The Internet has become a significant part of our everyday lives, allowing us to work, socialize and shop online. Unfortunately, cybercriminals also benefit from that same convenience and accessibility. That’s why the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) team up each October for National Cyber Security Awareness Month. This year’s theme is “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart,” which emphasizes the importance of individuals taking steps to protect themselves online.
Through its online reporting tool, the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) connects the public with the FBI. According to IC3’s 2019 annual report, almost 500,000 complaints and $3.5 billion in losses were reported last year, with adults over 60 being the demographic most impacted by internet crime. Texas ranks third in the United States for number of victims and fourth for total dollar losses.
Step up your online safety practices with these tips from your Better Business Bureau:
• Increase your online privacy. Protect your online accounts by implementing multifactor authentication and using strong passwords, which consist of letters, numbers and special characters. Individuals should also refrain from accessing banking information or making online purchases when connected to an unsecured public network.
• Stay secure while you work. As more employees work virtually during the COVID-19 crisis, they should be more vigilant about internet scams and online fraud. Business and personal information should be treated with the same care; avoid sharing it with unfamiliar parties or over unsecured networks. It is important to keep the security software on your business devices up to date, because only one employee needs to be compromised for an entire organization to experience a data breach.
• Use social media responsibly. Social media is a great way to connect with friends and family, but it can also allow scammers and cybercriminals to target you. Only accept friend requests from people you trust, avoid clicking links in messages from strangers, and refrain from posting your personal information online. Remember to be careful about what you share. Remember, there is no “delete” button online.