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Cybersecurity Awareness Month

By Michelle Brennan, FPQP®

Since 2004, the President of the United States and Congress declared October to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month, helping individuals protect themselves online as threats to technology and confidential data become more common. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cybersecurity Alliance (NCA) lead a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise cybersecurity awareness nationally and internationally.

Double Authentication
Many sites, especially those that may host your confidential information, often have an option for two step authentication at login. While it may seem inconvenient to wait for a code via text or email to access your information, it is safer and much easier to do than dealing with the repercussions of a cyber attack or identity theft.

Protect Your Devices
Like most people today whose devices, specifically smartphones, serve as a lifeline, and also a single access point into so many facets of our lives. Make sure you are taking EXTRA steps to protect your information on devices by logging out of apps that may contain credit card numbers and personal information, use fingerprint or face recognition authentication if possible, and add a passcode on your lock screen.

Sharing Isn’t Always Caring
Social Media is a great way to keep up with friends and family, but it is also a great way for hackers to find out information about you to help them authenticate your identity. Having an active online presence is great, just be aware of what you are sharing and with whom. Marking your profile as private does not mean people do not have ways to access the information you share there.

Be Careful Where You Click
Don’t fall for phishing scams that often have you re-enter credentials to log into
certain sites or redirect you to pages to complete forms with personal information. Also, always keep an eye on the URL. Sites listed as https are often securely hosted, if you are not on a secure site, DO NOT enter any personal information.

Don’t Delete, Destroy
Upgrading your electronic devices? Awesome, just planning to delete your info and toss the old one? Not awesome! Even if you think you have cleared your device of all personal information, hackers could still access the information if they are able to obtain the device. We recommend destroying your outdated electronic devices using a certified e-waste recycling partner. This ensures that your information is destroyed with the device.

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