Cybersecurity tips every online user should know


October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month.

With so much of our business and pleasure being conducted online — on tablets, smart phones, and desktop computers — there are a number of things you can do to make sure you stay safe online.

The first bit of advice has to do with logging on.

“A lot of people use the same passwords across different services and different accounts, and what that does is it opens you up so that once one account gets compromised, then other accounts can get compromised,” said Jason Kama, director of marketing for the Hawaii Better Business Bureau. “Hackers can use that to log in multiple times and multiple accounts.”

When someone you know sends you a link, you still need to be careful.

“Don’t make a rash decision,” Kama warned. “It is sometimes even better to get rid of the message or call the person directly and be like, ‘Did you actually send this to me?’ A lot of times people are like, ‘No, I didn’t. My account has been compromised. Don’t click that link.'”

Everyone seems to be talking about fake news these days.

Most of it seems harmless and outrageous, “but there is actually a dark side to the fake news. The reason why they create the fake news is to harbor these dangerous links that can actually threaten your online security,” Kama said.

If you have a consumer concern or are interested in becoming an Action Line volunteer, give us a call at 591-0222 weekdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. or send an email to actionline@khon2.com.

Here are some key cybersecurity tips from StaySafeOnline.org:

Lock down your login. Your usernames and passwords are not enough to protect key accounts like email, banking and social media. Strengthen online accounts and use strong authentication tools – like biometrics, security keys or a unique, one-time code through an app on your mobile device – whenever offered.

Keep a clean machine. Keep all software on internet-connected devices – including personal computers, smartphones and tablets – current to reduce risk of infection from ransomware and malware.

When in doubt, throw it out. Links in email, tweets, posts and online advertising are often how cybercriminals try to compromise your information. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it’s best to delete or, if appropriate, mark it as junk.

Back it up. Protect your valuable work, music, photos and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely. If you have a copy of your data and your device falls victim to ransomware or other cyber threats, you will be able to restore the data from a backup.

Own your online presence. Set the privacy and security settings on websites to your comfort level for information sharing. It is okay to limit how and with whom you share information.

Share with care. Think before posting about yourself and others online. Consider what a post reveals, who might see it and how it might affect you or others.

Personal information is like money. Value it. Protect it. Information about you, such as purchase history or location, has value – just like money. Be thoughtful about who gets that information and how it is collected by apps, websites, and all connected devices.

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