Technology Department » October Cybersecurity Awareness Month - Week 1 thru 4 Tips

October Cybersecurity Awareness Month - Week 1 thru 4 Tips

Week 1 - Be Cyber Smart
Creating a strong password is a critical step to protecting yourself online. Using long, complex passwords is one of the easiest ways to defend yourself from cybercrime. No one is immune to cyber risk, but #BeCyberSmart and you can minimize your chances of an incident. 
  • Use a long passphrase. According to National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) guidance, you should consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible. For example, you can use a passphrase such as a news headline or even the title of the last book you read. Then add in some punctuation and capitalization.
  • Don’t make passwords easy to guess. Do not include personal information in your password such as your name or pets’ names. This information is often easy to find on social media, making it easier for cybercriminals to hack your accounts.
  • Avoid using common words. Substitute letters with numbers and punctuation marks or symbols. For example, @ can replace the letter “A” and an exclamation point (!) can replace the letters “I” or “L.” 
  • Get creative. Use phonetic replacements, such as “PH” instead of “F”. Or make deliberate, but obvious misspellings, such as “enjin” instead of “engine.” 
  • Keep your passwords on the down-low. Don’t tell anyone your passwords and watch for attackers trying to trick you into revealing your passwords through email or calls. Every time you share or reuse a password, it chips away at your security by opening more ways with which it could be misused or stolen.
  • Unique account, unique password. Having different passwords for various accounts helps prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts and protect you in the event of a breach. It’s important to mix things up— find easy-to remember ways to customize your standard password for different sites.
  • Double your login protection. Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you. Use it for email, banking, social media, and any other service that requires logging in. Enable MFA by using a trusted mobile device, such as your smartphone, an authenticator app, or a secure token—a small physical device that can hook onto your key ring.
  • Utilize a password manager to remember passwords. The most secure way to store all your unique passwords is by using a password manager. With just one password, a computer can create and save passwords for every account that you have – protecting your online information, including credit card numbers and their three-digit codes, answers to security questions, and more.   
Week 2 - Fight the Phish!
Play hard to get with strangers - If you are unsure who an email is from - even if the details appear accurate - do not respond and do not click on any links or open attachments found in the email.  Be cautious of generic greetings such as "Hello Bank Customer".  If you are concerned about the legitimacy of an email, contact the technology department at ext. 4476.
Think before you act - Be wary of communications that implore you to act immediately.  Many phishing emails attempt to create a sense of urgency.  If you receive a suspicious email that appears to be from someone you know, reach out to that person directly by phone.
Protect your personal information - If people contacting you have key details from your life (i.e., job title, email address, full name and more that may have been published online somewhere), they can attempt a direct spear-phishing attack on you.
Be wary of hyperlinks - Avoid clicking on hyperlinks in emails and hover over links to verify the authenticity.  Ensure URL's begin with the "https."  The "s" at the end indicates encryption is enabled to protect users' information.
Double your login protection - Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure that the only person who has access to your account is you.  Read the Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) How-to Guide for more information.
Shake up your password protocol - Consider using the longest password or passphrase permissible.  Customize your standard passwords for different sites, which can prevent cyber criminals from gaining access to these accounts.  Use password managers to generate and remember different, complex passwords for each of your accounts.
Install and update anti-virus software - Make sure all of your computers, Internet of Things devices, phones and tablets are equipped with regularly updated antivirus software, firewalls, email filters and anti-spyware.
Week 3 - Explore. Experience. Share.
A week-long campaign to build awareness about the wide range of cybersecurity job opportunities.
  • Cybersecurity has something for everyone! Skills are needed from a diverse range of backgrounds.
  • Cybersecurity is a dynamic field so you will never be bored. Cybersecurity evolves quickly so you will always be learning and developing new skills.
  • There is a high demand for a talented cybersecurity workforce. Data predicts that IT and cybersecurity will be among the fastest growing and best paying jobs over the next decade.
  • Cybersecurity plays a vital role in the lives of all global citizens and the cybersecurity workforce makes a difference in our world. Building qualified cybersecurity workforce enhances national security and promotes economic prosperity.

Most people, young and old, don’t understand what a cybersecurity practitioner does or the multiple career pathways to get into the cybersecurity field. Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week inspires and promotes awareness and exploration of cybersecurity careers. 


Week 4 - Cybersecurity First
Cybersecurity Starts With  You - Every time you use the Internet, you face choices related to your security. Friends can be selected, links clicked, websites accessed, and wireless networks can be joined. Your security and the security of the nation depends on making secure online decisions. Making the Internet more safe and secure requires all of us to take responsibility for our own cybersecurity posture.
What is Cybersecurity - Cybersecurity is the art and science of protecting networks, devices and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity and availability of information.
Potential Threats
  • Phishing - emails and malicious websites that appear to be trusted to obtain personal information
  • Malware - malicious code infecting a computer
  • Identity Theft and Scams - Crimes of opportunity.  Even those who never use a computer can be victims.  Criminals can access your information, stealing your wallet, overhearing your phone call, dumpster diving, or picking up a receipt that contains your account number.
Simple Tips
  • Use and maintain anti-virus software and a firewall - Use an antivirus program and firewall to protect your computer from viruses that could steal or modify your data.  Install updates and patches regularly to prevent hackers from exploiting known vulnerabilities.
  • Establish computer usage guidelines - Help children understand how to use the computer.  Have age appropriate conversations to help them understand the do's and don'ts of cybersecurity.
  • Double check email attachments and links - An email that looks as if it came from someone you know doesn't necessarily mean that it did.  Some viruses alter the return address so that it looks like the message came from someone other than the sender.  Before opening any attachment, verify that the message is legitimate by contacting the person who sent it.  This should be done by calling the person or seeing the person to ask if they sent the message.
  • Trust your instincts - As the old saying goes, "if it is too good to be true, it probably is."  Do not open suspicious emails or attachments.