October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month
Posted at 2:30 p.m.
National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is commemorating its 15th year as an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. It’s a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure everyone has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online, while increasing the resiliency of the nation during cyber-threats.
Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors will also declare October as Cyber Security Month in Fairfax County with an official proclamation at the board’s Oct. 16 meeting.
The STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign is one such effort aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and empowering residents to be safer and more secure online. Cybersecurity is a shared responsibility. We each have to do our part to keep the Internet safe. When we all take simple steps to be safer online, it makes using the Internet a more secure experience for everyone.
Here are a few tips and advice for staying safe online.
- Secure key accounts and devices. Use strong passwords, passcodes, or other features such as touch identification to lock your devices. Review these tips for passwords and securing your accounts.
- Lock down your login – Protect accounts with strong authentication.
- When in doubt, throw it out – Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, delete it.
- Back it up – Protect against data loss by making electronic copies of important files.
- Manage your privacy – Information about you, such as your purchase history and location, is valuable. Protect your data by being cautious about how your information is collected by apps and websites.
- Respond to identify theft, fraud and crime – If you are the victim of cybercrime, you need to know what to do and respond quickly.
- Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots – Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your devices.
- Protect your money – When banking or shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for web addresses with https:// or shttp://, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. Http:// is not secure.
In recognition of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, join the U.S. Small Business Administration (@SBAgov) and industry experts for a Twitter chat on Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 3 p.m. on how to protect your business from cyber threats. The SBA will be sharing tips and resources to help keep your business safe. Follow along with the hashtag #SBAchat.
The SBA also offers a self-paced training exercise that provides an introduction to securing information in a small business. Topics include: Defining cybersecurity; Explaining the importance of securing information through best cybersecurity practices; Identifying types of information that should be secured; Identifying the types of cyber threats; Defining risk management; and Listing best practices for guarding against cyber threats. Access the course here.
Information technology and high-speed Internet are great enablers of small business success, but with the benefits comes the need to guard against growing cyber threats. As larger companies take steps to secure their systems, less secure small businesses are easier targets for cyber criminals. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) provide a Small Biz Cyber Planner, an online resource to help small businesses create customized cybersecurity plans. Use this tool to create and save a custom cyber security plan for your company, choosing from a menu of expert advice to address your specific business needs and concerns. The FCC also offers a Cybersecurity Tip Sheet (PDF).
Remember, cybersecurity is our shared responsibility and we all must work together to improve our nation’s cybersecurity. Cybersecurity is not just the responsibility of governments, companies, groups or individuals. Everyone shares the responsibility for cybersecurity – from the average smartphone user to a corporate CEO. So, let’s all do our part!