ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at10)
In recognition of Cybersecurity Awareness month this month, Attorney General Chris Carr is urging Georgia consumers, businesses and organizations to learn more about how to safeguard their data from cyber threats.
“Cybercrime and identity theft are rampant,” said Attorney General Carr. “With so many people working remotely now, it is even more vital that consumers and businesses take proper precautions to protect their networks, data and devices from cyber threats. Our office is here to help with our newest consumer protection resource, the Cybersecurity in Georgia guide. Visit our website to get a copy today.”
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) offers a comprehensive cybersecurity resource entitled Cybersecurity in Georgia, designed to help small businesses, non-profit organizations and houses of worship safeguard their data. The guide provides tips and best practices regarding cyber threats, protecting your data and network, training employees about cybersecurity, planning for and responding to a security breach, and more. The guide can be downloaded from CPD’s website or by calling (404) 656-3790.
Consumers can educate themselves about cybersecurity by visiting staysafeonline.org and dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect-toolkit. These sites are brought to us by the United States Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance respectively.
CPD also offers the following tips to everyone who uses technology:
- Install Reputable Security Software on Your Computer. Make sure your computer has anti-virus and anti-spyware software, a pop-up blocker, and that the firewall is enabled. For lists of security tools from legitimate security vendors, visit staysafeonline.org.
- Update System and Software Frequently. Computer and software companies frequently update their programs to include protection against new security threats. Simply updating your operating system and software whenever new versions become available gives you an added measure of security.
- Create Strong Passwords. The longer the password, the tougher it is to crack. Mix letters, numbers and special characters. Don’t use your name, birthdate or pet’s name in your password. Use a different password for each of your accounts so that if one account is hacked, the perpetrator cannot take over all your accounts.
- Be Wise with Wi-Fi Hotspots. Open public Wi-Fi is often unsecured, so your information and device are more accessible to hackers. Limit the types of business you conduct in this environment, being certain to avoid those that involve your personal or financial information, such as banking, credit card transactions or tax preparation.
- Know Who You’re Dealing With.
- Don’t download programs or share files with people or businesses you don’t know and trust.
- If you receive an email from a sender you don’t recognize, be very wary of opening any attachments or clicking on links, as these might download a virus or malware onto your device. If an email looks suspicious, it is best to delete it and report it to your IT department.
- Beware of phishing emails. Cybercriminals may try to steal your money or identity by posing as a legitimate business or government agency and asking you to send money or provide personal or financial information. If you are unsure of whether an email is legitimate, do not reply to it; instead, contact the business or institution directly by looking up the actual web address or phone number.
- When shopping online, make sure that the company is reputable and that its website begins with “https://”, which indicates that the site utilizes extra security measures. You can check the reputation of a business with the Better Business Bureau by going to bbb.org.