Thursday, October 22nd, 2015
Morris County residents are urged to join the nation in enhancing their cyber security protection and skills in October, which is Cyber Security Month in the U.S.
John Tugman, Chief Information Officer for Morris County government, says that every county resident with a computer or I-phone or other Internet-connected device can enhance their protection from hackers or those who would steal your valuable information by taking some very basic steps.
“Recognizing that we now live in a world that is more connected than ever before, with the Internet touching almost every aspect of our daily lives, it is more important than ever before to know how to safely and securely utilize the Internet and your computers,’’ said Tugman.
“The reality is that cybercrime has rapidly changed from a sophisticated practice known only to highly specialized Information Technology professionals to an endeavor that can be undertaken by individuals with minimal computer knowledge and skills,’’ said Tugman.
In 2015, there have been several large-scale and widely publicized attacks on various institutions: CVS and Walgreens photo services; the Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management; Anthem Inc. (Blue Cross/Blue Shield); and Sony, to name a few. The exploitation of these organizations in most cases resulted in the loss of millions of dollars or exposed vital Personnel Identification Information (PII) of millions of clients and customers.
“But even if you just use a computer at home to pay bills and globally chat with friends, don’t think you cannot be a target,’’ said Tugman.
The following is from the Office of Homeland Security:
We now live in a world that is more connected than ever before. The Internet touches almost all aspects of everyone’s daily life, whether we realize it or not. We connect with friends and family, conduct business and banking online and rely on many services, like transportation and electricity, which are supported with online systems.
Technology has spearheaded advancements in healthcare, education, business, music, government, and many other industries. As technology advances, our lives become easier and more connected. However, being constantly connected brings increased risk of theft, fraud, and abuse.
No country, industry, community, or individual is immune to cyber risks. As a nation, we face constant cyber threats against our critical infrastructure and economy. As individuals, cybersecurity risks can threaten our finances, identity, and privacy.
Since our way of life depends on critical infrastructure and the digital technology that operates it, cybersecurity is one of our country’s most important national security priorities, and we each have a role to play—cybersecurity is a shared responsibility.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month is designed to engage and educate public and private sector partners through events and initiatives with the goal of raising awareness about cybersecurity. National Cyber Security Awareness Month is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security in cooperation with the National Cyber Security Alliance and the Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center.
Morris County’s Chief Information Officer, John Tugman, suggests that county residents focus on prudent computer management practices for personal or home computers – similar to those that also apply to the management of your office computer.
Use Strong Passwords: A weak password is one that is easily guessed. Do not use the names of family members or pets or favorite sports team. Use a mix of upper and lower case, plus numbers and special characters. Do not use less than 8 characters.
If password memorization is troublesome, use a password manager.
Use different passwords for different services. Since many sites use your e-mail address to login, if the password is compromised on one site, it may pose a threat to the other sites you use.
Keep Personal Computers Current with Software Updates: All software is susceptible to security vulnerabilities, so it is important to keep your system’s software up-to-date with all available vendor patches and updates. Insure the Automatic Update feature is activated. A security patch that requires a 5 minute reboot is much less inconvenient than becoming victim of a cyber-attack that steals your personal information.
Unattended Computer Basics: Never leave your computer unattended in the office without locking it. An unlocked computer is liked an unlocked door of an unattended house. Walking away from your computer for a short period of time i.e. coffee break may seem harmless, but it only takes minutes for someone to access a logged-in computer and compromise sensitive information
For more cyber security tips, please visit: http://www.dhs.gov/national-cyber-security-awareness-month