Attorney General Carr Recognizes National Cyber Security Awareness Month
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, and the Attorney General’s Office wants Georgians to know how to keep their sensitive information safe from cybercriminals.
“This is an ideal time to prepare to defend yourself from hackers and identity thieves that are trying to infiltrate your computer and your wallet,” said Attorney General Chris Carr. “National Cyber Security Awareness Month highlights the threats and allows us to find solutions to this ever evolving challenge.”
Tips to Protect Yourself:
- Install Reputable Security Software on Your Computer. It is recommended that your computer have anti-virus and anti-spyware software, a pop-up blocker, and that the firewall is enabled. For lists of security tools from legitimate security vendors, visit https://staysafeonline.org/.
- Update System and Software Frequently. Computer and software companies frequently update their programs to include protection against new security threats. Simply updating your operating system and software whenever new versions become available gives you an added measure of security.
- Create Strong Passwords. The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Mix letters, numbers and special characters. Don’t use your name, birthdate or pet’s name in your password. Use a different password for each of your accounts so that if one account is hacked, the perpetrator cannot take over all your accounts.
- Be Wise with Wi-Fi Hotspots. Open public Wi-Fi is often unsecured, so your information and device are more accessible to hackers. Limit the types of business you conduct in this environment, being certain to avoid those that involve your personal or financial information, such as banking, credit card transactions or doing your taxes.
- Know Who You’re Dealing With.
- Don’t download programs or share files with people or businesses you don’t know and trust.
- If you receive a text message or email from a sender you don’t recognize, be very wary of opening any attachments or clicking on links, as these might download a virus or malware onto your device. If a message looks suspicious, it is best to delete it.
- Beware of business email compromise scams and phishing emails. Cybercriminals may try to steal your money or identity by posing as a legitimate business or government agency and asking you to send money or provide personal or financial information. If you are unsure of whether an email is legitimate, do not reply to it; instead, contact the business or institution directly by looking up the actual web address or phone number.
- When shopping online, make sure that the company is reputable and that its website begins with “https://”, which indicates that the site utilizes extra security measures. You can check the reputation of a business with the Better Business Bureau by going to www.bbb.org.
- Backup Important Data. No system is completely secure. Copy important files onto a removable disc or an external hard drive, and store it in a safe place. If your computer is compromised, you’ll still have access to your files.
- Lock your phone. Use at least a 6-digit passcode on your device, or use the pattern lock or fingerprint scanner. Set the device to lock when not in use.
- Protect yourself in the event that you lose your mobile device:
- Install and turn on Find My iPhone (iOS) or Find My Device (Android). These apps could help you locate your device if you lose it. If your phone is stolen, these apps also let you remotely issue a command to erase your device – even if an identity thief turns it off.
- Alert your wireless provider as soon as you know your device is missing. They can permanently or temporarily disable the SIM card to stop someone from using the device for calls or the internet.
- Change passwords for your accounts. Many of us set our devices to remember passwords – which could mean that someone who gets your phone could get access to your accounts and personal information. So, if you lose your phone, create new passwords right away for your email, social media, online banking, shopping and other online accounts.
Significant Information from the Department of Law includes:
Cybersecurity in Georgia provides information and tips about cyber threats, protecting your data and network, training employees about cybersecurity, planning for and responding to a security breach, cyber insurance and more.