October is my birthday month, but it’s also Cyber Security Awareness Month, a time set aside by the National Cyber Security Alliance to encourage everyone to take steps to protect themselves from cybercrime. From age 8 to 80, we are all at risk from some type of cybercrime. From identity theft, malicious virus attacks on our smart devices, cyberbullying and online predators that lurk in cyberspace to cause us harm in the real world. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect yourself, your family, and, your business. At Integral, we see people who are constantly taken advantage of because they don’t know what to do to protect themselves. Please take a few moments and follow this list of tips to avoid being the next victim:
1. 90% of cyberattacks begin with emails. Hackers create emails that are socially engineered to get you to react and click to the information contained in them. Don’t click on links or attachments in emails and text messages that come from unknown sources. Avoid texting or emailing personal information.
2. Think you’ve been a victim of a cyberattack? Visit Have I Been Pwned. Have I been Pwned (www.haveibeenpwnd.com) is a free web site that allows you to search and see if your email address was among millions leaked in data hacks. If this web site says your email address has been leaked, change your password immediately. 3. Don’t use the same password for any of your online accounts. Hackers count on you to use the same passwords for all of your online accounts. That same weak password you use for Facebook is probably the same one you use for Amazon and you banking account. Hackers know this. Once they get one password, they will use them (along with your email) on all of your accounts to steal your data. Need help keeping track of those passwords? Download and use a password keeper like LastPass (www.lastpass.com). This app allows you to store all of those hard to remember passwords for all of your online accounts and automatically log onto your online accounts from your smart devices and computers using, secure passwords that are hard to hack. 4. Remember to Keep your Kids Safe Online. Social media plays a major roll in most friendships with school age kids, but it exposes them to risks in cyberspace such as cyberbullying and online predators. Set ground rules for smart device usage and make sure you’re putting your hands on and monitoring your kids computers and smart devices on a regular basis to see what apps they are using and to see what interactions they are having online. 5. Protect yourself against scams with Web of Trust. Web of Trust installs with your web browser to keep you safe from web site that could potentially harm your computer or smart device. Visit a harmful site, web of trust will block it for you automatically.
6. Beware of credit card skimmers. Hackers will do anything to get your information including using credit card skimmers which are designed to steal your information. Spotting a credit card skimmer is as easy as turning on your Bluetooth on your smartphone. If you see a weird device trying to connect to your BlueTooth, it could be a skimmer. Android smart-devices users can download Skimmer Scanner from the Google Play Store to detect certain skimmers that use Bluetooth. 7. Check your financial statements and credit reports on a regular basis. Under federal law, you're entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting companies, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Space out your requests so you get a credit report every four months. Want a handy app to keep track of your credit report, consider using Credit Karma (www.creditkarma.com) 8. Don’t forget to protect your computers and smart devices with anti-virus software and automatic backup. Anti-virus software like ESET’s NOD32 (www.eset.com) will help prevent cyber attacks on your computer. In the event that your computer files get ruined in a cyber attack, a good cloud based backup like Carbonite (www.carbonite.com) will keep your information safe.
What things do you do to keep you and your family safe from cybercrime? Leave your comments below and let’s get the discussion started so we can help keep each other safe.
How else can you keep up with the latest tech tips and cyber security alerts? Subscribe to my YouTube channel ‘Burton Kelso’ There are hundreds of videos designed to help you get the most out of the technology you use in your home or business.
Burton Kelso is the Chief Tech Expert at Integral. They offer tech support to homes and businesses all over the Kansas City Metro. He regularly appears as a guest tech correspondent on ABC, NBC, FOX, and CBS on shows such as Kansas City Live, Better Kansas City, FOX 4 Morning Show, offering viewers easy tips on technology, Internet lifestyle, Internet security and gadgets. You can find Burton on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on his YouTube channel. He can be reached at 888-256-0829 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org