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National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2018

Cybersecurity Awareness Month Logo: Our Shared Responsibility

October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month(NCSAM)! As part of NCSAM, the Department has become a Champion of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2018! We will be joining hundreds of organizations around the world to promote awareness for online safety and privacy. NCSAM was co-founded and is led by the National Cyber Security Alliance and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and was created to ensure everyone has the information to stay safer and more secure online. This year, with the theme of “Our Shared Responsibility,” the campaign emphasizes security in various aspects of your life. Throughout the month, we'll be posting tips on Facebook, Twitter, and on this page!

National Cyber Security Awareness

What does cybersecurity have to do with the Department of Finance?

Did you know that in 2016, customers of financial services suffered 65% more cyberattacks than customers of any other industry? The financial industry as a whole is one of the largest targets for hackers, social engineers, and other criminals. It is important for us to not only protect ourselves against cybercrime, but also to protect our customers. Cybersecurity is everyone’s responsibility!

Expand the boxes below for tips throughout the month!

Cybersecurity is important in all aspects of your life, especially as the world becomes more connected. Whether you’re browsing social media, connecting to your smart TV, shopping online, or using Bluetooth in your car, follow these quick tips to lead a more digitally secure life:

  • Keep a clean machine

    Make sure to keep electronics updated! Making sure antivirus programs, web browsers, and operating systems are up to date is the best defense against online threats. This includes phones, tablets, gaming consoles, and anything else that can connect to the internet!

  • Lock down your login

    A basic username and password isn’t enough to protect your email, banking, and social media accounts. To better protect these accounts, enable multi-factor authentication. This can include biometrics (fingerprint/retina scanners on your phone) or unique one-time codes sent to your email or phone.

  • Share with care

    Think before you post! Think about what your post reveals, consider who may see it now or in the future, and how it may be perceived.

  • Back it up

    Make sure to back up any valuable work, music, photos, and other digital files. There are many ways to do this, including cloud storage (make sure to check with IT before storing work documents in the cloud!), external hard drives, and physical storage (flash drives, CD/DVD disks, etc.).

  • Value and protect personal information

    Your personal information is valuable! And not just things like social security numbers and bank accounts – advertisers pay top dollar even for things like your location and browsing history.

  • Use strong passwords

    Make sure to use strong passwords for as much as you can. A strong password – or pass phrase – is at least 12 characters long and includes: upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. You could turn a phrase, like “I love country music,” into a password: “I l0v3 c0untry Mu$ic!” Just make sure the password is something you’ll remember!

  • Use a different password for each account

    Using a different password for each account can help stop criminals – if they get a password, it isn’t your password to everything. You can use a password safe or password manager (with a strong password to open it) to store and organize your various passwords.

    Accounts and things that should have particularly strong passwords include: home Wi-Fi, online banking, email accounts, and work logins.

Why should I learn more about cybersecurity?

As people spend more and more time online, staying safe online is nearly as important as looking both ways before crossing the street. The more you learn about how to protect yourself, the more you can help your friends and family learn too!

Where can I learn more?

You can learn more from some of the founders of Cybersecurity Awareness Month:

The federal government has great ways to share the knowledge:

And some great resources on this site!

  • Chip and PIN information
  • Banking Securely Online
  • Also make sure to check out the links on this page for information about what to do if you're a victim of cybercrime, protecting your computer, and some resources for talking to your kids about cybersecurity!

How can I stay up to date?

Staying up to date on current risks is a huge part of staying secure! Stay current by checking trusted websites, and possibly subscribing to newsletters from cybersecurity awareness sites and industry leaders.

How can I keep my workplace secure?

  • Follow the basic cybersecurity tips highlighted in the Week One post above
  • When in the field, always make sure to use a VPN, and do your best not to connect to public Wi-Fi
  • Don’t write down your passwords – if you need help remembering them, use a password manager
  • Always lock your computer if you’re walking away from it!
  • Double check the email address of the sender of a suspicious email – not just the name, but the from address as well.
  • Also make sure to double check any URLs in an email – they should be spelled correctly, and direct you to the site you’re expecting.
  • For more tips, take a look at this Cybersecurity 101 document from STOP. THINK. CONNECT. and the Department of Homeland Security
Most of all, if you think there's a problem, contact your IT Department as soon as possible! Cybersecurity issues need to be dealt with immediately!

How can I keep my community secure?

One of the best ways to keep our community secure is to be a good online citizen! Use the tips we’ve shared over the last few weeks to keep yourself – and everyone around you – safer online. Share the tips and education resources with friends and family to help them stay more secure too.

And don’t forget, if you see something suspicious, say something! Report it to the IT department if you’re at work, or you can report stolen finances or identities (or other cybercrime) to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3 was created by the FBI as an easy way for the public to report cybercrime).

Cybersecurity Tips & Advice

For Consumers

Tips and Advice if You Become a Victim of Cyber Crime

For Industry

Recent Department Press Releases

FTC Videos on protecting your computer information from being hacked by online predators: