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National Cyber Security Awareness Month

Oct 18, 2010

Since computers are such an important part of our lives these days, it is becoming even more and more lucrative for online criminals to access your accounts and steal your information.  Just think of what could happen to your life if someone had access to your online bank account, credit card numbers, or other important information, as you use networking tools to browse the web.

Therefore, in honor of October being National Cyber Security Awareness Month, we wanted to provide you with two short lists of information.  The first is the type of tactics that hackers use to gather your information.  The second is a list of a few tips you can use to help keep yourself safe.

How Hackers Access  Your Account:

Re-Using Your Password: If you sign up for a third-party site and that account is hacked, a cyber criminal will learn your password. If you use the same password for all your important accounts, then the hacker now has the key to your identity.

Malware: Malware is software that infects your computer and is designed to keylog what you use as a password.  If you are checking your banking information on a public computer, or a friend’s computer that has been infected with Malware, then your password may also be at risk.

Phishing: When you receive an email from someone claiming to be an actual organization, but is asking for your password.

Brute Force: If you make your password something that is easy to guess through trial and error or your security question’s answer is something public knowledge.  For example:  Let’s say the security question was “What city were you born in?”  If your answer is “New York City,”  and in your bio you’ve written, “Born and raised in New York City,” then someone can easily put two and two together.

How To Keep Yourself Safe:

Vary Your Keywords: Don’t use the same password over and over again.  Change them up so that if a cyber criminal figures out one, they don’t figure them all out.

Change Your Passwords: Every so often revise or update your password just to be sure that if someone has your information, that the password they have will no longer be viable.  It is also recommended to change the entire combination of letters and not just increase a number.  For example, avoid going from “Computer1” to “Computer 2.”

Don’t Give Out Your Password: No official company or business that you are affiliated with, (Bank, Store, Educational Institution, etc.,) will ever ask you for your information through an email.  If you are every unsure of an email asking for information, call the organization in question to verify.

Hopefully with these tips you will keep your passwords safe.

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