Twenty years ago, the President and Congress designated October as Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It's a critical time when both the public and private sectors come together to recognize the importance of cybersecurity and foster a culture of awareness, responsibility, and vigilance. This year’s theme is Secure Our World – a call to action that encourages everyone to adopt essential cybersecurity practices to keep the digital world safe.

Why It Matters

As we dive into the holiday shopping season, millions of Americans are on the lookout for the best online deals. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are on the prowl too, targeting online shoppers.

During this season, bad actors create fake websites, share malicious links, and even pose as charitable organizations to steal your personal and financial information. Their goal is simple: compromise your data, insert malicious software, steal your identity, and empty your accounts. That's why practicing "cyber hygiene" is crucial to enhancing your online safety.

Here's What You Can Do:

  • Beware of Phishing: Most successful online breaches start with someone who unknowingly downloads malware or shares personal information with a scammer. Be suspicious when scare tactics are used to create a sense of urgency or you get an offer that seem too good to be true. Pay close attention for small differences in domain names, even when you see https:// and a locked padlock icon indicating secure browsing. When in doubt, manually type the website's URL into your browser.

  • Guard Your Information: Never share your password or personal/financial data in response to unsolicited emails. If you’re unsure about an email’s legitimacy, pick up the phone and call – just don’t use the phone number in the unsolicited email!

  • Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA): Turn on MFA whenever it's available. MFA adds an extra layer of protection on top of your password. This might involve a face scan, code sent via text, or push notification.

  • Stay Updated: Whenever your devices, apps, or software – especially antivirus software – prompt you to update, do it right away. An update will often patch security vulnerabilities, so enable automatic updates for added convenience.

Empower Yourself

This Cybersecurity Awareness Month, empower yourself with the knowledge and tools you need to safeguard your digital assets, personal information, and online privacy. Let's make the digital world a safer place for everyone.