cyberNational Cyber Security Awareness Month

This October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, an event co-sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) in order to raise awareness of the importance of cyber security issues. While the event is designed to highlight some of the nation’s cyber security precautions, as well as how to be prepared in the event of a national cyber security incident, much of the focus is on good cyber security practices for the average individual.

Specifically, the groups are trying to promote their “Stop. Think. Connect.” and Stay Safe Online campaigns—efforts that teach good cyber security in terms everyone can understand. To practice good cyber security, review the following lessons:

Password Security: More powerful computers have given criminals the ability to crack passwords easily. Passwords with a mix of capitalized and lowercase letters—as well as numbers, symbols and other special characters—are much harder to crack. And, though it should go without saying, make sure you don’t write passwords down in plain sight at your work space.

Phishing Scams: A number of different scams could fall into this category, but they all have commonalities that you should be aware of. Never open an email from an unknown source, and never click on a link in an email unless both the sender and the link can be trusted.

Software Updates: Security patches are designed to fix known vulnerabilities. Make sure you download
the latest security patches when they become available.