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October: National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2020

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

NCSAM 2020 emphasizes personal accountability and stresses the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. This year’s overarching message – Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart – will focus on owning your role in protecting your part of cyberspace, stressing personal accountability, and the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity.

If You Connect It, Protect It

The line between our online and offline lives is indistinguishable. This network of connections creates both opportunities and challenges for individuals and organizations across the globe. We want to empower all users to own their security role by taking steps to reduce their risks.

Secure It

Our homes and work are more connected than ever. With more people now working from home, these two internet-connected environments are colliding on a scale we’ve never seen before, introducing a whole new set of potential vulnerabilities that you must be conscious of. It’s important to secure the devices that you put online by keeping your devices up to date.  Before downloading something from the internet, make sure the vendor is reputable.

Here are some ways you can own your role and Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart

  • Smart Devices: Before purchasing a new smart device or wearable technology, do your research. Check out user reviews on the product, look it up to see if there have been any security/privacy concerns, and understand which security features are or aren’t available.
  • Passwords: To stay safe with your accounts, use a passphrase instead of a password. A passphrase is a short phrase that is 12 or more characters in length. Use capital letters, lowercase letters, and symbols as well. Something like: MyD0gRexIsG00d1! is easy to remember but complicated.  AND, use two-factor authentication when it’s available.
  • Email: Play Hard to Get with Strangers: If you’re unsure who an email is from—even if the details appear accurate—do not respond and do not click on any links or attachments. 
  • Tips for Spotting a Phishy Email: 1) They offer a financial reward, threaten you, or claim to need help. 2) They ask for your personal info. 3) They want you to download a file or click on a link. When I doubt, throw it out!
  • Social Media: Cybercriminals love it when you overshare on social media – they can learn all about you! Make it harder for them by avoiding posting real names, places you frequent, and home, school, or work locations. All those cute posts asking you to share your favorite food, pets’ names, where you were born, etc. are easy ways to learn the answers to your security questions. 
  • Connecting to public Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi is not secure or safe. If you must connect, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal/mobile hotspot.

Remember to update your devices, don’t provide personal information online, and keep in mind, if it sounds too good to be true – it probably is.  When in doubt, contact the OIT HelpDesk to talk it through.