Stop, Think, Connect: October Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month


Online and digital systems have become a fundamental way of life for us in America and around most of the globe. If you own a business, go to school, communicate with friends, have a job, take vacations, Christmas shop, read the news, are a member of a club or organization, or virtually (no pun intended) anything else then the odds are that you do so through some sort of online or digital system. There is no doubt that these systems have enabled our society to become more efficient and productive; however, they have also increased our vulnerability to personal information and breaches in security.

Cyber security is so vital to our personal lives as well as critical infrastructures here in the U.S. that October has been dedicated National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The concept of this designated month and the “Stop, Think, Connect” campaign (see is that we can build resilience as individuals and as a nation through awareness and responsible cyber practices. Take a look at the “best practices” below and conduct a self-assessment how many of these practices you currently employ. Challenge yourself to adopt at least a couple of these to further protect yourself and your equipment and contributing to the security of this technology for all. Please visit for more information.

Keep A Clean Machine:

  • Keep Security Software Current: Having the latest security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Automate Software Updates: Many software programs will automatically connect and update to defend against known risks. Turn on automatic updates if that’s an available option.
  • Protect All Devices That Connect to the Internet: Along with computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web‐enabled devices also need protection from viruses and malware.
  • Plug & Scan: USBs and other external devices can be infected by viruses and malware. Use your security software to scan them.

Protect Your Personal Information:

  • Secure Your Accounts: Ask for protection beyond passwords. Many account providers now offer additional ways for you verify who you are before you conduct business on that site.
  • Make Passwords Long & Strong: Combine capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create a more secure password.
  • Unique Account, Unique Password: Separate passwords for every account helps to thwart cybercriminals.
  • Write It Down & Keep It Safe: Everyone can forget a password. Keep a list that’s stored in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
  • Own Your Online Presence: Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It’s ok to limit how and with whom you share information.

Connect With Care:

  • When In Doubt, Throw It Out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.
  • Get Savvy About Wi-Fi Hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
  • Protect Your $$:When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites are security enabled. Look for web addresses with “https://,” which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

Be Web Wise:

  • Stay Current. Keep Pace With New Ways to Stay Safe Online: Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
  • Think Before You Act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
  • Back It Up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

Be A Good Citizen:

  • Safer For Me = More Secure For All: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
  • Post only about others as you would have them post about you.
  • Help the Authorities Fight Cybercrime: Report stolen finances, identities and cybercrime to (Internet Crime Complaint Center) and‐complaint (The FTC).

Stop. Think. Connect

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