Cyber Security Awareness – Top Cyber Safety Tips

cyber security awarenessOctober is Cyber Security Awareness Month. Before you dismiss it as another one of those randomly designated months we’ve all become accustomed to, know that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has been reminding consumers to be cyber aware each fall for the last 18 years. Why? Because it can happen to you and the billions of others that use the Internet routinely in their day-to-day lives. Here are some alarming statistics:

  • over 143 million Americans were directly affected by cybercrime in 2017, as per a Norton Cyber Security Insights Report
  • a survey by Statista found 32.7% of respondents experienced an email or social media account hack, while 14% noted they’d been hacked more than once

But why put yourself at risk? The FBI reminds us to #BeCyberSmart throughout the year and not just during October, so let’s take a look at these top cyber security awareness safety tips!

What are ways of practicing cyber security awareness?

  • devices that need cybersecurity protection include cell phones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers; the FBI advises to think of your computers and tech as being comparable to your car, “If you don’t lock your car, it’s vulnerable; if you don’t secure your computer, it’s vulnerable.” Makes sense, right?
  • be sure to keep on top of your operating system updates as many are designed to specifically combat the latest security concerns 
  • turn off your computer when it’s not in use
  • if you’re traveling, be sure to access the Internet only through a virtual private network (VPN) to ensure you’re being protected
  • don’t engage with any peer-to-peer systems as this connects your computer with others from around the world; it basically opens the door for them to illicit illegal activity including hacking, child exploitation/obscenity, and/or copyright infringement
  • if you’ve got kids in your household, check out the Safe Online Surfing cyber security awareness program as offered by the FBI
  • if you’re a victim of cybercrime, be sure to report your experience to the FBI by filing an official IC3 complaint form
  • utilize our DomiDocs secure online platform to safely store homeowner documents, including warranties, insurance papers, photos, and more

Antivirus Protection:

  • install and regularly run scans using a reputable antivirus/antispyware program; switch to a deep scan mode periodically just to double-check you’re virus-free

Secure Passwords:

  • cyber security awareness also means ensuring the Wi-Fi network/router in your home is protected by a strong password
  • regularly change your passwords and don’t share them with anyone; incorporate symbols, numbers, and punctuation marks to make them even stronger
  • utilize multi-factor authentication to ensure you’re the only one who will have access to your accounts, especially for email, banking, and social media

Practicing Cyber Security Awareness - Email 

  • pay attention to URLs and email addresses before you open any website or attachments as thieves can mimic legitimate ones
  • never click on a link if you’ve received an unexpected email or text message; do your due diligence by logging on to the official website and verifying if there are any discrepancies so you don’t become a victim of a phishing attack
  • cyber security awareness dictates you should be very suspicious of any messages warning you about jail time, fraud, or some other scenario that requires immediate action, especially when it’s coupled with a request for money or a required payment, such as:
    • requests for advance fees
    • disaster and charity donation requests
    • lottery and sweepstakes scams where you need to pay to collect your winnings
    • securing a loan by paying a fee upfront

Practicing Cyber Security Awareness - App Awareness

  • if you’re downloading apps, and who isn’t, only do so from official app stores as this will help to lessen the chance of downloading something nefarious
    • read the privacy data to find out how and if your data may be shared
    • view the permissions to ensure the app can’t access things like your location, microphone, or camera
    • check off the auto-update box to ensure your apps are up-to-date, as this can help to reduce the risk of having your information hacked
    • if you’re no longer using an app, delete it
  • be extremely cautious of downloading any free apps as chances are good they come along with programs that will run in the background 

Protecting your family doesn’t stop with cyber security awareness, in fact, property fraud is the fastest growing crime in America today. Mitigate your risk as a homeowner with HomeLock™, our ultimate home title and property fraud protection system offering scanning and monitoring of 200+ data points 24/7/365. HomeLock™ is not only for fraud but for nearly anything else that can go wrong including an unpaid bill, clerical errors, or a missed payment. Plus, HomeLock™ also includes our award-winning home management platform!

For more information on keeping your home safe, read:

Actionable Tips to Make Your Home Safer

How to Keep Your Family Safe During the Holidays

How to Stay Safe Online During the Holidays

Author – Connie Motz