Cybersecurity Awareness Month

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month. A recent resurgence of the “You are in this video” attack on Facebook prompted me to post some tips to stay safe online. These tips are lifted from a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) pamphlet:

  • When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email and online posts are often the way
    cyber criminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious – even if you know
    the source – it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark it as “junk email.” Contact the
    company directly (via phone) to be sure the email is not legitimate.
  • Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implore you to act
    immediately, offer something that sounds too good to be true, or ask for personal
  • Use stronger authentication: Always opt to enable stronger authentication when
    available, especially for accounts with sensitive information including your email or
    bank accounts. A stronger authentication helps verify a user has authorized access
    to an online account. For example, it could be a one-time PIN texted to a mobile
    device, providing an added layer of security beyond the password and username.
    Visit for more information on stronger authentication.
  • Make passwords long and strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with
    numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
  • Install and update anti-virus software: Make sure all of your computers are
    equipped with regularly updated antivirus software, firewalls, email filters, and anti-spyware.
  • Be wary of hyperlinks: Avoid clicking on hyperlinks in emails; type the URL directly
    into the address bar instead. If you choose to click on a link, ensure it is authentic
    before clicking on it. You can check a hyperlinked word or URL by hovering the
    cursor over it to reveal the full address.

For more tips, news, and ideas, visit the National Cyber Security Alliance website StaySafeOnline. Stay safe out there, people!