October is National Cyber Security Month. The best way to protect your computer is to set the privacy settings. Plug-ins and apps can often gain access to these settings so you have to be careful to only download trusted software. You can modify your settings to limit the amount of information that is accessible. The less you give out your email the less likely you are to be tricked into downloading spam.

 

 

Eye of the Spy!

  • Be wary of apps and plug-ins - Third-party applications and plugins may provide additional features and functionality.  However, some have privacy implications – they can access settings, browsing history, cookies, location data (mobile devices), and other information.  Modify your settings to limit the amount of information the applications can access (if possible) and avoid applications that seem to require access to too much information to function.
  • Use strong passwords – Use a different password for different accounts, so that if your password is compromised, hackers do not have access to all of your accounts.  Use strong passwords that have Mixed case and numbers, but that are also easy to remember.  Learn more here
  • Check privacy policies - Some sites may share information such as email addresses or user preferences with other companies. This may lead to an increase in spam. Also, try to locate the policy for handling referrals to make sure that you do not unintentionally sign your friends up for spam. Some sites will continue to send email messages to anyone you refer until they join.
  • Keep software up to date, particuarly your anti-virus, operating system, web browser, Flash Player, Java, etc – many websites aim to take advantage of vulnerabilities in these software products.
  • Use and maintain anti-virus software -  we wary of websites that try to trick you into thinking your anti-virus software is out of date, offering you a piece of software to download.  This could be a virus, or a piece of spyware designed to harvest personal information from your computer.

Content produced in part by US-CERT, http://ics-cert.us-cert.gov/