Cybersecurity Awareness

The Montgomery County Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management is recognizing October as Cyber Security Awareness Month. Citizens are encouraged to follow this year’s theme of “Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart.” and learn how to secure their information through computers, mobile phones, and other devices.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, technology has helped alleviate the separation of social distancing and maintain normalcy. Technology, however, also comes with its own sets of risks as criminals can more easily steal personal data and use malicious software.

Montgomery County Judge Mark Keough encourages residents of Montgomery County to learn how to protect themselves and their households from cyber attacks. “October is Cyber Security Month, with cyber attacks and identity theft at an all-time high I encourage residents of Montgomery County to learn how to protect themselves and their businesses from these threats.”

Each week in October is designated towards educating individuals and families on various ways to keep their information secure and safe from hackers. This year’s themes are:

  • Oct. 5-11: If You Connect It, Protect It
  • Oct. 12-18: Securing Devices at Home and Work
  • Oct. 19-25: Securing Internet-Connected Devices in Healthcare
  • Oct. 26-31: The Future of Connected Devices

5 WAYS TO BE CYBER SECURE WITH YOUR WORK

  1. Treat business information as personal information. Business information typically includes a mix of personal and proprietary data. While you may think of trade secrets and company credit accounts, it also includes employee personally identifiable information (PII) through tax forms and payroll accounts. Do not share PII with unknown parties or over unsecured networks. Be careful of how you dispose of this information as well.
  2. Don’t make passwords easy to guess. As “smart” or data-driven technology evolves, it is important to remember that security measures only work if used correctly by employees. Smart technology runs on data, meaning devices such as smartphones, laptop computers, wireless printers, and other devices are constantly exchanging data to complete tasks. Take proper security precautions and ensure correct configuration to wireless devices in order to prevent data breaches.

Good passwords are:

  • Longer and complex with varied character types.
  • Do not include personal information like name, age, or address.
  • Not shared with other people, not even your spouse or favorite coworker!
  • Unique to a specific account.
  1. Be up to date. Keep your software updated to the latest version available. Maintain your security settings by turning on automatic updates so you don’t have to think about it and set your security software to run regular scans.
  2. Social media is part of the fraud toolset. By searching Google and scanning your organization’s social media sites, cybercriminals can gather information about your partners and vendors, as well as human resources and financial departments. Employees should avoid oversharing on social media and should not conduct official business, exchange payment, or share PII on social media platforms. Loose lips sink ships!
  3. It only takes one time. Data breaches do not typically happen when a cybercriminal has hacked into an organization’s entire infrastructure. Many data breaches can be traced back to a single security vulnerability, phishing attempt, or instance of accidental exposure. Be wary of unusual sources, do not click on unknown links, and delete suspicious messages immediately

For tips and tools to get your family and community cyber prepared, visit cisa.gov/ncsam. Additional preparedness information is also available at www.mctxoem.org.