Cyber Security Awareness MonthOnline banking, shopping, bill pay and other activities are commonplace nowadays. While many people appreciate the ease and convenience, precautionary measures must be taken to ensure personal data is secure.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, the Department of Homeland Security’s annual campaign to raise awareness about online and computing safety. Here are five ways to help ensure your data, and identity, stay safe and secure:

Lock your computer and smartphone the same way you’d lock the doors of your home or car when you leave it alone. Set up a password and lock your operating system before you walk away to prevent someone from tapping into your information.

Update software as soon as you receive notification that updates are available. One of the most important functions software developers perform is keeping ahead of possible security breaches. You should react as quickly as they do to stay protected.

Don’t avoid strong passwords just because you think you can’t remember them. There are lots of ways to create virtually unbreakable passwords you can recall easily.

Use anti-virus programs to protect against downloading a virus from an infected email or website.

Talk to kids about potential online safety hazards and the risks of malicious programs, identity theft and online communication with unknown parties. Letting them surf away without preparation can place them in danger.

Learn more about cyber safety and simple tips for teaching kids and adults about online security with the Department of Homeland Security’s free Stop.Think.Connect. Toolkit


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