Cyber Security…Are you protected?

The Importance of Connecting to the Internet Safely…

National Cyber Security Awareness Month, observed each October in recent years, is designed to help Americans understand that cyber security is a vital, shared responsibility.
Cyber security involves safeguarding everything that relies on computers and the internet. Think of what that involves: email, cell phones, global positioning systems, commerce, medical devices and much more. On a personal level, that ultimately involves your identity and privacy. As a national concern, it involves our country’s critical infrastructure—the assets and networks that provide for our economy, security and health. A cyber attack on our critical infrastructure could have disastrous consequences for national security, our health systems, utilities, traffic control, communication and more.

The following guidance comes from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Stop. Think. Connect. campaign and their United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT):
Stop. Before using the internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.
Awareness is a key step in safety. Review these terms to be aware of some of the threats:
Hacker, attacker, or intruder. These are terms given to people who seek to exploit weaknesses in computers. The result can include computer- or internet-based services being disrupted by a virus and information stolen for fraudulent use.

Malware. Also known as ”malicious code,” this includes any code that can be used to attack or infect your computer or network. The developer of the code often hides it within a
link or an attachment that will entice you to act. If you click on the link or open the attachment you may allow the infection of your computer. Use software that helps you recognize and avoid malware such as viruses, worms, trojans, etc.
Vulnerability. This usually refers to programming errors in software. Attackers might take advantage of the vulnerability to attack your computer. Applying updates or patches provided by the software developer can address vulnerabilities.
Think. Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your security.

Don’t react too quickly to email messages or social media posts that urge you to click on an internet link or video. Remember that these can be links to malware infection.
Phishing. The sending of fraudulent email to gain information and/or money—accounts for more than two-thirds of the cyber incidents reported to the federal government. It is a popular method that criminals use to reach you. Think about what you are doing or being asked to do to avoid phishers. Be careful to not share personal information or give someone access to your computer.
Connect. You can enjoy the internet with great confidence when you take steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.
Firewall. Use a firewall to control who has access to your computer. Without a firewall, your computer is vulnerable to cyber attack.
Wireless Network. Commonly known as “Wi-Fi,” it uses radio waves, instead of wires, to connect a computer to the internet. Unsecured Wi-Fi can allow someone else access to your connection and the information sent over the connection.

Encryption. Encryption changes data to code. You can set up encryption on your network to prevent anyone who might gain access to your network from understanding the data sent. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is one way to encrypt data on wireless devices.
These are just a sampling of important terms to understand
for cyber security. See publications by the US-CERT for more information about using computers securely at https://www. us-cert.gov/security-publications and the Stop. Think. Connect. Resource Guide at http://www.stcguide.com/.
Just as you would look right and left before driving through an intersection to ensure you won’t be hit by another vehicle or hit someone yourself, taking steps to protect yourself while connecting to the information superhighway and participating in online activities can help you avoid identity theft and other fraudulent schemes.

*GOD Speed*
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