National Cybersecurity Awareness Month: Security is more than just a program

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When it comes to cybersecurity, a commonly asked question is: “What is the best program to keep my data and computer safe and free of infection?” Unfortunately a single program cannot and will not provide a complete and fail safe cybersecurity solution. To use an analogy, locking the front door to your house with multiple locks doesn’t help protect your house if the windows and other doors remain unlocked. Cyber criminals can be considered the craftiest of all thieves; however, there are some things you can do to help protect yourself. To start, you should stop thinking about only securing your computer. Many of the principles dealing with computer security are very closely related to your personal security. In the following guidelines for computer security, we will cover a few tips that can help keep you safe.

Be suspicious – If you receive a notification that your computer is infected, make sure it is coming from the protection software you installed and isn’t malware that wants to install more malware on your computer. If something or someone is asking for your credit card number or bank account information, why do they need it? If someone calls or emails you claiming to be a representative of Microsoft or another large company be on guard as these companies never contact you directly and request personal information. Always be cautious with free programs as many tack on malware that will infect your computer.

Take control – Know what programs are installed on your computer. Use an antivirus program on your computer and mobile devices. Run updates regularly on your computer from trusted sources (Microsoft, Java, Adobe, and your antivirus software.) Use passwords on your computer and other devices. Lock down the security of your social media accounts so that only your friends and family can see your posts and have access to your information.

Guard your important data – In social media and other online venues, do not share anything that could be used as a security question for online accounts such as pet names, your date of birth, mother’s maiden name, favorite sports teams, and where you grew up. Keep your banking information, passwords and account information in a secure location.  Avoid posting to social media when you are leaving for vacation and how long you are going to be gone as this can give criminals an opening to break into your home.

Following these simple recommendations will help you be more secure and it minimizes the risk of identity theft. When it comes to the security of your information and your identity, nothing and no one who can protect it as well as you.


More information on National Cyber Security Awareness Month is available here


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