No one is immune from the threat of cybercrime.
Its many forms include online identity theft, financial fraud, stalking, bullying, hacking, e-mail spoofing, information piracy and forgery plus much more. The results can vary from major annoyance to financial devastation or even endangered personal safety.
The ever-increasing frequency of news reports about cybercrime attacks can begin to have a numbing effect on all of us. The Better Business Bureau warns, however, that this is no time for resigned complacency.
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. It’s an opportunity to brush up on the practical steps we can all take to ensure a safer online presence.
Stop. Think. Connect.
The Stop. Think. Connect Campaign is a national public awareness effort aimed at increasing the understanding of cyber threats and facilitating a more secure online experience for Americans.
We’re all occasionally guilty of automatic clicking – a practice that can set us up for victimization by online crooks. The campaign seeks to make us more deliberate and cautious in our digital explorations.
Digital security tips
These tips can increase your online safety:
▪ Own your online presence. Set the privacy and security settings on websites you visit according to your comfort level for information sharing. Consider limiting how and with whom you share information. You have no way of knowing with whom they might share your information.
▪ Personal information is like money. You should value and protect it. Be thoughtful about who gets information concerning your purchasing history and locations.
▪ Share with care. Think before posting about yourself and others on social media. It’s wise to consider what a post reveals about you or your family. You don’t know who might see it and how it could be perceived in the future or out of context.
▪ Keep a clean machine. Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including PCs, smartphones and tablets – updated. This is a vital step toward reducing your risk of infection from malware.
▪ Stay 2 steps ahead with two-step authentication whenever it is an option. (It’s also known as two-step verification or multi-factor authentication.) This uses things like text messages to your phone or a biometric such as your fingerprint to provide more secure proof that you are not an imposter.
Tips for parents
It’s vital that parents make a concerted effort to teach their children how to become good digital citizens. Simply allowing free access can endanger your child, your computer and your personal data.
These steps can help:
▪ Be positively engaged. Know the sites your children visit. Surf the internet with them and show interest in their friends and activities.
▪ Support their good choices and demonstrated competence online.
▪ Know the protection features, such as pop-up blockers or other security features of websites your children use.
▪ Utilize your internet service provider’s protection tools for selecting appropriate websites, monitoring online time and limiting the people who can contact them.
▪ Review and decide together which privacy setting on cellphones and social networking sites are most appropriate for each child.
▪ Teach critical thinking. Encourage caution when downloading, posting, clicking on and uploading content.
▪ Explain the implications. Teach them that the internet has many risks. Everything can be shared by strangers and very little can ever be taken back.
▪ Help them be good digital citizens by respecting friends’ personal information and not being hurtful.
More information concerning online safety is available at staysafeonline.org.
If you go
What: BBB’s Cyber Security Event
When: Wednesday, Oct. 12, 9 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.
Where: Wichita State University Hughes Metropolitan Complex, 29th Street North and Oliver
For more information or to register, go to bbbinc.org.