Attorney General Chris Carr is urging Georgia consumers, businesses, non- profits, government institutions and religious institutions to learn more about cybersecurity during Cybersecurity Awareness Month this October.
“Just like we take precautions to safeguard our personal safety or the safety of our homes, we should take steps to protect our cyber presence as well” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “We are urging all Georgia consumers to take this opportunity to review best practices at your home and workplace and ensure you are doing all you can to stay safe when using technology.”
Everyone that uses technology can educate themselves about cybersecurity at https://staysafeonline.org/ and http://www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-toolkit. These sites are brought to us by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance respectively.
Businesses may especially be interested in this resource brought to us by our partners at the Federal Trade Commission: Start with Security: A Guide for Business.
We also offer the following tips:
- Install Reputable Security Software on Your Computer. It is recommended that your computer have anti-virus and anti-spyware software, a pop-up blocker, and that the firewall is enabled. For lists of security tools from legitimate security vendors, visit https://staysafeonline.org/.
- Update System and Software Frequently. Computer and software companies frequently update their programs to include protection against new security threats. Simply updating your operating system and software whenever new versions become available gives you an added measure of security.
- Create Strong Passwords. The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Mix letters, numbers and special characters. Don’t use your name, birthdate or pet’s name in your password. Use a different password for each of your accounts so that if one account is hacked, the perpetrator cannot take over all your accounts.
- Be Wise with Wi-Fi Hotspots. Open public Wi-Fi is often unsecured, so your information and device are more accessible to hackers. Limit the types of business you conduct in this environment, being certain to avoid those that involve your personal or financial information, such as banking, credit card transactions or doing your taxes.
- Know Who You’re Dealing With.
- Don’t download programs or share files with people or businesses you don’t know and trust.
- If you receive an email from a sender you don’t recognize, be very wary of opening any attachments or clicking on links, as these might download a virus or malware onto your device. If an email looks suspicious, it is best to delete it.
- Beware of phishing emails. Cybercriminals may try to steal your money or identity by posing as a legitimate business or government agency and asking you to send money or provide personal or financial information. If you are unsure of whether an email is legitimate, do not reply to it; instead, contact the business or institution directly by looking up the actual web address or phone number.
- When shopping online, make sure that the company is reputable and that its website begins with “https://”, which indicates that the site utilizes extra security measures. You can check the reputation of a business with the Better Business Bureau by going to www.bbb.org.
- Backup Important Data. No system is completely secure. Copy important files onto a removable disc or an external hard drive, and store it in a safe place. If your computer is compromised, you’ll still have access to your files.