October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

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Provided by Prince William County

Hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for ways to steal identities and money from people who might be careless in their online activities.

Below are a few tips on how to thwart cybercriminals and stay safe online.

1.     Use strong passwords and authentication.

Strong passwords with symbols, uppercase and lowercase letters, along with numbers can thwart cyberthieves. Use passwords with at least 10 characters. Change passwords regularly.

2.     Avoid pop-ups, unknown emails and links.

Phishing ploys try to trick people into clicking onto bogus links or emails that could lead to security breaches. Be cautious of links and emails from unknown sources that could contain embedded malware or ransomware. One wrong click could lead to identity theft. Never enter personal or company information in response to any communication that you did not initiate.

3.     Embrace education and training.

Education and training can keep you up-to-date and remind you of the value of cybersecurity.

4.     Protect your data.

Never share personal information, such as your social security number or credit card numbers in response to an unsolicited email, phone call or text. Remember, cybercriminals can create websites and email addresses that look legitimate. Do not be fooled.

5.     Connect to secure Wi-Fi.

It is risky to use unsecured, public Wi-Fi, and it can put your personal and company data at risk of interception.

6.     Stick to your own devices.

Try to use your own devices. Never share credentials with others, and never give anyone remote access to your computer.

7.     Do not be too confident.

Cybersecurity thieves do not discriminate. They target all sorts of users, and cybersecurity breaches can happen to anyone. Be proactive. Take care not to visit unsafe sites.


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