminals. Online safety should be of critical concern for all individuals and organizations because of the threats posed by cyber criminals. There are steps you can take to counteract and/or minimize the risks associated with doing any kind of business online, surfing the Internet, and/or sharing information on social media sites.
The first step to greater Internet safety is a basic yet vital one—change online passwords several times a year. Use different passwords for each online account, and make them unique but not easily guessed.
More Internet Safety Tips
- Protect your computer. Keep your firewall turned on, and make sure your antivirus and anti-spyware software is up to date and your operating system is current. And be very careful what you download—opening an e-mail attachment from someone you don’t know or even forwarded attachments from people you do know could potentially infect your computer with malicious code.
- Beware of social media scams. One of those scams involves posts on social media sites appearing to offer vouchers or gift cards that require you to fill out a survey, but that survey is designed to steal your personal information. Also, don’t post pictures of theater, concert, or sporting event tickets on social media—fraudsters can create a fake ticket using the barcode obtained from the photo.
- Smartphone App Scams. Before downloading an app from an unknown source, look for third-party reviews. Some apps, often disguised as games and offered for free, may be designed to steal personal information from your device.
- Be on the lookout for online shopping scams. Scammers often defraud consumers by offering too-good-to-be-true deals via phishing e-mails or advertisements on untrusted websites—including offers for brand name merchandise at extremely low discounts or promises of gift cards as incentives to purchase products. You may end up paying for an item, giving away personal information and credit card details in the process, and receive nothing in return except a compromised identity.
- Don’t fall for work-from-home scams. You may see websites or postings offering work you can do from the comfort of your own home, but many of these opportunities have unscrupulous motivations behind them. Always carefully research the job posting and the individual or company offering you employment.