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Don't get scammed -- make sure you are cybersecurity savvy!

The Millennial Generation is all about being connected 24/7. Sometimes, with this need to always be connected, we overlook our cybersecurity. The internet can be such a useful tool for schoolwork, social networking, and job searches, but if you’re not monitoring your activities online, you could end up getting scammed. In honor of October being National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, this blog is going to describe some basics of cybersecurity.

  • Make sure you have the most current software uploaded to your computer. Having updated software and virus protection is the defense against threats to your computer. Turn on your automatic software updates so it’ll remind you when you’re due for an update, that way you don’t have to worry about whether it’s time or not!

  • Protect all devices that connect to the internet. That includes phones, computers, gaming systems, and MP3 players. Make sure to get virus and spyware protection for anything that will connect to the internet.

  • Secure your accounts. Make your passwords long and strong. Combine numbers, symbols, lower case, and upper case letters to make them hard to hack. Make sure you use unique passwords for unique accounts; having the same password for every account makes it easy for hackers to get into all your accounts once they’ve hacked one. Also, you can keep a list of your passwords in a safe, secure place, away from your computer so you don’t forget them.

  • Watch your online presence. You can monitor your privacy settings on accounts like Facebook and Twitter so what you share has a limited audience. Just know, that there are always ways around those settings. Be aware that what you post under privacy settings has the potential to still be seen by those you don’t want to see it. Think before you act.

  • Don’t open suspicious links through Tweets, FB, or Email. This is a major way hackers get your information. When in doubt, delete.

  • Use a “https://” or “shttp://” url. Especially when you’re working with online banking or credit. “http://” is NOT a secure connection.

  • Back it up. If it’s something important, make sure to back it up on an external hardrive, disk, or flash drive just in case.

To quote the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) website:

  • STOP. Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.

  • THINK. Take a moment to be certain the path is clear ahead. Watch for warning signs and consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or the safety of your family.

  • CONNECT. Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

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