If you are like most people, you keep large amounts of personal information on your home computer—tax records, banking information, estate documents, contact lists, family photos, and other sentimental items. Losing any of this to cybercrime would be devastating, but you can take steps to help protect you and your family’s privacy and decrease your odds of a cyberattack.
A great place to start is by participating in National Cyber Security Awareness Month, held in October 2012. Even if you have just one hour to devote to this nationwide observance or decide to make a larger time commitment, you’ll be sure to find at least one activity from the list below that can make a big difference!
What You Can Do…
…in less than One Hour:
- Add the following signature line to the bottom of all your emails, “October 2012 is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Let’s make our online lives safer and more secure! Check out details at http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/.”
…in less than One Day:
…in less than One Week:
- Hold a “family conference” to discuss how each member of the family can help to make their personal computer and other online devices safe from cyberattacks. Read through and discuss the suggestions from the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. tip sheet. (Download at http://staysafeonline.org/stop-think-connect/tips-and-advice.)
…in less than One Month:
- Protect anything you have saved on your computer (personal paperwork, music, photos, and other digital information) by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
- Make passwords long and strong. Review all your online accounts and make sure that you have combined capital and lowercase letters with numbers and symbols to create more secure passwords. Use a different password for every online account, then write your passwords down and keep the list in a safe, secure place away from your computer.
…All Year Round:
- Connect with care. Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it's best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email. (Download more tips at http://staysafeonline.org/stop-think-connect/tips-and-advice.)
- Keep a clean machine. Keep your security software current and automate software updates. Make sure you protect all devices that connect to the Internet (along with computers, smart phones, gaming devices also need protection from viruses and malware. (Download more tips at http://staysafeonline.org/stop-think-connect/tips-and-advice.)