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Be Safe Online

by June Ann Schroeder RN, CFP®

October is the 16th National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).   It is the perfect time of the year to focus on this as shopping for the upcoming holiday season moves into full gear. The 2019 theme: Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. focuses on citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security.

Here are a few of the simple practices that will keep you and your personal data safe:

  1. Use strong passwords and don’t use the same one for multiple accounts.  It is best to use passphrases, like “WhereDid^SummerGo” and not personal ones like pet or children’s names or dates which can be readily found in your online social pages.
  2. Use Multi-Factor Authentication wherever possible. This usually takes the form of a secondary text message or call with a code that needs to be entered before you can sign into your account.
  3. Be wary of sharing any personal information by phone or online unless you initiated the contact.  Caller ID and email addresses can be spoofed.  A legitimate business will not ask for your password or pin.

For more ideas about the above and a list of tips and ways to enhance your on-line cyber-safety while using social media, shopping, or even traveling, check out the official website of The Department of Homeland Security.

Check out the Federal Trade Commission for some great ideas for parents and teachers on keeping children safe on-line.  There is also a Tool Kit that can be printed and shared with your kids.  The major message of “Stop. Think. Connect.” is very applicable to grown-ups too!