This October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is commemorating its 15th year as an annual initiative to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity. NCSAM 2018 is a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure.
Keep yourself safe online all year long with these easy-to-follow guidelines.
- Secure Hotspots
Secure Xfinity WiFi Hotspots (network name "XFINITY") are now available at millions of locations nationwide with additional locations always being added to the network. Once you have connected and authenticated at a secure hotspot, the data traveling over WiFi between your device and the hotspot will be encrypted and secure.
- Multi-Factor Authentication
Using multi-factor authentication provides extra layers of security to your identity when logging in or completing a transaction. Depending on preference, you’re able to set it up through authentication apps, SMS verification, or biometrics (like face recognition or you’re fingerprint).
- Protecting your identity, secure your passwords
Knowing your usernames and passwords puts the power in your hands. Create a strong password for your account using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Use more than one password and keep it to yourself, update your passwords often, and remember that length matters – the longer and more complex the better.
- Use Secure Sites
Before you buy or type in any sensitive information online, check to see that it is a "secure" site. Secure sites will typically have a closed padlock in the status bar and the URL will start with HTTPS:// (not just HTTP://). These two clues indicate that the site is encrypted or secured.
- Shop at home instead of the coffee shop
There’s no place like home for online holiday shopping. A secure Internet network connection, like in most homes or workplaces, is ideal to keep your information safe. Need to get online while you’re out and about? Sign into a secure hotspot.
- Use one credit card
Dedicate one credit card for all of your shopping needs. Credit cards are generally the safest option because they aren’t directly connected to your bank account and they can be cut off immediately. Experts suggest to never use your debit card.
- Links and Attachments in Email
Phishing is a method used by Internet scammers who imitate real companies or individuals in email messages to entice people to share user names, passwords, account information or credit card numbers. Be wary before clicking on attachments and links because even if the email looks legit, it could be a scam.
- Emailing Sensitive Files
While it’s important to have strong passwords on your devices and email accounts, you should take extra precaution to safeguard sensitive files you store or transfer. Sensitive information includes W2 forms, credit card numbers, bank account info, driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, insurance numbers, etc. Encrypt these types of files before sending to another person.
- Keep apps and operating systems updated
Keep your devices’ operating system and apps updated to the latest version to ensure the latest security patches are installed. Take extra care to make sure Adobe Flash, Java and other utilities stay updated to prevent cyberattacks. If your device offers auto-update for apps, turn this feature on.
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