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National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2018: Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety

Ah, October. It's a time for pumpkin spice everything, Halloween tricks and treats... and our personal fave: National Cybersecurity Awareness Month! In this annual initiative, government and industry combine their powers to "ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online."

To that end, we're sharing quick tips to coincide with each week's theme. First up: Make Your Home a Haven for Online Safety. Whether checking your social media feeds, adjusting your IoT gadgets or taking care of business, you'll find virtually everyone in the family online. Along with that shared connectivity comes a shared responsibility to use the internet safely and smartly:


• Usernames and passwords alone aren’t enough to protect your email accounts, banking information and social media profiles. Put a layer of security between you and potential attackers, like two-factor authentication, which uses something you know and something you have to confirm that you’re really who you say you are.

Keep a Clean Machine

• Your best defense against threats like viruses and malware? Staying current. Get the latest security patches and updates for your web browsers and operating system.

• Don't leave your mobile devices out of the loop. While you're updating your laptop or desktop, show your cell phone and tablet some love.

• The same goes for smart appliances and connected devices, like thermostats, toys and home assistants. They're smart, sure, but to reduce risk of attackers accessing your network and information, you still need to keep them updated with the latest security software.

Share with Care

• Think before posting about yourself and others online. What kind of personal information are you revealing? Who might see it? Could it be used against you in a social engineering attack?

• Boo! Old tweets, posts and photos may come back to haunt you. Before you post, consider how it might be perceived now or in the future.

Back it Up

• Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.

• Having a recent copy of your files means you can retrieve them if you fall victim to ransomware.

Personal Information is Like Money. Value it. Protect it.

• Info about you, such as what you've purchased online or where you're located, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about where you're sharing that info and how it’s collected through devices, apps and websites.

• The smart devices and connected appliances you use at home are powered by data about you. Be mindful of how this info is being collected and stored.

Secure Your WiFi Router

• Have you changed the default name and password of your Wi-Fi router? Set a strong, easy to remember passphrase (at least 12 characters long), like Ilovecookies! – and name your network in a way that doesn’t let people know it’s in your house, like Cookie Factory.