Protect yourself online during Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that Americans have the resources they need to be safe and secure online.

The message for 2019, Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT, addresses important precautions everyone should take to protect their personal, business, and financial information. This month, make time to share resources and tips that will help you and your colleagues identify and react to common threats.

Step 1: Own IT

The first step in staying safe from cyber risks is to Own IT. Be aware of potential threats online and with internet-connected devices, and manage your use with security in mind.

Travel smart

Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game device, or other network devices, the best defense against viruses and malware is to update to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems.

Particularly while traveling, guard your mobile device. To prevent theft and unauthorized access or loss of sensitive information, never leave your equipment—including any USB or external storage devices—unattended in a public place. Keep your devices secured in taxis, at airports, on airplanes, and in your hotel room.

Mobile workers should protect company and client data while traveling. Use a remote desktop or cloud solution like Abacus Private Cloud so the device you are traveling with isn't storing any important or sensitive data.

Protect your privacy

Be sparing with information you post on social media—from personal addresses to where you go for coffee or lunch. What many people don’t realize is that these seemingly random details are all that criminals need to know to target you, your loved ones, and your physical belongings—online and in the real world. Keep Social Security numbers, account numbers, and passwords private, as well as specific information about yourself, such as your full name, address, birthday, and even vacation plans. Disable location services that allow anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time. Read the NICCS Social Media Cybersecurity Tip Sheet for more information.

Be social media savvy

On social media accounts, set the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Disable geotagging, which allows anyone to see where you are—and where you aren’t—at any given time.  Report suspicious or harassing activity. Work with your social media platform to report and possibly block harassing users. Report an incident if you’ve been a victim of cybercrime.

Connect only with people you trust. While some social networks might seem safer for connecting because of the limited personal information shared through them, keep your connections to people you know and trust.

Make your home a safe zone

Our cars, voice-controlled assistants, digital doorbells, fitness tracking devices and digital thermostats are just a few of the internet-connected devices in common use today. These devices offer convenience, but at the cost of sharing more information. Once your device connects to the Internet, you and your device could potentially be vulnerable to all sorts of risks.

Many connected appliances, toys, and devices are supported by a mobile application. In some cases, apps are running on your device based on default permissions you never realized you approved—putting your identity and privacy at risk. Just say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense. Only download apps from trusted vendors and sources.

For more tips throughout the month, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn