As large-scale cyber incidents continue to make headlines, it is more important than ever to join together with a common message to help individuals and businesses understand cyber threats and be safer and more secure online.

October is the National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) and Delaware Small Business Development Center is joining with the Department of Homeland Security and its partners across the country to share tips on how we can protect our information and our identities online — as well as those of your clients.

Here are the most common ways that people put their personal and business data at risk:

  1. Using weak passwords. Are your passwords part of the worst passwords of 2014 list? This list includes passwords such as “123456” and “password.” Do not choose an easy-to-guess password, and do not use the same password for multiple accounts.
  2. Keeping devices unprotected. If you are separated from your mobile device, you do not want anyone to be able to access all the data from your device, including data stored in your apps. Put your devices out of sight when you walk away from them and password-protect them.
  3. Sharing too much information online. From including your birth date, phone number and address in your social media profiles to posting pictures of when you are on vacation, sharing too much online can give people enough information to access your accounts or your home when you are away. Wait until you are home to post photos. It is even more important for small businesses to protect the Personal Identifiable Information (PII) of their clients, such as birth dates, social security numbers and tax returns.

Follow these tips from the national cybersecurity awareness campaign, Stop.Think.Connect.™ to be safer and more secure online:

  1. Secure your devices. Take advantage of lock screens, passwords and fingerprint scanning capabilities to secure your smartphones, tablets and computers.
  2. Set strong passwords. Make your passwords hard to guess and change them regularly.
  3. Think before you app. Many mobile applications request access to information stored on your mobile device, including your contact lists, pictures and location data. Determine if you really want to share such information before downloading the app.
  4. Do business with reputable vendors. Before providing any personal or financial information, make sure that you are interacting with a reputable, established vendor. Attackers may try to trick you by creating malicious websites that falsely appear to be legitimate companies.
  5. Customize the settings on your accounts. Many accounts include default settings that promote more infmroation sharing. Check your acount settings to ensure only the information you want to share is visible to those people you want to share it with.

For more information on NCSAM 2015, visit this site.

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