With today’s sophisticated technology, we can purchase almost anything around the world with a simple click of a button. Online purchases were at an all-time high this year, especially around this holiday season. No more waiting in long lines or driving from store to store to find “the gift”; it is an ingenious creation. With that said, advanced technology has also opened up many opportunities for cyber security threats such as identity theft, and is sadly not uncommon in our nation. To an extent we understand that identity theft is a crime and can inflict unimaginable damages to those who fall victim. We know it exists, we know we are all at risk, but what measures can we take to reduce the risk? Here’s a few suggestions to keep in mind:
1. Secure your web browser. Most common web browsers we use are FireFox, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Safari, and Google Chrome. If you often use one or more of these browsers, there is a way to configure it and prevent many computer issues such as viruses and hackers. The Department of Homeland Security’s latest campaign, Stop.Think.Connect, provides many tips and resources for cyber security. You can click on this link: https://www.us-cert.gov/publications/securing-your-web-browser to find the steps to configuring your web browser.
2. Be careful of suspicious links. When we browse the internet, we see a lot of ads. Some ads are disguised to capture your attention and once you click on it, you make your personal information and computer vulnerable for hackers to control. Do not click on unfamiliar sites. If you stumble upon a website you are not sure about, you can copy and paste the link into the Google search engine and it will tell you whether the site is legitimate or not.
3. Choose a strong password. In today’s society, we practically have an online account for everything from our banks to frequent online stores. How do you manage all these passwords and how do you know if your password is secure enough? Well here’s a secure link (https://howsecureismypassword.net/) that allows you to type in your password, and instantaneously will tell you how long it can take a hacker to crack your password. You can access the site without internet connection and it is best suggested to do it as so, that way it ensures complete safety of your password. The site does not send or store any password you enter. Go ahead and give it a try. You’ll be shocked by the answer.
Celebrate your holidays safely and securely. Working under the Information Security & Privacy unit, I’ve learned to take more precautions through Cyber Security Awareness month back in November.
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