This year marks the 10th anniversary of National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Each October, in response to constantly evolving technology and the personal safety and security threats the adoption of new tools may pose, the Department of Homeland Security sponsors a campaign to engage the public in creating a safe and secure cyber environment. Massachusetts is proud to participate in spreading the key messages of this national event.
Mobile Safety and Security – According to data from the Pew Research Center, 85% of Americans use the internet and mobile devices are quickly replacing the traditional desktop computer. Additionally, tablet computer use has increased from 3% of the population in 2010 to 35% in 2013. Laptop ownership doubled from 2007 to 2012, while desktop ownership decreased 15%.
People are eager to adopt mobile solutions that facilitate everyday transactions, such as banking and online shopping, by offering anywhere/anytime access. Cyber criminals are constantly looking for ways to capitalize on this trend by taking advantage of unsecure wireless networks, third-party applications, and texting to acquire personal information.
As technological innovations continue to progress, there are important steps to take in order to protect yourself and your personal information.
- Restrict access to your wireless network by only allowing access to authorized users.
- Create passwords that would be difficult for an outsider to guess.
- Keep your anti-virus software updated to protect against viruses, spyware, and malware.
- Use caution when downloading or clicking on any unknown links.
Personal Safety and Security – As people become more and more reliant on technology, they also become more vulnerable to cyber-crimes. Tactics such as hacking and phishing are used to trick people into revealing personal information. Email scams are a common form of fraud that cyber criminals use to take advantage of unsuspecting people. Personal safety dangers such as cyber stalking and cyberbullying can pose threats as well. It is important to be able to recognize these dangers and take steps to protect yourself.
- Keep personal information secure to avoid identity theft. Only transfer personal information to trusted sites.
- Use caution when interacting with others online through platforms such as social networking sites, chat rooms, instant messaging, or online dating.
- Keep children safe online by monitoring their internet usage in order to reduce the likelihood they will find themselves in a dangerous situation. Also remind children of important internet safety tips to follow.
The 2013 Cyber Pledge asks anyone who uses the internet at home or at work to join others across the country in adopting good cyber security practices online. It also serves as a friendly competition among states. Take the pledge and help Massachusetts show its dedication to the cause!
Tweet @MassGov and let us know if you’ve taken the pledge!
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