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Tips for National Cyber Security Awareness Month

News Date: 
Thursday, Oct 20, 2016 - 03:45

COOK COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT OFFERS TIPS FOR NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY AWARENESS MONTH

Cyber crime statistics are staggering. Social media is a hacker’s favorite target – more than 600,000 Facebook accounts are compromised every single day.*

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month and Cook County’s Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (DHSEM) is offering ten quick tips to keep residents safe from a cyber incident:

Realize that you are the target: Internet crime is easy and cost effective because hackers can send out thousands of emails. If just one person takes the bait, sensitive information including bank accounts and credit cards is put at risk.

Avoid suspicious emails: Always be vigilant when clicking on links or attachments in an email. If it’s from an unknown source or looks suspicious, don’t click it.

Beware of phishing scams: Phishing scams can be carried out by email, phone, text or social media friend requests. Criminals will befriend you to gain access to publicly shared information they can then use to hack you. Be suspicious of any message or call that asks for urgent personal or financial data. Call the company directly to verify credentials before you give away any sensitive information.

Practice good passwords: Use a strong mix of characters, symbols and numbers, and don’t use the same password for multiple sites. Don’t share your password with others and don’t write it down!

Be careful what you click: Avoid visiting unknown websites or downloading software from untrusted sources. These sites often host malware that will silently compromise your computer.

Protect sensitive data: Sensitive browsing, such as banking or shopping, should only be done on your personal devices and on networks you trust. Free or guest Wi-Fi networks (even those at a hotel with an access code) should not be trusted. Always use encryption when storing or transmitting sensitive data.

Never leave your devices unattended: If you step away from your computer, phone or tablet for any length of time—no matter how short—always lock it up so no one else can use it.

Keep software and anti-virus updated: Only install anti-virus programs from a known and trusted source. Install patches and updates regularly to ensure your anti-virus program remains effective.

Be conscientious of what you plug in to your computer: Malware can spread through infected flash drives, external hard drives and even smartphones.

Back up data regularly: If you’re the victim of a hacking incident or ransomware, the only guaranteed way to repair your computer is to erase and re-install the system.

For more information, media may contact Natalia Derevyanny at natalia.derevyanny@cookcountyil.gov or 312.603.8286.

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The Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management integrates first responders, their departments and resources from 134 Cook County municipalities, and serves as the central agency in Cook County for coordinating efforts to prevent, protect against, mitigate the effects of, respond to, and recover from all incidents, whether man-made or natural. For more information, visit our website at www.cookcountyhomelandsecurity.org.

*Source: https://heimdalsecurity.com/blog/10-surprising-cyber-security-facts-that-may-affect-your-online-safety/