It’s Cyber-Spooky Season

Halloween & National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

By Jeané Blunt. October means it’s time for fall leaves, Halloween, and National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM). To the average person, one of those doesn’t belong. But those of us who’ve whispered about wanting a certain pair of shoes –  only to have Amazon email us about them minutes later – know that the online world can be a spooky place!

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) has become a tradition in October – like carving pumpkins or ordering seasonal coffee drinks. Now in its 17th year, this year’s theme is Do your part, #BeCyberSmart. With so many of us working from home due to a worldwide pandemic, the timing seems appropriate. It is our personal responsibility to protect our part of the cyberspace. At UC many of us will be working remotely until at least January, which means the need for us to keep our homes safe and secure has grown exponentially.

Cybersecurity at Home

When cybersecurity comes to mind, most of us immediately think of our work files or our personal information stored online. Many of us forget that cars, appliances, fitness trackers and other wearables, lighting, home security, and more all contain sensing devices that can communicate with each other and cause other actions. With more of these devices entering our homes every day, it’s more important than ever to keep our Internet-connected devices secure.

A Few Tips

  • Secure your Network. Properly secure the wireless network you use to connect Internet-enabled devices. Consider placing these devices on a separate and dedicated network.
  • If You Connect IT, Protect IT. Whether it’s your computer, smartphone, game devices, or other network devices, the best defense is to stay on top of things by updating to the latest security software, web browser, and operating systems. If you have the option to enable automatic updates to defend against the latest risks, turn it on.
  • Shake up your password protocol. Change your device’s factory security settings from the default password. This is one of the most important steps to take in the protection of IoT devices. Get creative and create a unique password for your IoT devices.

Jeané Blunt is IT communications and UC FCC licensing coordinator at UC Office of the President.Jeané Blunt is IT communications and UC FCC licensing coordinator, Information Technology Services, UC Office of the President.

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