NORFOLK, Va. - October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and it comes at a time when many major cyber breaches have folks worried.
Earlier this month it was revealed that a breach of Yahoo accounts in August 2013 affected every single customer account, more than three times the amount Yahoo originally reported.
“Major data breaches – which, like the Yahoo event, can affect billions of people – remind us that we must be vigilant in protecting our personal online information,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "An easy first step for everyone to better secure all email, social media and financial accounts, is to ‘lock down your login’ with security tools such as multi-factor and strong authentication, which provide an additional layer of protection. Most email, major financial and social media companies now provide stronger authentication that can be easily implemented on their websites. Email accounts in particular are extremely important to protect as once breached, hackers can use them to reset passwords and break into other accounts, steal identities, target contacts and put an individual’s data and reputation at risk.”
The National Cyber Security Alliance has these tips to stay safer and more secure online:
- Lock Down Your Login. Use Strong authentication — more than a username and password to access accounts — to protect your most valuable accounts including email, social media and financial.
- Make better passwords. If passwords are the only option, change and make them better. Length and ability to remember passwords are the two most important factors. A phrase of multiple words you can remember makes a good password. Important accounts should have unique passwords not used to access any other accounts.
- Clean and keep all machines clean. Immediately update all software on every internet-connected device. All critical software – including PCs and mobile operating systems, security software and other frequently used software and apps – should be running the most current versions. Delete all unused apps.
- Monitor activity on your financial and credit cards accounts. If appropriate, implement a fraud alert or credit freeze with one of the three credit bureaus (this is free and may be included if credit monitoring is provided post breach). For more information, visit the Federal Trade Commission website: http://www.identitytheft.gov.
- When in doubt, throw it out. Scammers and others have been known to use data breaches and other incidents to send out emails and posts related to the incident to lure people into providing their information. Delete any suspicious emails or posts and get information only from legitimate sources.