The weakest link in any computer system is the individual sitting right in front of the keyboard. That means you. It’s a point worth reflecting on, especially now; Obama has designated October “National Cyber Security Awareness Month.” To keep the momentum going, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan offers up a useful list to consider when logging on. Here’s the rundown:
- Keep your security software and operating system current. “Hackers also take advantage of Web browsers and operating system software that do not have the latest security updates,” says Brennan.
- Protect your personal information online. “Be wary of clicking on links in emails that are unfamiliar and be very cautious about providing personal information online, such as your password, financial information, or social security number,” says Brennan.
- Know who you’re dealing with. Before you think of shopping on an unfamiliar website, do independent research, says Brennan. Also, before downloading software, make sure the software developer is legit, he says.
- And if something goes wrong … First, scan your computer with updated anti-virus software, says Brennan. If need be, seek tech help from your computer manufacturer, computer store, or tech geek. The Internet Crime Complaint Center and Federal Trade Commission are also helpful resources as well, says Brennan.
More ways to stay cyber safe
Various websites are beefing up their efforts to provide quality cybersafety materials this month. (Hat tip: BPS Internet Safety Blog). Among them is Stay Safe Online. It has an entire section with resources, ideas on how to educate students, and schedules of cybersafety events nationwide. Google, meanwhile, has created the Google Cyber Security Awareness Channel on YouTube. Check it out below: