October is spooky enough with its ghouls and goblins. National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is here to remind us how to stay safe and secure from real (and maybe even scarier) threats — malware and scammers.
Help us celebrate by joining a Twitter chat we’ll be participating in on October 18 at 3 p.m. EST. In this chat, you’ll hear how to create a more cyber secure workplace. Join the conversation by following @FTC and watching the #ChatSTC hashtag.
In the meantime, here are some quick tips for staying safe online:
Update your software. Outdated software makes it easier for criminals to break into your computer and other devices. Most software can update automatically, so make sure to set yours to do so.
Make your password long, strong and complex. That means at least twelve characters, with uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols. Avoid common words, phrases or information in your passwords.
Use multi-factor authentication, when available. For accounts that support it, multi-factor authentication requires both your password and an additional piece of information to log in.The second piece could be a code generated by an app or a key that’s inserted into a computer. This protects your account even if your password is compromised.
Back up your files. No system is completely secure. Copy your files to an external hard drive or cloud storage. If your computer is attacked by malware, you’ll still have access to your files.
– By Ari Lazarus, a consumer education specialist with the Federal Trade Commission.