A friend of mine, Josh Michaels (see joshmichaels.com) wrote this up.  Re-posted with his permission.

October

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Cyber Security Awareness Month

Please take a moment and review these 10 tips for keeping you safe and secure online.

1. Utilize strong passwords, and keep them private.  A strong password is at least 8 characters long and contains numbers, letters and special characters.

2. Change passwords often, at least once per year.

3. Be conscious of where you enter your password (for example, accessing your bank accounts from a shared computer).

4. Be careful with whom you share your PII (Personally Identifiable Information).  PII is information, that alone or combined with other pieces of PII, can be used to uniquely identify an individual.  This can include:

- Social security Number

- Full Name

- Address

- Phone Number

- License Number

- License Plate

- Birthday

- Birthplace

       Whenever someone asks you for any identifying information, be sure to ask yourself “Why do they need that”.

5. Lock your computer when your away. A couple of keystrokes can save you from being a victim.

- In Windows, you can press and hold the windows button and then press L.     clip_image003  + L

- In Ubuntu, you can press   Ctrl + Alt + L.

6. Freebies often aren’t.  Many “free” downloads on the internet contain spyware or malware. Be aware of what you are downloading and installing onto your computer.

7. Don’t tell the world when your away from home.  Social media is a powerful communications tool. Like all tools, it can be used for good or evil. Telling the world that your are vacationing in the Bahamas for the next week may sound harmless, but to a thief, it is valuable intel. Wait until you get home to post those photos from the beach.

8. Stay up to date.  Technology is ever evolving, and security is on the forefront of that evolution. As new attacks and weaknesses are discovered, you must take action to defend against them.  Keep your systems up to date with patches and updates, whether automatically or manually.

9. Be aware of your surroundings.  When accessing any secure site (banks, email, records) you should see a SSL-URL in the browser.  If the site is not SSL secured, think twice before submitting your personal data and passwords to it.

- http://www.us-cert.gov/    -   Not secured by SSL

- https://www.us-cert.gov/  -   Secured by SSL

10.  Don’t be a Click Monkey. Take a moment to read a window when it pops up, instead of speed clicking through them.  You never know what you are clicking OK to.

For further reading:

http://www.us-cert.gov/cas/tips/

http://www.staysafeonline.org/in-the-home/protect-yourself