National Cyber Security Awareness Month - October

Cumberland County is proud to participate in National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Cyber security is a shared responsibility, and we all have a role to play in making the Internet safer and more secure for everyone. Throughout the month we will highlight the issue of cyber security on our website, and on our social media posts. We hope you will join our efforts to promote this issue. Online safety and security are shared responsibilities, and together we can positively impact our online community.

National Cyber Security Awareness Month 5th Anniversary Logo
Week 5:  October 25 - October 31
It seems that you can't go more than a week without hearing about some huge corporation that was just recently hacked, and that millions of records with customer data may have been leaked.  It's happening all the time, and one can safely assume that it's happening more than we know.  For every incident that we hear about, there's many others that either don't get publicized, or companies simply aren't aware that they've been hacked.  It's a huge problem that affects everyone.  The problem is that there isn't a clear solution.  What works for one organization may not work for another.  Security experts are in an ongoing cat and mouse game with the bad guys, and that isn't changing any time soon.  So what can organizations do and what can you do to protect yourself?  That's a tough question to answer as the industry is always changing and the bad guys are getting better every day, but here's some things that you can do:

  • Be aware when paying with your credit card in retail stores.  Make sure the employee doesn't swipe your card twice and that it remains in sight
  • Make sure sites that you use your credit card on are secure.  A secure site will begin with "https" in the address bar of your browser
  • Take advantage of the free credit monitoring services from organizations that notify you that they've been compromised
  • If you feel your credit card information has been stolen, ask for a replacement card as soon as possible

Week 4:  October 18 - October 24
​One of the most prevalent ways malicious actors gain access to systems is through unpatched outdated systems. Most of the time these vulnerabilities that hackers exploit can be closed by running updates on the affected software and making sure that the system as a whole is locked down.  If software is not kept up to date, you're just asking for problems.  Below are some tips to help achieve an up to date and hardened system:
  • Always turn on automatic updates for your operating system
  • Install and ensure that your anti-virus and anti-malware software is up to date and set to scan on a frequent basis
  • Turn on automatic updates for all products like Adobe, Java, IE, Chrome, Firefox, etc.
  • Turn on the firewall that is built into the operating system
  • Do not click on links in emails in which you did not originate the email chain unless you know for certain that it is legit
Week 3:  October 11 - October 17
​It's hard to maintain privacy in this day and age with everything connected to the internet.  Most people have profiles on a number of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin to name a few.  Each profile could contain details about a person's life that can easily be gathered and stored to learn about an individual.  There's a certain acceptance of risk when posting details about yourself online.  You're essentially giving your information away to the world, and malicious actors can use that information combined with a few easy internet searches to glean even more information such as where you live.  Before you know it, the bad guys are looking at a picture of your house from the comfort of their chair.  They know the layout of your property and even the layout of the inside of your home.  This is all gathered from information that has been stored on the internet.  As stated above, there's a certain acceptance to using the internet and especially posting some private information online, however that's not to say that you can't and shouldn't take measures to protect yourself.  Here's a few tips to help protect your identity:
  • Lock down your profile on any social media sites so that only friends can view the information
  • When disposing of a computer, remove the hard drive and store in a safe place.  Even after deleting data from a hard drive, data can still be accessed
  • Do not click on links in emails unless you were the one to initiate the contact
  • Install anti-virus and anti-malware software on your computer and keep it up to date
  • Do not connect to any wireless network that you are not familiar with
  • Never do banking on a "public" open wireless connection
Week 2:  October 4 - October 10
Passwords remain one of the weakest links in the chain for any organization. Every employee of any organization needs to have a complex secure password that is easy to remember to them. The last thing that you want to do is make your password so complex that you have to write it down. That defeats the purpose and makes it extremely easy to steal your credentials without you even knowing. Below are some helpful hints regarding passwords:
  • Do not write any passwords down
  • Never share your password with anyone
  • Use a different password for every website
  • Never send your password through email to anyone
  • If you think your password has been compromised, change it immediately
  • Do not use the “Remember Password” feature that is built in to many web browsers
  • Do not connect to any secure sites while using a “public” open wireless connection
  • Use two factor authentication if offered – Google/Gmail, Facebook, Twitter and a number of other sites offer this.  Two factor authentication is when you enter your normal password, but you also have to know something else to login to your account.  The sites mentioned, after it is enabled, will send a text message to your phone that you have to enter any time you attempt to login to your account on a new computer.  This offers an excellent layer of protection.