Remember, cybersharing isn’t caring
Published: Monday, October 15, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 15, 2012 18:10
October doesn’t just prompt the start of pumpkin lattes and pun-themed Halloween costumes: it’s also National Cybersecurity Awareness month, an initiative started by the Department of Homeland Security.
Why do we need an entire month of cybersecurity awareness? What does it mean to be cybersecure?
In 2011, the FBI reported that identity theft and online scams were among top crime trends—pretty serious consequences for just being online. Though it’s not always avoidable, there are several simple steps people can take to avoid being vulnerable to online predators.
Just log out. Computers are designed to be goal-oriented. You might spend a lot of time at school, but it’s important to differentiate between a home computer and a public one. Students often forget to log out after sessions in computer labs. Since passwords to email or Facebook accounts are often auto-saved, personal and financial information can easily be retrieved by anyone because someone simply forgot to log out.
Change your passwords. Never changed your passwords before? It’s time. Try to change it up at least once a year for your most important accounts (e.g. online banking, email and social networking). Yes, many people are worried about forgetting new and complicated passwords, but most email accounts will have password clue questions if you completely forget. Design a password that is unexpected, easy to remember and means something to you. Sites like PasswordBird.com can create simple combinations for you.
Back it up. Computers (and phones) will crash for any number of reasons, with devastating effects on schoolwork and everything else. Check with your mobile carrier to see if they offer mobile backup. The option is free on AT&T and part of various plans on T-Mobile and Sprint. External hard drives are also fairly inexpensive on sites like Amazon and are worth the investment.
As technology continues to take over our lives and makes work and social networking more convenient, keep in mind that there is a price for convenience.
Roosevelt University created a safety initiative and online resource for students and faculty called RU Secure. Each Wednesday in October, subjects like password creation, Google Drive file sharing, and backing up your computer will be discussed in AUD 232 from 1-2 p.m. Bring a pumpkin coffee and brush up on how to keep your information out of the reach of Internet boogiemen.