We create a digital trail with every click, share, send and post we make. Being connected is a part of our everyday lives now. Sometimes we may even feel that we can’t function without a certain app or piece of technology. Raise your hand if that app is your maps/navigation! 🙋 As we gravitate towards a world that is more focused on technology it is important that we protect and maintain our digital profile.
Today we will be discussing a few tips surrounding the last key area of this year’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), Protect IT. You can read about Own IT. and Secure IT. in our previous blog posts.
Secure your Wi-Fi network – Did you know that your home’s wireless router is the primary entrance for cybercriminals? They can use your router to access all your connected devices. 😱 Let’s take second and let that absorb. One point of access for a cybercriminal to access ALL your personal information, that could be considered a gold mine in their eyes. How many devices are connected to your home Wi-Fi network? 5, 10 or maybe even 20? That is why it's so important that you change the factory-set default username and password to your Wi-Fi network. Don’t walk, RUN home to do this!
Keep tabs on your apps – Do we not live for the apps on our phones now? We use them to check the weather, track our fitness, know what the balance is in an account, get you to your destination (Who strictly follows highway signs anymore?? 🤷) and SO much more. The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) says, “Your mobile device could be filled with suspicious apps running in the background or using default permissions you never realized you approved—gathering your personal information without your knowledge while also putting your identity and privacy at risk.”1 Be sure that you are regularly checking your app permissions and say “no” to privilege requests that don’t make sense for the use of that app. Lastly, this probably goes without saying but just in case, only download apps from trusted (well known) vendors and sources.
Stay protected while connected – We are all use to being SO connected all the time, it’s second nature to us. Have a question? You immediately think, “Just Google it”. Need to reach out to a friend? You simply text them or message them on Facebook. I think you get where this is going. We have all the information at our fingertips, but we forget that whenever you’re online, you’re vulnerable.
So, here are some tips to safeguard yourself from online fraud:
- When you're surfing the web, check for the padlock icon in your browser bar—this signifies a secure connection.
- Avoid free internet access without encryption.
- If you must use an unsecured public access point, practice good “Internet Hygiene”. Meaning you should avoid accessing apps or websites that contain sensitive information.
- If you come across a website URL that you’re unsure of, type it directly into the address bar instead of clicking on links within an email.
Resources – There are a lot of resources available to you if you become a victim of a cybercrime. It is very important that you notify authorities and/or file a complaint with all of your findings and evidence. The list below outlines the government organizations that you can file a complaint with if you are a victim of cybercrime.2
- FTC.gov: The FTC’s free, one-stop resource, www.IdentityTheft.gov can help you report and recover from identity theft. Report fraud to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/OnGuardOnline or www.ftc.gov/complaint
- US-CERT.gov: Report computer or network vulnerabilities to US-CERT via the hotline: 1-888-282-0870 or us-cert.gov. Forward phishing emails or websites to US-CERT at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- IC3.gov: If you are a victim of online crime, file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at http://www.IC3.gov.
- SSN.gov: If you believe someone is using your SSN, contact the Social Security Administration’s fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271.
Stay tuned to our next post where we will be digesting the campaign, STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and it's history.