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Monday Messages

Tricks or Treats? Are you being cyber-safe?

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and it's the perfect time to reflect on the importance of safeguarding your digital world from the unseen threats that lurk in the dark corners of the internet. Just as you take precautions to keep monsters, zombies, and mummies away on Halloween night, taking steps to protect your network can save you from the haunting consequences of data breaches.

Here are five tips to ensure your information is safe from cyber threats, even when things go bump in the night:

  1. Don't Click Links From Strangers
    • Just as you wouldn't take candy from strangers, avoid opening links from unknown sources. Phishing scams often disguise themselves as trustworthy websites, aiming to steal your login credentials or financial information.
    • Instead of clicking suspicious links in emails or messages, verify the information with a trusted source, such as the company's official website.
  2. Protect Your Candy With a Strong Password
    • You've learned the importance of protecting your candy from the hands of the neighborhood bully, an older sibling, or your parents! The same applies to creating and maintaining a strong, secure password.
    • One of the best and easiest ways to ensure your accounts are kept secure is to create a strong password with upper and lowercase letters, numbers, symbols, and punctuation.
    • It is also imperative to use different passwords for each of your accounts and to change them frequently, about every 6 to 8 weeks.
  3. Chase Away Lurking Monsters
    • While real-world monsters vanish after Halloween, online threats can linger unnoticed on your computer for months. When using public Wi-Fi networks in places like restaurants or coffee shops, your data becomes vulnerable.
    • Protect yourself by using a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt traffic on public, unsecured networks, shielding your online activities from prying eyes.
  4. Find a Costume for Your Personal Information
    • Just as it's frowned upon to go trick-or-treating without a costume, sharing personal information online without encryption is risky. Secure networks and websites convert your data into indecipherable code, keeping it safe from cybercriminals.
    • Opt for secure websites (https) when browsing on your mobile device instead of using unencrypted apps for an added layer of security.
  5. Don't Leave a Candy Trail
    • When you're out trick-or-treating, it's tempting to share photos of costumes and Halloween goodies on social networks like Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or Snapchat. However, these apps often include location services by default.
    • As more devices become GPS-enabled, your location information can provide cybercriminals with insights into your whereabouts and routines, potentially exposing your personal information. Be cautious about what you share and disable location services when not needed.

By following these cybersecurity tips, you can ensure that your digital world remains safe from the ghosts and ghouls of the internet, even as National Cybersecurity Awareness Month gives way to Halloween. Stay vigilant, stay safe, and have a spooktacular Halloween!

We're with you!

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