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Digital Security Awareness
Keeping the Oneida Nation informed and safe, one click at a time.
Here are our 10 top tips to stay safe online:
1. KEEP A CLEAN MACHINE
Keep all software on internet connected devices – including personal computers, smartphones and tablets – current to reduce risk of infection from ransomware and malware. If you want to “set it and forget it,” configure your devices to automatically update or to notify you when an update is available.
2. CREATE LONG, UNIQUE PASSWORDS
Length trumps complexity. Strong passwords are at least 12 characters long and include letters, numbers and symbols. Ideally, your password is not recognizable as a word or phrase. And, yes, you should have a unique password for each online account. Sounds hard to remember? Using a password manager has never been easier (we’ll say more in a second) – many smartphones and web browsers include password managers and even suggest strong passwords. Otherwise, we recommend coming up with a password that is actually a “passphrase,” that is, a sentence that is at least 12 characters long. Focus on positive sentences or phrases that you like to think about and are easy to remember, such as ILov3StayingSafeOnl1ne! (but don’t use that one).
3. USE A PASSWORD MANAGER
It’s time to ditch the notebook if that’s where you keep your passwords – use it for doodles. Ditto for that Notes app or word processing doc – save the hard drive space. Instead, the simplest, most secure way to manage unique passwords is through a password manager application. A password manager is software created to manage all your online credentials like usernames and passwords. Many are free. Often, browsers and device operating systems include password management programs. Password managers store your passwords in an encrypted database (think of it as your personal data vault). These programs also generate new passwords when you need them. Really, it has never been easier to safely generate, store and access your passwords. (Please see ‘Recommended Downloads’ section).
4. ENABLE MULTI-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
Multi-factor authentication (MFA), sometimes called 2-factor authentication, adds a whole other level of security to your key accounts. MFA includes biometrics (think face ID scans or fingerprint access), security keys or apps that send you unique, one-time codes when you want to log on to a sensitive account. We recommend you use MFA whenever offered. Read more about the different types of MFA.
5. THINK BEFORE YOU CLICK
What’s the most common way for cybercriminals to get your sensitive information? It’s when you click on something you shouldn’t have. Malicious links in email, tweets, texts, posts, social media messages and malicious online advertising (known as malvertising) are a direct way for hackers to get your sensitive information. Don’t make it easy for them. Be wary of clicking on links or downloading anything that comes from a stranger or that you were not expecting. Whenever you get an email or message, count to five – usually that’s all the time you need to determine if the missive seems authentic or not.
6. REPORT PHISHING
One of the best ways to take down cybercriminals is by reporting phishing attempts, and nowadays its easier than ever. If the email came to your work email address, report it to your IT manager or security team as quickly as possible. If you’re at home and the email came to your personal email address, do not click on any links (even the unsubscribe link) or reply back to the email. Most email programs and social media platforms allow you to report phishing attempts. But don’t keep that phishing message around – delete it ASAP. You can further protect yourself by blocking the sender from your email program, social media platform or phone.
7. USE SECURE WI-FI
Public wireless networks and hotspots are unsecured, which means that anyone could potentially see what you are doing on your laptop or smartphone while you are connected to them. Limit what you do on public WiFi. Especially avoid logging in to key accounts like email and financial services. Consider using a virtual private network (VPN) or a personal/mobile hotspot if you need a more secure connection.
8. BACK IT UP
The best way to protect your valuable work, music, photos, data and other digital information is to make copies and store them safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware or other cyber threats, you will be able to restore the data from a backup. If you break your computer or it crashes, you won’t lose the data along with the device. Use the 3-2-1 rule as a guide to backing up your data. The rule is: keep at least three (3) copies of your data, and store two (2) backup copies on different storage media, with one (1) of them located offsite. One of these storage possibilities can be backing up to the cloud, which are secure computer servers you can access through an account.
9. CHECK YOUR SETTINGS
Every time you sign up for a new account, download a new app or get a new device, immediately configure the privacy and security settings to your comfort level for information sharing. Regularly check these settings to make sure they are still configured to your comfort. Audit your apps, platforms and games every few months and delete ones you no longer use – then you don’t need to check their settings!
10. SHARE WITH CARE
Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it might affect you or others.
List provided by:
Dangers of Public Wi-Fi:
Security Dangers of Public Wi-Fi – by Kaspersky
Beware free Wi-Fi may not be as free as we think – Report by CBS Boston:
StaySafeOnline.org – Security Awareness Series
America’s Cyber Defense Agency Report an Incident | CISA
Everything you need to know about Social Security related scams, including a place to report potential Social Security related scams: https://www.ssa.gov/scam/
Stay safe online.
The National Cybersecurity Alliance provides a collection of digital resources, at your virtual fingertips. They want to make it easy for everyone to learn more about cybersecurity and staying safe online. That’s why they collected all of these easy-to-follow resources and guides to share with you: Resources + Guides – National Cybersecurity Alliance (staysafeonline.org)
Staying Safe Online: Staying safe online | ICPEN
FCC Internet Safety Tips: Internet Safety Tips (fcc.gov)
The FBI and how they can help you regarding scams: On the Internet: Be Cautious When Connected — FBI
Protect Your Digital Life – Password Management for Individuals and Families: https://bitwarden.com/products/personal/
Types of Phishing
Types of Phishing and How to Avoid Them
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