October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month: Gain peace of mind online


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National Cyber Security Awareness Month is intended to educate and empower people to use the Internet safely and securely. To minimize risks online at work and at home, here are some basic tips to help you stay secure.

Set up alerts on your financial accounts. Many credit card companies and banks allow you to set up alerts on your accounts via their websites. These alerts notify you every time a transaction happens on your account or only when transactions meet or exceed a designated spending limit. When you receive an alert about a transaction that you did not authorize, you can respond immediately and stop a credit card thief.

Keep devices and apps up to date. Make sure your apps and operating systems have the latest security fixes.

Use a VPN (Virtual Private Network). Connecting to a VPN redirects your internet traffic to a remote server, encrypting the traffic so it’s safer to use. Computers connected to public Wi-Fi networks can see everything you type — and even hijack your social media or banking session.

Create unique passwords. Using the same password for many sites is a bad idea. Suppose one of your accounts suffered a data breach and your password was stolen. If you reused this password on other accounts, the thief could access those accounts as well — especially if your user name is always your email address. Consider using a password manager tool to help keep your passwords safe and easy to find.

Be aware when visiting websites. Many fake websites are set up solely to collect your valuable information. To verify you are on a legitimate site, make sure the website address is spelled correctly and you see a padlock and “https://” in the URL.

Following these security tips will help you take control of your online life and give you peace of mind.

© 2018 Christina Bonds. The text of this work is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 4.0 International License.

Originally published by Lenette Votava at oit.nd.edu on September 30, 2019.