October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month

CYBER SECURITY: Identity theft and online fraud costs consumers more than $1 billion annually. Photo:

One in five Americans report being the victim of a crime that was committed over the Internet, including identity theft, bullying or auction fraud, according to the National Cyber Security Alliance. Online crime and identity and data theft costs consumers and businesses billions each year.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and staying safe online can be summed up in three simple steps: Stop. Think. Connect.

The NCSA and its Stay Safe Online campaign offer these tips:

• When in doubt, throw it out: 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.

• Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.

• Protect your Money: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for Web addresses with “https://” or “shttp://”, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. “Http://” is not secure.

• Think before you act: Be wary of communications that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.

• Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

• Help the authorities fight cyber crime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.

To take an online risk calculator and get tips on protecting your children online visit the National Cyber Security Alliance.

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