Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and you're terrified.

Image via Flickr
Terrified by the latest hacks, identity thieving, and online scams? Are you just realizing that "password123" was probably not the best choice for a password? Shaking in the corner wondering if some odd man on the other side of the world is chasing down Beanie Babies with your credit card number? Don't worry; everyone is. The Internet can be a dangerous place, and there’s a lot to remember when using it.

Last year wasn't easy on anyone. Corporate giants Sony Pictures, eBay, Jimmy John’s, JP Morgan Chase, and Home Depot just to name a few were all hacked hard. The world got the big wake up call that no enterprise, regardless of the size of security investment, is immune to attack. Attackers’ weapons are advancing daily, technology keeps changing, and businesses are in a constant state of evolution — requiring rapid response and preventative tools to protect ourselves.

On average, there are more than 1.5 million victims of cybercrime across the globe every day (seriously, every day), and most of them could have avoided the attack if they were more educated on cybersecurity. Here in Colorado, our teams defend against approximately 8.4 million cybersecurity events every day (seriously, every day!).

Which is why today has special significance for us it’s Oct. 1, the official start of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month. It's a month-long opportunity to create awareness about hackers and their techniques, and to let people know how they can protect themselves.

So use October to learn something new about cybersecurity: We'll be posting cybersecurity tips, facts, Q&As, and video blogs by experts with the hashtag #CoCyberHelp across social media, and you can also browse our website resources at colorado.gov/cybersecurity/help.

Hot cybersecurity subjects include:
  • Staying clear of those pesky phishing scams: Sigh. We are all so tired of these. These little scammers are constantly evolving to avoid detection, and can be quite the trickster to avoid. Learn what they are, how to protect yourself, and what to do if you get tricked.
  • Ensuring your home computer is not screaming "Hack me!": Use a firewall, scan for viruses, scan for spyware, and stay up-to-date. Computer updates often take care of known vulnerabilities in your computer, but you need to educate yourself (use strong passwords and then laugh at people who don't, know what scams to watch out for, stay abreast of latest tech news), secure your home network and mobile connection, and back up your most important information.
  • Keeping your beloved kids safe online: The really scary stuff right? Trying to protect those we love is enough to stress anyone out. Communication is key to knowing when they are encountering dangers, read our blog and get familiar with as much as you can.
  • Not leaving a trail of breadcrumbs for the bad guys when traveling: Back up files, update security software and clear your browser history before you leave for your trip, plus learn what to do while on the road, and what to check for when you get home. 
  • Things to think about to ensure better security when carrying or using your mobile phone. Did you know that your mobile phone is always looking for a wireless network to connect to? Have you ever thought about what that might reveal about you, and how someone may be able to impersonate the network(s) your phone is seeking, to steal the data on your phone? 
Obsessed with cybersecurity? We are too. Learn what the State of Colorado is doing by reading Secure Colorado — the state’s award-winning, multi‐year security strategy.

Debbi Blyth: Chief Information Security Officer. Colorado native (almost!), beach lover, deep sea diver, Sunday school teacher. I'm the queen of keeping Colorado safe online. Find me on Twitter at @debbiblyth.

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