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Cyber Security Awareness Month

While WatchGuard is dedicated to promoting cyber security and safety every month, we are excited that many other companies and organizations are particularly involved during the month of October. President Obama issued a proclamation declaring October National Cyber Security Awareness Month in which, “we recognize the role we all play in ensuring our information and communications infrastructure is interoperable, secure, reliable, and open to all.”

So what should you know about Cyber Security? According to a study conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance and Visa, 85% of Small businesses (1-200 employees) believe that they are less of a target for cybercrime than a large corporation. Let’s clear that up right off the bat. As we discussed last week in “Are You a Target” that is not the case. Any business is a target.  With that said, here are five points that you should consider not only during the month of October, but every month.

1) Firewall:  A large number of network attacks are by chance. Hackers send out masses of infected broadcasts that can detect unprotected systems. When a weak security system is detected the hacker will launch an attack. In order to keep you business safe from these kinds of attacks it is essential that the network is protected by a firewall.

2) Popups: Popups are one of the simplest ways for a hacker to infect your computer with spyware. It is important to NEVER click inside a popup box. Sometimes, it will give you option to “close” the box, but be sure to always use the “X” instead, as anything inside the popup could infect your computer. To avoid popups all together disable them through IE, Safari, Firefox, or Google Chrome.

3) Phishing: Phishing attacks use email or malicious websites to seek personal information by posing as a reputable company or organization. Unfortunately, these attackers take advantage of disasters, health concerns, etc. In order to avoid this you must be skeptical when an email asks for your personal information.

4)  Sharing Your Location: Providing your location may seem like a fun thing to share with people. You never know when you are in the same area as a friend. But this is also very dangerous. Posting where you are allows anyone (yes, anyone) to know when you are not home, which is essentially an open invitation to be burglarized. If you want to tell a friend where you are, call them.

5) If It Sounds Too Good to be True…: It is important to be rational and reasonable when you are looking to purchase something online. Deals that appear to be too good can often be traps. This is an opportunity for a fly-by-night merchant to steal your credit card information. This doesn’t mean that every deal you see online is a big lie, it just means that you need to skeptical. Stick with reputable vendors; make sure you can always contact the merchant, just in case something goes awry.

Within the past 10 years technology has changed our lives. Whether it’s life-changing technology in medicine, harnessing new forms of energy through advanced computer systems, or something as socially innovative as Facebook, in one way or another they have all impacted our lives. With this progress in technology, it becomes even more critical that we keep information secure and one way to do that is to think before you click. The five points listed above may seem elementary, but often the simplest traps are the most effecitve.  Happy Cyber Security Awareness month and stay safe online all the time!


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