Protect yourself online this Cyber Security Awareness Month

October 14, 2013

BBB advises consumers of contributed efforts for online safety

October marks the 10th anniversary of Cyber Security Awareness Month. Do you know how to protect your identity online? Better Business Bureau has joined with the National Cyber Security Alliance’s STOP. THINK. CONNECT. campaign to educate the public about online scams and how to respond to them effectively if they do occur.

Every consumer who uses digital technology devices at home or in the office needs to play a part in cyber security. If you open a virus-ridden email attachment at work, for example, you could infect your entire company’s computer network. Savvy Cybercriminals have become experts at luring people into clicking dangerous links or opening phony email attachments.

The Department of Homeland Security advises consumers to:

Stop. Before you use the Internet, take time to understand the risks and learn how to spot potential problems.

Think. Take a moment to be certain the path ahead is clear. Consider how your actions online could impact your safety, or your family’s.

Connect. Enjoy the Internet with greater confidence, knowing you’ve taken the right steps to safeguard yourself and your computer.

In addition, BBB recommends the following:

  • Click with caution. Only open emails, attachments, and links from people you know. Use anti-virus software regularly and enhance email filters to block threats. Watch out for unsolicited emails that contain misspellings or grammatical errors.

  • Don’t believe what you see. It’s easy to steal the colors, logos and headers of an established organization. Hover over any links to see where they lead. Malicious emails may look identical to legitimate websites, but come from a different sender.

  • Safeguard your information. Don’t reveal personal or financial information in an email, and do not respond to email solicitations for this information. Be wary of any urgent instructions to take specified action such as "Click on the link or your account will be closed."

  • Verify email requests. If you are unsure whether an email request is legitimate, contact the company directly using information provided on an account statement, not information provided in an email.

  • Keep software updates current. Having the latest operating system, software, web browsers, anti-virus protection and apps are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.

For more tips from the STOP. THINK. CONNECT campaign, visit Stay Safe Online.